The widespread use of mobile devices in the workplace, whether company owned or BYOD (bring your own device), has led to improved productivity and efficiency. However, with sophisticated cyber-attacks and malware increasing, companies need to have systems in place to keep its data secure.
Unfortunately many companies are not taking the need for security seriously enough – a report from IBM and Ponemon Institute , which surveyed 400 companies (40% of which were Fortune 500 companies), revealed that, although millions of dollars are spent annually on mobile app development, a mere 5.5% of it was allocated to security.
Although it is clear that employees have to be educated about the importance of ensuring optimal security with enterprise mobile devices, companies need to commit to investing more in mobile security.
Mobile management in enterprise business requires cooperation between a company and its employees. Organisations should therefore consider implementing the following strategies to reduce the risk of unauthorised access to sensitive company information:
- Protect all mobile devices with passwords – there is less risk of confidential documents being leaked if a device is lost or unattended
- Install antivirus software on all mobile devices – this protects the device from malware when an app is downloaded
- Be wary of free downloads – clicking on these could activate a virus
- Enable an automatic data wipe on enterprise mobile devices after a certain number of password attempts – this will discourage hackers
- Make employees aware of mobile phishing scams – phishing is one of the top ways for cybercriminals to steal data. Employees should therefore be urged never to click on a link inside an email
- Delete company data from personal mobile devices when an employee leaves – this will decrease the chance of breach of confidential data
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) in public Wi-Fi hotspots – Wi-Fi in public is unsafe and a VPN will help secure sensitive data
- Implement a BYOD policy in the workplace which defines the acceptable use of mobile devices
- Inform employees about the need for mobile security – data leakage is frequently the result of carelessness by employees, and a lack of knowledge about security
By implementing these strategies, companies will be better equipped to deal with malicious attempts to access important and privileged company data. It will also safeguard the company against careless or negligent data exposure.