How to improve mobile device security for your business

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Do you know someone who doesn’t have a smartphone?

The advent of 5G technology has made everything convenient. It’s no longer surprising to see businesses taking advantage of the growing use of smartphones. But this convenience also has drawbacks, as it can make your sensitive data vulnerable to cybercrimes.

Mobile security threats are on the rise, accounting for over 40% of security incidents. This clearly shows that the use of smartphones for business must also be associated with effective and rigorous measures to minimize cyber threats.

Entrepreneurs often protect their business interests by working with trusted providers like doola to manage business registrations. However, few of them are so aggressive in mitigating cyberattacks.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to prevent this from happening to your organization.

Benefits of mobile devices in the workplace

With employees working from different locations, smartphones provide the flexibility they need to increase their productivity. The use of laptops has improved business mobility. With smartphones as an additional resource, business flexibility and mobility is more achievable than ever.

With the latest mobile features, employees can easily access their work email and apps to get their jobs done efficiently. This practice greatly benefits executives and knowledge workers. It lets them respond to urgent emails or approve projects while on the go.

With these benefits in mind, it is essential to also consider improving security measures for mobile use.

Choosing between a company-owned device and bring your own device (BYOD)

Before establishing a mobile policy, decide whether the company or the user will provide the devices. Both have their distinct strengths and weaknesses that you need to consider. Company-owned devices make it easier to enforce a security policy since you have control of the device. But with BYOD devices, users have more choice and flexibility.

The device ownership model does not determine the security level of a company’s mobile policy. Instead, it relies on the effectiveness of controls placed by your IT team.

1. Set up mobile device management (MDM) as the first line of defense

Mobile device management (MDM) software allows security managers to manage mobile device security policies. By establishing an MDM, it is easier to manipulate the configuration and security settings of corporate smartphones. It becomes easier to protect business information since you can define rules for device usage within the organization.

MDM is a fairly flexible tool that allows administrators to apply security compliance controls, such as:

  • Apps allowlists and blocking
  • Certificate-based authentication
  • Wiping data and full reset of devices
  • Data Loss Prevention
  • Email settings
  • Apply updates
  • Jailbreak, root detection and fix
  • Device passcode and encryption
  • Single sign-on (SSO)

2. Establish a clear mobile device security policy

Before distributing smartphones to your employees, provide clear rules on acceptable use. And if an employee violates the policy, appropriate disciplinary measures must be put in place.

Members of your organization need to understand the security risks of using smartphones and why security measures are essential.

BYOD Policy

If your employees choose to use their smartphones, a BYOD security plan should be in place. This gets more complicated with BYOD environments. IT administrators can schedule a prompt for updates. However, it is up to the employees to allow it.

Still, a compliance policy outlining the consequences of not doing such actions will compel users to follow. For example, an administrator can create a notification for an employee to update their device. Users who violate security policies may have limited or no access to corporate email and other applications.

3. Choose strong passwords

A single email address can be associated with countless online accounts. Unfortunately, most users reuse similar passwords to protect them all. This lack of effort to choose passwords carefully is what hackers rely on to steal company data.

To make sure corporate smartphone passwords are hard to guess, follow these tips:

  • Require passwords to include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, and be at least eight characters long. Don’t let employees use children’s or spouse’s names and number sequences like “12345” in a password. It will only take a hacker a few minutes to get this information from social media.
  • Require employees to change their smartphone login password every three months.
  • When logging into corporate applications, implement two-factor authentication to verify identity.

4. Back up company data regularly

Just as you always back up computer data in the office, do the same for your company’s mobile devices. If an employee’s device is lost, stolen, or broken, company data remains secure and accessible.

Employees will use different smartphone apps to do their job. IT administrators should enable data loss prevention policies to prevent copying and access to corporate data by unauthorized applications.

5. Monitor device compliance

Even with an MDM policy, this may not be enough to detect and prevent suspicious app attacks and phishing. Over the years, there has been an increase in phishing attacks on mobile devices. Even tech giant Facebook has been the victim of a major phishing scam.

Examine Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) platforms to identify suspicious behavior, detect attacks on Wi-Fi, and actively scan for malware. To avoid hacks, you can fix the issues by turning off the device’s Wi-Fi or cellular data.

6. Test your mobile device security strategy

You shouldn’t wait for a cyberattack to find out if your security measures are working. Ask your IT team to perform security audits frequently. For foolproof testing, you can hire outside technical experts to perform penetration tests and identify weaknesses in your defenses.

Remember that the tests only tell you what you need to improve. Continue to plan a security program and record the results to create a mitigation plan. Every failure or success is a learning opportunity to improve your overall business security.

7. Keep employees informed of your policies.

There’s no point in establishing the best mobile device management policies if you don’t keep users up to date. Users hold the key to success. Training them and keeping them informed of current cyber threats is crucial.

Help your employees understand the importance of updating their devices and how it can affect company data. This should help them make the right decisions to practice device security.

The bottom line

Smartphones are the most vulnerable and least regulated tools. Most companies ignore the fact that once the device leaves the office, the threat of a security breach puts their sensitive data at risk.

Consider how you can securely manage devices and protect company data. All while ensuring that the process is simple and minimally invasive for your employees.

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