Simply put, we can’t put our phones down.
Smartphone users perform an activity on their phones upwards of 150 times per day, whether that’s checking email, browsing the web, or just unlocking their screen for no reason at all. What that means is that mobile has become habitual –for many, it’s woven into our core behaviours.
The sheer number of connected devices in the world today is staggering. While it’s difficult to arrive at an exact number of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices currently in use, estimates are in the tens of billions.
And that should send a very clear message to businesses when it comes to the importance of Mobile Device Management and security.
“We’ve all become so used to switching between devices that most of us don’t think twice about sending a work-related text from our personal mobiles or googling something not related to work on our company-supplied laptop.
Most of the time this is not a problem, but it can quickly become one if these actions pose a data security risk to the individual or the organisation they work for.”
So what does this mean for businesses?
The escalating threat and cost of cyber-crime is one of the main reasons companies need to be vigilant about data management on mobile devices, whether company or employee owned.
Today, many employees use one device for both work and home. This convenience comes with a few challenges to overcome, such as connecting their device to your network and getting the right resources on their device, at the same time ensuring corporate data is protected. In addition, it is the business’s responsibility to keep their personal data personal in order not to compromise on privacy.
Businesses can harness mobile technology to its benefit, and there are things you can do to put good practices in place:
- Audit your business to see where mobile devices and technologies may be of most use in your business.
- Look at the potential for increased flexibility in the way you work.
- Look at new opportunities that they may open up for you.
- Draw up an ‘acceptable use’ policy for your staff so that they are aware of the limits within which they can operate including the ban on using handheld mobile devices whilst driving. Ask employees to sign to confirm that they have understood the policy, to prevent any misunderstandings.
- Assign an ID number to each mobile device and keep track of who’s using it.
- Ensure that data is secure in the event that a mobile device is stolen.
- Ensure that mobile data is backed up regularly, along with other valuable corporate data.
- Use passwords to control access to mobile devices and your business network.
- Include your mobile devices in any software audits and updates.
What NOT to do:
- Allow mobile devices to have free access to all sensitive corporate data, unless strong security measures are in place.
- Leave mobile devices in areas where they can be seen or easily taken.
- Share or leave password information in places where unauthorised users can find it.
For some mobile device users who are part of the BYOD expansion within their workplace, there is sometimes an unexpected resistance towards permitting measures to secure mobile devices in order to protect the corporate ecosystem in which they are operating.
If you are the owner of your device, one can empathise with your resistance to yet another thing on your phone, or tablet, or whatever you are using. But in this interconnected world of IoT (Internet of Things) it will both safeguard your device, your liability, and your place of work’s data in making sure that no corporate policies are breached.
And, as a business owner, creating a risk-free environment, and protecting the company and its client’s information is a must.
If employees’ devices tap into the corporate network, it’s important to secure them with at least the same level of vigilance and due diligence you would a company-owned device.
“Where encryption is concerned, it is important to understand the distinction between data in transit and data at rest. It’s easy to appreciate the fact that communications can be intercepted without proper encryption and strong authentication methods in place to protect them; it’s a bit more difficult to comprehend just how vulnerable data stored on a mobile device can be unless it is encrypted.
Once accessed, unencrypted mobile device data can quickly yield a treasure trove of sensitive financial, business or personal information that should be kept from prying eyes. If such unauthorised access results in a breach, an enterprise can suffer massive reputational damage and find itself subject to hefty regulatory fines,” says an industry expert.
How do I go about securing my business’s mobile devices?
With our IBM Managed Mobility Services we help you simplify the complexities of self-enrolment; deploy configurations; app installations; unenroll devices when employees leave; and privacy and security.
Our Unified endpoint management delivers IT and security technology needed to manage and secure smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, wearables, and the Internet of Things (IoT). It is the only platform that delivers an AI approach to UEM to enable endpoints, end-users, and everything in between — including apps, content, and data.
Delivered from a best-in-class cloud, it has earned longstanding recognition for fast, simple, and flexible deployments. Its open platform makes integration with existing apps and infrastructure seamless and straightforward. Customer support and services are available to maximise success and net a quick return on your investment.
“The implementation of security software and ensuring that a mobile device management tool is in place are good first steps but it’s vital that any software is managed proactively to ensure it doesn’t lose its protective value. It’s also important to ensure that there are tools in place to remotely wipe any data from devices if they are lost or stolen,” say a cyber security expert.
“Mobile devices have now become the ‘go to’ work device for many employees who rely on them to communicate with the office and with clients while working remotely. They regularly access company data and store it on their device and, managed incorrectly, this can result in a potential data breach.”