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. There's a ton of great advice out there, but we've narrowed it down to the 5 top things you should do to keep your mobile devices secure!
Five Mobile Security Best Practices in 2019
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. Some of the newer 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)
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 If you're using outdated software your risk of getting hacked skyrockets.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 updates turned on by default on your mobile devices.
When it comes to your laptop, your IT department or your managed IT service provider should be pushing you appropriate software updates on a regular basis. Be sure to take a moment to hit "restart!"
3. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Although it's very tempting to use that free Wi-Fi at the coffee shop, airport of 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 is a huge security gap and most of us (91%) know it, 89% of us choose to ignore it! Don't be one of them!
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.
Check out products like LastPass and Dashlane (two of the top-rated providers) to take the hassle out of creating and remembering strong passwords. We also highly recommend you follow this up with Multi Factor Authentication (MFA, also known as 2FA), especially important on mobile devices.
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 either remotely lock the device or erase any data on it.
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 Backup
Last but not least - back up your data! Should your device be lost or stolen, you'll still want to be able to quickly access any data you had on the device.
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.
Cyber security has become a huge topic for businesses and consumer alike, and it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the advice out there.
Be sure to consult with a trusted IT security expert, not only on mobile device security but how best to protect your particular business from unrelenting cyber attacks. There's a wide variety of managed security solutions that you can take advantage of, that may cost much less than you think.
For more information on this topic, check out our Cyber Security Solutions Overview which will provide a basic primer on some of the options you may want to check out to protect your business data.
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