Digital, Security

6 Ways Companies Can Improve Their Mobile Device Security

Every new device that is used to access your business network, or even send internal emails, provides a potential security risk. We...

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Written by Ben Hartwig · 4 min read >
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Every new device that is used to access your business network, or even send internal emails, provides a potential security risk. We have to follow some essential steps to improve our mobile device security.

Mobile devices including tablets, phones, laptops, and even smartwatches, can provide hackers and scammers with a way into business networks. On an individual level, your information could be at risk. For instance, your mobile banking could even be hacked if you leave these devices unprotected.

Account takeovers are not uncommon. People who take a relaxed attitude to secure their devices are more susceptible as scammers become more sophisticated and target multiple types of hardware.

It’s Even More Important for Businesses

For companies, the task of managing all of the devices that access their network can be very daunting. You might have hundreds of employees, each with multiple devices that have access to sensitive information. Email addresses and contacts need to be protected, but devices may even be an opportunity for a sophisticated scammer to install malware or create a “back door” into company servers. This can lead to huge problems and big data breaches that can cost companies a fortune. 

The cost of account takeovers is said to now exceed $5 billion annually. On top of the money that can be lost if accounts are accessed, many companies need to foot the bill in terms of fines for not being compliant with cybersecurity regulations, or legal costs incurred after a case of fraud.

In this guide, we’re looking at the most effective ways companies can increase their peace of mind by improving security.

6 Ways to Improve Mobile Device Security

What are the most effective ways to improve your device security across the whole company?

Establish a Policy For Mobile Usability

To Improve Mobile Device Security

If you are going to allow people to use mobile devices to access anything sensitive or store any data, such as customer data, or to access a CMS or CRM that contains sensitive data, you need a policy in place. 

This policy can be a written document that everyone working within the business has to agree to. It can demonstrate how your employees approach the data within. For instance, if text messages are used to communicate, or photographs are taken for use in your business, you might need to remove these after a certain period of time. These policies may also discuss the use of the mobile device for personal matters. Many businesses do not want these two things to mix. 

The flip side of this coin is whether or not you are allowing people to use their personal phones for business use. For example, whether they can log into your Slack account or other CRM on their phone. If you allow this, you might find that one employee not sticking to the rules, using a public WiFi that leaves them exposed, could cause huge implications for your business. 

  • Teach Employees to Lookup Email Addresses Through Reverse Lookup Tools

One of the ways that malware or other harmful software can get installed on a device is through spam emails. It is vital that your employees understand this. Otherwise, you are potentially at risk of inadvertently installing software that can be very harmful, and allow people to take over your device.

One of the best ways to approach this task is to use a reverse email lookup tool. Using a tool to establish who owns an email address before deciding whether to respond to an email, can ensure that you don’t accidentally enter into a conversation with a scammer. 

There are so many different schemes out there, and scammers are getting more and more sophisticated. They use techniques such as “whaling” where a specific executive is targeted in order to try and appear genuine and access their information.

Employees must know the risks, and it is so easy to check an email address before you start to interact.

  • Keep Operating Systems and Apps Updated

One of the main reasons why apps and operating systems are so frequently updated is because security threats have been identified. This means that it is essential that you keep your operating system updated to the most recent version, and regularly update all of the apps on your devices.

If not, hackers can target privacy and security weaknesses to try and gain access to a mobile device.

It only takes a few seconds to update your apps and operating system, and you can even set them up to automatically update while you sleep.

This has been a cybersecurity tip for decades now. Weak passwords are easy to hack, and as we’ve already discussed, one hacker can bring the whole company’s data tumbling down. All it takes is for one employee to not stick to your company rules or to make a poor decision.

Encourage secure passwords, and give your employees tips on how they can generate these passwords effectively. On top of this, you might want to create an obligatory password change to take place periodically. For example, you could prompt password changes on your internal systems every few months for that extra layer of security.

  • Back-Up Your Data

If a device gets stolen or in some way compromised, you don’t want to be left relying on the data that is on it.

Regular backups, especially for important information, should be mandatory within your business to make sure that you don’t get caught out.

This is especially useful to tackle ransomware, a type of scam that takes over a device or information and then demands payment for its release. This is immensely frustrating, and totally avoidable. Backed up data means that even if you do lose a device, you’re likely to still be able to access everything that was important.

Many devices such as iPhones and iPads can be set to automatically back up to the cloud on a regular basis.

  • Educate Employees

One of the biggest issues facing employers when it comes to improving your device security and overall policies for cybersecurity is the fact that a lot of employees simply don’t know the threats.

Education is vital. If you are a big company, you should have an IT department or at least some members of IT staff who are tasked with your security. The risks must be communicated via those in the known. You may also work with IT contractors, and these can provide seminars and events to educate you on the current state of cybersecurity.

One of the top reasons why employees sometimes take risks or fail to do the right thing to keep your business information secure is the fact they just don’t know any better. Education is absolutely vital.

Conclusion

Most companies don’t prioritize online security and mobile devices anywhere near as much as they should. In the modern age, it is a huge risk to businesses to ignore this, yet most people don’t go into business to focus on keeping customer data safe.

Having employees or contractors working with your company to keep data secure can save you from a lot of hassle, expense, and loss of reputation if your data does get stolen. A few simple steps, implemented properly, can make all the difference for your business.

Written by Ben Hartwig
Ben is a Web Operations Executive at InfoTracer. He authors guides by sharing the best practices and does it the right way!
     
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