It’s hard enough for businesses to stay secure nowadays, and that task is even more daunting now that we rely so heavily on mobile devices. The mobile threat is greater than ever. There's a ton of great advice out there, but we've narrowed it down to the 6 key things you should do to keep your mobile devices secure.
Mobile Device Security Best Practices
1. Turn User Authentication On
It's so easy for laptops, tablets and smartphones to get lost or stolen as we leave them in taxi cabs, restaurants, airplanes...the list goes on.
The first thing to do is to make sure that all your mobile devices have the screen lock turned on, and that they require a password or PIN to gain entry. There is a ton of valuable personal information on the device!
Most devices have Face ID and Touch ID, which certainly makes access easier, but not necessarily more secure.
Regardless of which method you choose, make sure ALL your devices are protected by making sure you are who you say you are - and if you do use passwords, be sure not to miss tip #4 below!
2. Update Your Operating Systems (OS) Regularly
This is super important!
If you're using outdated software your risk of getting hacked skyrockets. Vendors such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are constantly providing security updates to stay ahead of security vulnerabilities.
Don't ignore those alerts to upgrade your laptop, tablet or smartphone. To help with this, make sure you have automatic software updates turned on by default on your mobile devices. Regularly updating your operating system ensures you have the latest security configurations available!
When it comes to your laptop, your IT department or your IT services provider should be pushing you appropriate software updates on a regular basis.
Be sure to take a moment to hit "restart" otherwise it won't do you much good!
3. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Although it's very tempting to use that free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop, airport or hotel lobby - don't do it.
Any time you connect to another organization’s network, you’re increasing your risk of exposure to malware and hackers.
There are so many online videos and easily accessible tools that even a novice hacker can intercept traffic flowing over Wi-Fi, accessing valuable information such as credit card number, bank account numbers, passwords and other private data.
Interestingly, although public Wi-Fi and bluetooth are a huge security gap and most of us (91%) know it, 89% of us choose to ignore it.
Don't be one of them! That app store purchase can wait!
4. Use a Password Manager
Let's be honest, passwords are not disappearing any time soon, and most of us find them cumbersome and hard to remember.
Not to mention, we're also asked to change them frequently which makes the whole process even more painful.
Enter the password manager, which you can think of as a "book of passwords" locked by a master key that only you know.
Not only do they store passwords, they also generate strong, unique passwords that save you from using your cat's name or child's birthday...over and over.
We also highly recommend you follow this up with Multi Factor Authentication (MFA, also known as 2FA) which is critical to protecting your online applications and services.
5. Remote Lock and Data Wipe
Every business should have a BYOD policy that includes a strict remote lock and data wipe policy.
Under this policy, whenever a mobile device is believed to be stolen or lost, the business has the ability to protect the lost data by remotely wiping the device or, at a minimum, locking access.
Where this gets a bit sticky is that you're essentially giving the business permission to delete all personal data as well, as typically in a BYOD situation the employee is using the device for both work and play.
Most IT security experts view remote lock and data wipe as a basic and necessary security caution, so employees should be educated and made aware of any such policy in advance.
6. Don't Forget Cloud Security and Data Backup
Last but not least - keep in mind all those public cloud apps and services that are being accessed by employee-owned mobile devices, increasing your risk.
For starters, back up your cloud data! Should your device be lost or stolen, you'll still want to be able to quickly access any data that might have been compromised.
Select a cloud platform that maintains a version history of your files and that allows you to roll back to those earlier versions, at least for the past 30 days.
Google’s G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, and Dropbox all support this.
Once those 30 days have elapsed, however, deleted files or earlier versions are gone for good.
You can safeguard against this by investing in a cloud-to-cloud backup solution, which will back up your data for a relatively nominal fee each month.
Get Your BYOD Mobile Device Security Policy
Cloud security and cybersecurity in general have become a huge topic for businesses and consumers alike, and it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the advice out there.
Mobile security in particular has become an incredibly important concern, as almost every single employee these days has multiple devices that they use to access corporate applications and services.
There are certainly basic practices every mobile user needs to follow, but sure to consult with a trusted IT security expert, not only on mobile device management, but how best to protect your business in general from cyber threats and attacks.
There's a wide variety of managed cyber security solutions that you can take advantage of that may cost much less than you think!
Before you go - don't forget to download our complimentary BYOD policy, a very handy tool for almost every organization.
This document will give you basic guidelines on how to develop a policy that outlines the requirements for BYOD usage, in order to protect both your company and your employees.