In this day and age, it’s clear that we live in a world of mobile communication. Whether it was on a phone or tablet, you have sent or received at least one text message, call, or email. Many companies are beginning to see the benefits of mobile communication as it facilitates easy, on-the-go access to important information. However, mobile devices are vulnerable to cyber threats.
While employees of companies who have embraced mobile platforms are no longer tethered to their desks, they are still at risk of experiencing a data breach. Mobile devices can create significant security challenges, especially if the device holds confidential information and is connected to a corporate network, so it’s important to protect yourself – and your company – with a mobile device action plan.
Give your password a boost
A key to effectively safeguarding your information is remembering that you are only as strong as the password you choose. Employers should require their employees who work from their mobile devices to protect those devices with strong passwords. Solid and secure passwords include numbers, symbols, capital and lowercase letters, and they have a minimum of 12 characters. Additionally, they do not contain dictionary words or combinations of such words, and they avoid the use of common character substitutions.
Encrypt the sensitive data on your device
Encryption is a reversible process that scrambles data into text that will appear as gibberish, otherwise known as ciphertext. Without data encryption, your information is vulnerable to a breach if someone can get past your device’s initial password protection. When you secure your information through encryption, only you can access the sensitive data on your device with a key.
One way to encrypt your mobile data is hardware encryption, which automatically scrambles everything on your device. On the other hand, there is software encryption, which scrambles only the data that a given application decides to encrypt, so you can select which pieces of data to protect. Software encryption is especially useful for storing data on devices that lack hardware encryption, such as Android 2.3 and Windows Phone 8 devices. Self-encrypting applications that fall into this category include NitroDesk Touchdown and Good for Enterprise. When using such programs, employees have to unlock their phones or tablets to decrypt data, respond to application prompts, and enter a secondary PIN or password.
Install security apps
While your mobile device is on a public or corporate network, you can further ward off criminals from stealing important information by installing security applications.
To keep viruses and malware off of your device, consider downloading Lookout for iOS or avast! for Android. The Lookout app comes packed with anti-virus protection, malware protection, and anti-theft options like backing up your contact data and tracking your device’s location by GPS. The avast! app can scan, remove and protect your device from potential viral threats. Additionally, it deters Wi-Fi threats and locks other applications with potential vulnerabilities.
Educate employees on best practices
Many corporate data breaches originate internally and are caused by common mistakes, so it’s essential to educate your company’s employees on how to conduct business on their mobile devices and what to avoid when connected to the corporate network. This may include, but is not limited to, workshops on how to avoid phishing scams.
Have a breach mitigation plan
Have a plan if your network is attacked. The most important thing is to respond quickly to attacks of this nature. Here are some immediate steps of action.
- Discover the cause of your breach
- Implement additional prevention training to staff regarding your recent breach
- Safeguard your employees following the breach with identity theft protection that includes credit monitoring
iLOCK360 offers customizable packages for organizations large and small following data breaches involving employee, student and client data. For more information, view our iLOCK360 For Business page.