From online grocery shopping to virtual classes and meetings, everything can now be done using a small, rectangular device called a smartphone.
Besides its uses for private individuals, this indispensable gadget offers even more advantages for businesses today. With 5G technology becoming more widely used, smartphones have become a normal part of business operations. But this convenience comes with a price.
With smartphones, contact names and phone numbers are no longer the only sensitive information that can be compromised on mobile phones. A single mobile device can be a treasure trove of passwords, emails, proprietary data, and even trade secrets.
While going digital can make things a lot easier and faster, it also introduces plenty of risks that you should be ready for. Whatever your circumstances may be, the threat of cyber attacks will always be there.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of being attacked. The following are seven practical ways you can implement to boost the security of your business mobile phone. These are recommended by Microsoft and cybersecurity experts on the web:
1. Implement a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy
Several factors contribute to mobile phone security risks, but one of the top concerns is the likelihood of these devices getting lost, misplaced, or stolen.
Since mobile devices go with you wherever you go, the potential to leave them behind is much higher. And once a person with malicious intent gets a hold of the physical device, it would be difficult to gain control of the data it contains.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this in devices used for business, and one of them is to implement a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy across the organization. This allows employees to bring and use their personal devices for work while keeping company data secure.
Among the policies to implement under a BYOD plan includes:
- Requiring employees to install a remote wiping software on all personal devices that are used to access and store data that belongs to the company;
- Training and education of employees about the best practices in data safety, especially when accessing company servers and handling data using wireless networks and personal devices;
- Automatic locking of devices during inactivity, use of strong passwords, and other data protection practices;
- Use of protective software and antivirus; and
- Approval apps for download.
2. Keep apps and software updated
Keeping apps and mobile software updated may sound basic, but it is actually something that many people fail to do. Although some of these updates take a bit of time, they are worth every second, as updating ensures that your mobile security will remain tight.
This is because they often include security patches that expand the devices’ data bank on new viruses and malware, thereby improving their defense against these cyber threats.
3. Stay safe on the Internet
Cybersecurity is crucial for small businesses and large enterprises. The size of an organization doesn’t matter — any company can fall victim to cybercrime. If malicious people decide to attack your firm online, it doesn’t matter how much your business is worth.
Even so, the Internet remains a crucial part of today’s businesses, so you need to find ways to keep your company secure from all online threats, especially on company mobile devices.
One of the most straightforward ways to do this is to manage employee security credentials carefully. As mentioned earlier in the sample BYOD policies, businesses should require employees to have strong passwords to keep their devices and the company’s data safe. But it shouldn’t end there.
Rather than having a permanent password, it should be changed periodically. Ideally, passwords should be replaced every 90 days. It is also best to implement password changes only after using two-factor authentication to verify the identity of the user performing the update.
Besides that, you should also create policies that focus on the following criteria for strong passwords:
- Passwords should have a minimum of eight characters.
- Passwords must include uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters (e.g., exclamation points, pound signs, and asterisks).
- Passwords shouldn’t be anything too obvious, like “12345678” or “password.”
- Never use birthdays and other basic and publicly known information for passwords.
4. Use only certified devices
Mobile security should start from the very beginning, which means you should stick to legitimate sellers and only buy officially sold devices, whether it’s brand new or refurbished.
Buying refurbished devices offers lots of savings for a small company. Of course, it can go beyond that. When you stick to certified Apple refurbished devices, you get to enjoy the same caliber of performance and security that owners of brand new smartphones also enjoy.
The best part is that you can enjoy these perks for just a fraction of the price. That’s virtually one of the most practical ways to maintain mobile security for your business.
5. Backup data regularly
Backing up data is another way to ensure nothing is lost, even if unexpected incidents occur. This has always been a common practice for computers, so why not implement the same policy on mobile devices used for business operations, as well?
If the device gets stolen or lost, the security protocol should be to wipe it clean so that the data it contains doesn’t get into the wrong hands. However, you would only be free to do this if you have a backup of the data on your company cloud server.
6. Use data encryption
Encryption is another way you can keep your company data in mobile devices secure.
Although some devices can encrypt phone storage, not all of them have this on by default. To ensure that no unauthorized person can access data in company mobile phones, don’t forget to activate the encryption in both phone storage and memory cards.
7. Take advantage of VPN
Virtual private networks, more popularly known as VPN, are becoming more popular among businesses because they offer enhanced security and privacy.
Essentially, a VPN allows mobile users to connect to the internet more securely. It does so by offering access to the worldwide web without revealing any critical information such as the phone’s operating system, location, business details, and many more.
Some forms of this service come at no extra cost, but others may require a monthly subscription. Of course, payment for VPN will be worth it, as it would significantly reduce the chances of hackers from putting your employees and the company data they handle at risk.
Keep Your Mobile Data Secure
Smartphones make business operations so much easier, but they also create an opening for cybercriminals. To ensure that your business data remains safe, implement these mobile security best practices across your entire organization.