Stop for a moment and take a look at the people around you right now. Many of them will probably be listening to or staring at their smartphones. In fact, the chances are pretty good that you’re reading this post on your own mobile device.
Smartphones have quickly become an essential part of our everyday lives and have radically changed the way we consume and share information and communicate with one another.
But while having 24/7 access to the Internet wherever you go might sound like a good thing it poses a new set of challenges to businesses concerned about who is getting access to their valuable corporate data.
And with the rise of the Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) movement, which is seeing more and more employees using their own smartphones for work, the security risks to businesses are growing by the day. In a recent survey of companies, 72% felt their employees’ behaviour on social networking sites could potentially endanger their business’s security.
Despite this, surprisingly few businesses have any kind of smartphone security protocol in place, and many seem oblivious to the threats posed by unrestricted smartphone access to their networks.
So what can your business do to protect itself from unauthorised access by mobile devices that, left unchecked, could potentially lead to hacks, data theft or exposure of sensitive corporate information?
At UK IT Service we recognise the important role smartphones will continue to play in business today, which is why we’ve come up with 7 tips for smarter smartphone security.
Most employees know they need to follow security protocols when it comes to using company-owned PCs but rules regarding mobile phones are often overlooked.
Draw up a clear and comprehensive mobile device IT policy and make sure employees are aware of the security risks associated with using their devices to conduct business.
Encrypt confidential information such as corporate emails, documents, photos etc. that often end up stored on mobile devices. At UK IT Service we strongly recommend installing encryption software to protect data from falling into the wrong hands.
For businesses that provide company smartphones to their employees, it is possible to respond quickly to security risks by remotely locking access to data on specific employee devices. Access can even be removed entirely if an employee goes rogue or if the mobile device is lost or stolen.
Make sure you keep your sensitive data secure by ring fencing your company’s smartphone activity. This means requiring user authentication in order to personalise employee access to only the information they need as well as setting up sharing restrictions to ensure information is not spread outside of the ‘loop’.
Most mobile devices have their Bluetooth feature turned on by default, which means any employee who is out in public (or visiting a competitor company) with their smartphone could potentially be vulnerable to an unwanted connection to their corporate data.
If your business uses mobile devices you should also inform employees about these simple ways can prevent security breaches:
If you own a smartphone and use it for work we recommend taking these three simple steps that in just a few minutes can both help protect your personal privacy and boost your business's IT security:
Install antivirus software for your mobile - if your phone runs Android then make sure you install a trusted antivirus app such as Avast, McAfee or Kaspersky to help safeguard against potential malware attacks hidden in apps in the Android marketplace.
Enable PIN Lock - generate your own PIN in order to access your phone and another to access the home screen after your phone has been idle for a few minutes.
Stay alert - hackers are increasingly targeting smartphones so don’t click on links from anonymous text messages or suspicious sites on the Internet.
At UK IT Service we help London-based businesses make the most out of their mobile devices. If you’re looking for IT support in London, or if you need some advice and guidance with your current setups and processes, get in touch and we’ll be glad to help.