More businesses are living by the BYOD policy — bring your own device to work. Increased mobility is a business trend that is gaining momentum and for good reason. Cloud-based technology allows professionals to access information and materials on any device with an Internet connection. This allows workers incredible flexibility and increased productivity. Additionally, businesses can leverage cloud-based technology and mobile devices to reduce capital expenses and improve scalability. Business owners no longer have to invest in costly hardware and can purchase only the services that are actually useful to their organizations.
Mobility has clear benefits, but it also comes with real risks. Because employees often use a wide range of different mobile devices, it can be incredibly difficult to ensure data security. When your business is mobile, it is flexible and efficient, but it is also susceptible to security threats. It is critical to take extra steps to avoid data security breaches on these mobile devices. The following are four steps business owners and employees can take to help secure their personal devices.
Create Secure Passcodes and Passwords
If you are using a mobile device for work, be sure that it is locked with a passcode sequence, a fingerprint scanner or, better yet, both. When creating passcodes for your mobile devices, choose the longest possible sequence. Avoid commonly guessed numerical sequences (like 123456) and avoid dates or names that someone else might know. Choose a numerical code that is unique to you and that would have no obvious significance to someone else.
In the event that someone is able to bypass your mobile device passcode lock, you will also want to have secure passwords for all your company accounts. It is tempting to use one password for all of these accounts that you can easily remember, but you should avoid that temptation. Use different passwords for different accounts, and create strong passwords that incorporate a mix of case-sensitive letters, numbers and symbols.
Use Discretion When Downloading Mobile Apps
The seemingly endless store of mobile apps available can actually be a bit of a minefield. Many apps, particularly “off-brand” or “knockoff” apps, are not safe, especially for work devices. If you decide to download “Irritated Fowl” to your mobile device instead of “Angry Birds,” you could be unwittingly sending sensitive company data to cybercriminals. The difference between legitimate apps and imposters can be incredibly subtle. Exercise caution and do some research before downloading suspicious apps to your mobile devices.
Avoid Public WiFi Connections
One of the many advantages to using mobile devices is the ability to work on the go. When traveling, it is common to connect to public WiFi at airports, hotels and coffee shops. However, public WiFi connections, though convenient, are also insecure. Cybercriminals can intercept secure data through public WiFi, and these criminals may even set up some connections as data theft traps. When possible, it is best to use a private WiFi connection or to tether a personal mobile phone network. If a public WiFi connection is your only option, use a virtual private network (VPN) for secure encryption.
Hire an IT Managed Services Provider
These safe mobile device practices are important, but they can only get you so far. If your organization is leveraging mobility, you should consider upgrading to IT managed services. A managed service provider (MSP) can stay abreast of the latest security issues and software in a way that you, as business owner, just do not have time to do. MSPs offer a level of expertise and experience and can manage a complex web of mobile device security strategies. An MSP can help you create and implement an effective mobile security policy for all employees while proactively guarding against potential security breaches.
If your organization runs on a BYOD policy, and you are concerned about mobile security, contact AIS today.