The corporate world is an ever-competitive arena. Businesses opt for newer trends and technologies to stay ahead of the game. One such recent trend that most businesses have now adopted is Enterprise Mobility. Mobile devices have become a regular part of people’s lives, not only for personal usage but also for business purposes. Workplaces are no more restricted to physical offices and the remote business operations are functioning just fine, so long as the workforce stays well-connected and seamless operational efficiency is maintained. Businesses have achieved this majorly with the help of mobile devices.
Laptops, smartphones, tablets are some of the commonly used mobile devices that employees use largely to carry out their tasks from diverse locations. Businesses even allow employees to use their personal devices for work as a part of the BYOD management trend. These digital devices bring about flexibility and greater connectivity for employees working from home, business sites or any other place. Since mobile devices form the foundation of enterprise mobility, it becomes crucial for businesses to secure them from potential threats.
Why Is Mobile Device Security Important?
Mobile devices have proven to be highly beneficial to businesses, as they have changed the way businesses operated and brought about greater flexibility leading to higher employee productivity. These digital devices are compact and handy making them easily portable to support enterprise mobility. However, this compact and portable nature is the very reason why mobile devices also face several security risks.
People store their personal details including contacts, credit card details, personal documents and much more which can easily fall into the wrong hands and be misused. This is exactly what gives rise to cybercrimes. Now imagine, employees having not only their personal information but loads of professional data and business resources on their devices. This increases the security risks by manifolds. Enterprise mobility seems like the most convenient way to go, but if you do not take measures to secure your employees’ mobile devices, it can lead to serious consequences and business losses.
Let’s understand the potential mobile device security risks that may lead to corporate data compromisation.
- Insecure Wi-fi and Network Spoofing
Adopting enterprise mobility means having to allow your employees to work from anywhere, be it their homes, on-site locations, or outdoor places such as cafes and restaurants. Almost every place has free Wi-fi networks that users can access with ease. However, most of these public Wi-fi networks are unsecured. They are the easiest way for cybercriminals to hack into a user’s system and access data stored on the devices.
Using public Wi-fi on unknown networks can be a great threat to your corporate data stored on employees’ devices. Cybercrimes have gone way too ahead, hackers now have a way of setting up fake access points to appear as public Wi-fi networks that ask users to create an account using their credentials and passwords. Most users maintain common passwords for multiple accounts, simply for the convenience of remembering them. Hackers can misuse these credentials to access any and every personal and professional piece of information on the user’s device. This is called Network Spoofing.
Malware is an intrusive software that is specifically designed to cause harm to corporate computer systems and collect data stored on the devices. This malware lurks in today’s world in several forms, all targeted towards creating corporate data breaches. Ransomware is a form of malware that captures critical business data and demands a ransom to release it. Spyware is a form of malware designed to collect data from corporate networks. Scareware is a form of malware that tricks the user into buying malicious software intended to create data leakage. This malware can be delivered into the corporate networks through several media such as emails, public networks, malicious websites, apps, etc.
- Phishing attacks
Hackers try to get into the corporate systems by sending across fraudulent emails appearing to have been sent by reputed sources. When users click on the email or the links that it holds, the hackers find a loophole to access sensitive information including credit card details, contacts, confidential business documents and much more. This is the most common form of cyber attack.
- Device loss or theft
The most common form of device security risk, which has nothing to do with the internet or cybercrimes is the loss or theft of devices. Because mobile devices are so handy, users often tend to misplace them. With remote working allowing employees to work from diverse locations, especially from their personal devices, the risk of devices being misplaced or stolen increases considerably.
Unless these company-owned or BYO devices have been secured efficiently, there is a high possibility of your corporate data being stolen and misused. So what can businesses do to prevent such mishaps and strengthen their device security?
5 Ways to Enhance Your Mobile Device Security
The prime purpose of securing the employees’ mobile devices is to protect sensitive business data that it holds. With remote working and enterprise mobility in full form, employees have access to every little corporate information on their smart devices. Here are some effective ways to strengthen the security of your employees’ mobile devices.
- Enforce strong passcode policies
The first form of security is enforcing stringent passcode policies on an organizational level. Employees often tend to repeat their passwords for multiple accounts or maintain simple passwords that are easy to crack such as names, birth dates, etc. This makes it extremely easy for cybercriminals to hack into the device and your corporate networks. A corporate passcode policy defines the type or passwords employees must have in terms of their complexity, strength and how often they must be updated.
- Take measures for network security
Most cyber threats and malware find an easy entry point through unsecured networks. Taking measures to secure the corporate networks helps businesses protect their sensitive business data. There are various methods to secure your corporate networks. Building a firewall that blocks the incoming traffic and allows only the verified traffic to pass is one of the common ways to secure your network. Another most efficient method is to configure a VPN to provide your employees with an encrypted connection to your corporate network.
- Enable data encryption
Data encryption is a strategy to convert your corporate information into codes that require a key to decipher or decode the text. This method of encrypting your business data goes a long way in preventing data breaches, even if your devices fall into the wrong hands. Most of the major operating systems offer built-in data encryption capabilities such as Windows BitLocker encrypts the device’s hard disk and enables PIN-based decoding. Similarly, macOS offers the FileVault, which offers full disk encryption.
- Ensure timely OS updates
One of the easiest ways to keep cyber threats at bay is to ensure timely system and OS updates. Major OS like Android, iOS, macOS, Windows 10, etc. routinely releases their OS version updates which are meant to fix any bugs or loopholes that have formed in the OS which may hamper the functioning of the device. Hackers are always on the lookout for security loopholes, to invade into corporate systems and spread malware. Routine OS updates and patch fixes, add new features periodically and remove the older, outdated apps and software, leaving no gap for the entry of malware.
- Implement MDM solutions
What can be a more apt solution for mobile device security than Mobile Device Management (MDM) software? MDM solutions, as the name suggests are tools designed specifically to manage, monitor and secure mobile devices to enable businesses to have a smooth enterprise mobility journey. MDM solutions offer much more than just device security features, they also offer inventory monitoring, app and content management, remote support, automation, etc. But businesses can benefit a lot and save precious IT time by implementing MDM solutions to configure all their security-related policies from a single unified console.
Modern-day MDM solutions not only offer all of the above-mentioned security policies but instead offer a plethora of more security-related features that help businesses create an impenetrable corporate infrastructure. Conditional Email Access to ensure corporate email security, Remote device lock and data wipe to prevent data breaches, Kiosk Lockdown to prevent device misuse, blocking hardware buttons and navigation, setting up DLP (Data Loss Prevention) policies and much more. With the right MDM software, businesses can reinforce their device and data security protocols effortlessly.
Corporate device and data security are crucial aspects for ensuring business continuity and profits. Data breaches are one of the common reasons why enterprises have to pay hefty fines and face massive loss of brand reputation. With newer technologies surfacing, the intensity of cyber threats is increasing every day. Implementing the right security measures can go a long way for businesses to stay secure in this dynamic environment.