Keep your Company Devices Safe from Threats with These Proactive Steps
Because of the convenience they offer, smartphones and tablet devices have become a constant presence in the modern business world. As usage soars, it becomes increasingly important to take steps to protect your company from mobile threats, both new and old.
Gone are the days when the most sensitive information on an employee’s phone was contact names and phone numbers. Now a smartphone or tablet can be used to gain access to anything from emails to stored passwords to proprietary company data. Depending on how your organization uses such devices, unauthorized access to the information on a smartphone or tablet could be just as damaging as a data breach involving a more traditional computer system. Steps to protect you should include:
Establish a Mobile Device Security Policy
Before issuing smartphones or tablets to your employees, establish a device usage policy. Provide clear rules about what constitutes acceptable use. Include what actions will follow if employees violate the policy. It is important that employees understand the security risks of smartphone use and how they can mitigate those risks. Well informed, responsible users are your first line of defense against cyber attacks.
Establish a Bring Your Own Device Policy
If you allow employees to use their personal devices for company business, make sure you have a formal Bring your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place. Your BYOD security plan should also include the following:
- Installing remote wiping software on any personal device used to store or access company data.
- Educating and training employees on how to safeguard company data when they access it from their own devices.
- Data protection practices that include requiring strong passwords and automatic locking after periods of inactivity, establishing protocols for reporting lost or stolen devices, mandating certain antivirus and protective software, and requiring or strongly encouraging regular backups.
Keep the Devices Updated with the most Current Software and Antivirus Programs
Software updates to mobile devices often include patches for various security holes. Therefore, it is best practice to install the updates as soon as they’re available. There are many options to choose from when it comes to antivirus software for mobile devices, so it comes down to preference. Some are free to use, while others charge a monthly or annual fee and often come with better support. In addition to antivirus support, many of these programs will monitor SMS, MMS and call logs for suspicious activity. They can use blacklists to prevent users from installing known malware to the device.
Backup Device Content on a Regular Basis
Just as you backed up computer data regularly, so should you backup data on your company’s mobile devices. If a device is lost or stolen, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your valuable data is safe.
Choose Passwords Carefully
The average Internet user has about 25 accounts to maintain and an average of 6.5 different passwords to protect them, according to a recent Microsoft study. Obviously, this lack of security awareness is what hackers count on to steal data. Use the following tips to ensure your mobile device passwords are easy to remember and hard to guess.
- Require employees to change the device’s login password every 90 days.
- Passwords should be at least eight characters long and include uppercase letters and special characters, such as asterisks, ampersands and pound signs.
- Don’t use names of spouses, children or pets in the password. A hacker can spend just a couple minutes on a social media site to figure out this information.