As US enterprises continue to integrate mobile devices and solutions into their infrastructure, there are emerging questions over the mobile security of these modern business tools.
Anyone who owns an email address for work can attest that the mobile threat landscape is constantly evolving in many businesses. The bigger question is, “How can companies protect their devices and be prepared for the security faults that could hamper their operations?”
Among other possible solutions, there are a few best practices to improve mobile device security in US enterprises. But why does any company need to pay attention to this?
Why Mobile Security Matters In The US?
While US business owners often acknowledge that it’s a top priority to protect their assets, many maintain a sore blind spot regarding cybersecurity. Some even doubt they’ll ever be the target of a hacker because their business is small. However, information from small companies is actually valuable to hackers. The 2019 Data Breaches Investigations Report from Verizon reveals that 43 percent of breaches involved small business operators.
Businesses often invest heavily in mobile infrastructure, including smartphones, to improve productivity across the board. The company may provide these devices or implement a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) arrangement. This is the point where cybersecurity might become a problem.
It’s normal for desktops and laptops to hold sensitive information. The devices often handle a wide array of commercial operations, ranging from advertising/marketing to banking, customer relations, and inventory control. Without a doubt, they hold valuable data. This outcome is inevitable, and cybercriminals are ‘more than happy’ to exploit their good fortune.
It’s apparent that companies in the US need appropriate precautions to improve mobile device security and protect data. It’s similar to taking out an insurance policy. Most of it depends on executing the best practices to prevent the problem in the first place, and not investing in over-expensive products.
10 Ways to Improve Mobile Device Security in Your Company
Here are ten of the most effective ways to improve mobile device security and keep data secure.
Implement Strong Authentication Measures
Authentication is usually the default line of defense for mobile solutions. Companies may use two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor authentication to ensure that only authorized users can access mobile devices.
A combination of strong passwords, biometrics, and security tokens will diminish the available surface area for cyber attacks. Location-based authentication restrictions will offer more advanced authentication, allowing access to only one device or mobile solution from specific locations.
Establish a Mobile Device Security Policy
A device usage policy should be in place before issuing mobile devices to your employees. There should be clear and specific rules on acceptable use. The policy should also specify the consequences of violating the policy.
Employees must fully understand the security risks of using a smartphone, along with the security measures they should undertake to minimize such risks. A practical approach is to put knowledgeable, responsible users as your first line of defense in the event of an attack.
Control Third-Party Software
Companies in the US can also block or limit third-party software when issuing mobile devices to employees. It remains the best single approach to preventing possible compromise and security breaches, which result from the deliberate or drive-by download of malware with multiple backdoors and “black gateways”. Those are the channels that give criminals access to your information.
BYOD management can adopt the safe route of ensuring users only logging into a remote virtual work environment. Therefore, the only information their mobile devices can access is the screen output from corporate applications and systems. Data will not persist after a remote session.
Most remote access occurs through VPN connections, so communications are secure. Security policies may also prevent file downloads to mobile devices.
Avoid Public Wifi At All Cost
Free Wifi at the airport, coffee shop, or hotel lobby is highly tempting. However, it’s best not to use it; there’s no such thing as a free lunch on a daily basis.
Connecting to another organization’s network magnifies your risk of exposure to malware and hackers.
Even a novice hacker (or script kiddie) can watch online videos and grab accessible tools to intercept traffic flowing over WiFi. What can happen when they do this? Bank account details, credit card numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information will be available to them at your company’s peril. Therefore, public Wifi and Bluetooth pose a significant security gap that your employees may know but choose to ignore.
Set Guidelines For Technical Updates
Malicious attackers can access systems because a device does not have the latest security patches. Regular updates can eliminate security vulnerabilities (even though they can sometimes introduce new ones).
One option is to use a threat protection solution that notifies administrators whenever operating system (OS) versions are outdated. There’s no way to quantify how valuable round-the-clock threat detection and monitoring is to your company. Comprehensive cybersecurity is a long-term strategy for the security of your business.
Likewise, A BYOD policy should include the moral suasion of employees to update the software on their devices regularly. They need to be aware that these actions are an essential part of the business’ approach to mitigating risk.
Remotely Wipe Data From Mobile Devices
What if an employee loses their device (due to theft or their carelessness) or a hacker infiltrates your network? These are not-so-hypothetical situations. Your company should be able to wipe corporate data from its hardware remotely.
Many enterprise mobility management solutions include remote wiping capabilities, which allows your company to erase sensitive data from a mobile device. It’s one way to ensure unauthorized users are unable to access it.
Once there’s a missing device report, your company can wipe the data using an EMM management console. In this way, companies can survive a potential data breach.
Backup Everything Often
Most users understand why they need to back up data on a computer regularly. The same should apply to the company’s mobile devices. It’s one way to guarantee that your company still has access to valuable current data. If a device is not available for any reason, the data is safe, and work can continue because a backup exists.
Implement Stringent Principles for Passwords
The Digital Guardian reports that the average email address in the US links with 130 online accounts. However, users use far fewer passwords than the number of accounts to protect them all. Hackers know that most people use one password for multiple accounts. This low-security awareness enables them to steal data at will.
There are ways for employees to ensure that their mobile device passwords are safe, hard to guess, and easy to remember. For instance, there can be a company-wide policy to change passwords every 90 days. Passwords should require a combination of various character types and reasonable length (say, eight characters). There can also be a discourage use of consecutive number sequences, dates of birth, and family members’ names or pets in passwords. Hackers are usually intelligent enough to figure this out.
In addition, employee education should include help desk procedures to follow or alternative requirements of passwords for mobile devices in tandem with your enterprise password policy.
Have Continuous Training
Cybercriminals never give up. Their methods are continually evolving. Therefore, your administrators must be on the cutting edge to provide the best mobile security solutions for your company. Email is a crucial component of corporate communication and is a way for attackers to penetrate your systems.
One way to ensure that spam emails do not hurt company operations is to train your employees to detect spam emails once they see them. There are lots of methods to check the validity of the email, online lookup services, paid tools, public data lookup, Google search or DIY methods. If they do not open such emails, they stand little chance of falling victim to cyberattacks or hacker infiltration.
This tip is handy if mobile devices are in use in a company. Training may cost a premium, but the cost will always be smaller than that of just one security breach.
Encrypt All Data
Companies in the US should use simple and straightforward language with employees about safeguarding data and remotely managing devices. They need to understand the full implications of flouting enterprise policy by copying sensitive server-hosted data to unencrypted local device storage. This is because such information may include confidential member details and company intellectual property.
Building a Mobile Device Security Culture in Your Company
Corporate mobile device security in the US is a long-term effort. The foundations for more robust security lie in employing a solution that caters to your company’s needs. It’ll enable your employees to have the choice to use their mobile devices when they need to.
Your employees would like to help protect your company. However, management needs to be proactive in educating them on security risks and raising their cyber awareness.
The ideal mobile security solution should be comprehensive and minimize risk. It should also be cost-effective and integrate well with a robust mobile device security policy. This approach will empower your employees to become the most valuable asset in strengthening cybersecurity among companies in the US.