9 Ways to Keep Your Employee's Mobile Devices Secure

Posted by Corrin Jones on March 26, 2019

Organizations find themselves tasked with protecting an ever-increasing number of endpoint devices. Among cybersecurity professionals, mobile devices are considered to be the most difficult asset to protect. With an increasing number of employees using their mobile devices for work, it becomes necessary to proactively improve security. Mobile devices are vulnerable to a number of modern, technologically-advanced attacks, and the cyberattacks targeted towards mobile devices are growing every day.

Mobile Device Are Vulnerable

By 2018, mobile attacks had increased by 24%, with one-third of fraud targets being mobile. This is a constantly increasing number. As mobile devices become more ubiquitous, they become more significant targets. Individuals use their mobile devices to do everything from paying their bills to checking their work emails. 

Many mobile devices have little in terms of built-in security. Not only are users not used to securing their mobile devices, but they can frequently use them to take work home. This is complicated by the fact that there are many mobile platforms to secure: there are dozens of iterations of Android alone. 

From social engineering to WiFi interference, businesses need to protect against a wide array of vulnerabilities, as well. Mobile devices may be out-of-date, have third-party solutions installed, or connect to public WIFI access points. All of these things can potentially impact an organization's network.

Tips for Better Mobile Management

Mobile management is about both technology and training. Technology needs to be used to secure devices, while better habits and training can be used to avoid increased risk. Here are a few tips for better management of mobile device security. These can be outlined in employee handbooks to reduce their potential exposure to malicious programs.

  • Keep devices locked. Employees should always keep their devices locked with a PIN, password, or biometric scan. Otherwise, all the security in the world can't prevent someone from simply picking up a device and accessing confidential data.

  • Only install apps from trusted sources. Third-party applications may have malware embedded inside of them. Even apps on the app store can sometimes have vulnerabilities. Work-only mobile phones should never have third-party applications installed without permission. 

  • Keep your device's operating system updated. When malicious exploits are discovered, operating systems are updated to stop them. However, the updates need to be run for the device to be protected. A device running old software is going to be vulnerable to these known vulnerabilities.

  • Don't click on links from unsolicited emails, texts, or messaging applications. Employees should be educated on the dangers of phishing and malicious links. Malicious links can install programs on an employee's device or attempt to collect information from it.

  • Avoid transmitting or storing personal information on the device. Ideally, data shouldn't be installed on a device unless it's encrypted. Personal and work data should also be kept separate, though many employees are increasingly using their personal device for everything—this is something difficult to avoid beyond offering a dedicated work device.

  • Be careful about what you plug your device into. Devices that look like charging devices could potentially have software inside of them designed to steal data. USB devices could also try to install malware on your device.

  • Encrypt the data on your device. Many devices have this feature. Even if the data is accessed, it may not be able to be read. If your phone does not have encryption services,  mobility management solutions can help.

  • Use Find my iPhone or the Android Device Manager to track your phone. If your phone is lost, you can use these services to immediately locate it, lessening the chances that it could be stolen and cracked into.

  • Backup your data. Data on a phone should be synced and backed up regularly, to avoid the loss of data if a device needs to be reset. This is another thing a mobility management solution can help with.

All of these together can reduce risk, but even the most conscientious employee can also make a mistake. Another layer of security may be needed, in the form of a mobile device manager or mobile application manager. 

Get a Mobile Device Manager

There are two forms of security: mobile device management and mobile application management. Both of these create a deeper layer of security for mobile devices. 

Mobile device management serves to secure a device, including all the data on that device. It provides comprehensive security features, including the function to scan for potential threats. However, it can have some downsides: if the device is compromised, the entire device needs to be wiped, including any of the employee's own data.

Mobile application management secures data on an application level. Corporate data is only accessed through a specific application. That application itself is secured. The mobile application manager controls access to confidential information and separates the security of the application from the security of the device itself. However, it does nothing to secure the device. 

In general, mobile application management is considered to be more advantageous and flexible for many applications. Both can provide a solid amount of protection, and they aren't mutually exclusive. To keep employee data safe, consider the benefits of mobile device management through Cloud Assist 365 MobilityPlus.

2019 Cybersecurity Threat Ebook

Topics: Mobile Device Management