Written by Joanne Sacco

Mobile Device Security: A Guide for Business Leaders

Apple has recently released a handy (and somewhat depressing) new feature…
The ability to review your mobile device screen time.
I was excited to check out the new application.
But then I saw that my daily mobile screen time was 4 hours, comprising of approximately 3 hours of work emails, 1 hour of social media and 127 phone pickups.
(Just head to Settings > Screen Time on your updates Iphone for your own scary revelations.)
But 4 HOURS!? Shocking.
Although, I shouldn’t be surprised.
Ever since Blackberry introduced the first secure email-enabled smartphone, business people have discovered just how convenient it is to use their phones to communicate and do business from just about anywhere in the world.
Since then, the world’s giant tech companies and disruptive IT start-ups have continued to innovate in the mobile space. As a result, managing mobile device security has become an ongoing challenge for business leaders. While new innovations allow leaders to do business more effectively and stay current, updates are also essential for companies to remain digitally secure.

Mobile Device Challenges for Business Leaders

Have you looked up your screen time yet? I bet you find the following statistic even more outrageous than your results.
85 percent of mobile apps violate security standards.
Because of this, business leaders must be vigilant when it comes to identifying and combating the challenges that come with mobile device security.
Some of the main challenges for business leaders include:

  • Public usage: Using mobile devices in pubic opens up risk of fraudsters and CCTV cameras shoulder-surfing data and passwords.
  • Risky device configuration: Insecure app installations and the failure to update apps and software affects security.
  • Malicious websites: Device users often unknowingly and unavoidably click innocent-looking links only to be sent somewhere insecure and malicious.
  • Signing into insecure Wi-Fi: Connecting to insecure Wi-Fi connections can easily leak sensitive data, especially from poorly configured devices.
  • Storage issues: Storage solutions such as external SD cards can carry malicious software from machine to machine. Infected mobile devices can also corrupt other company devices via USB. Where staff mix cloud services from work and home, there is an additional risk of malicious files ending up on the device.
  • Phishing/social engineering: Phishing (sending fraudulent emails with the aim of gathering personal information from recipients) and other social engineering attacks opens devices up to attacks.

Tips for Keeping Your Team Mobile Safe

As you can see, mobile device policy is essential to help keep your business and team digitally secure. Some key points to up your mobile security game include:

  • Keep your devices up to date: Updates are a vital part of the fight against security flaws. Make sure everyone responsible for a mobile device knows how to update software and apps, and does it regularly to stay guarded from the latest attacks.
  • Check authenticity of apps: Only install apps via the App Store (IOS) or Google Play (Android), and use Gatekeeper (IOS) or Google Play Store (Android) to check app authenticity. Where possible, segregate work and personal applications.
  • Jailbroken/Rooted devices: If you’re a BYOD workplace, make sure employees aren’t using Jailbroken or Rooted phones – this can easily leave devices open to hackers.
  • Educate Staff: Include advice about avoiding insecure Wi-Fi hotspots, shoulder-surfing, and using VPNs in your mobile device policy. Timely email reminders and policy reviews will help too.
  • Take extra care with financial accounts: Even if you let staff bring their own devices, it’s worthwhile providing employees working with financial accounts or other sensitive information with devices managed directly by your IT department.
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) policies: MDM policies are available from a number of major business software providers, and will run on company-owned and personal devices. They form an essential security layer, enabling you to wipe devices remotely and more.

The Future of Mobile Security

New mobile apps and solutions are being released every day. While they help us work more efficiently, the risks are inherent. If your team relies on mobile devices for day-to-day work, a qualified IT team can help. Get in touch here for more details.

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