4 Tips for Keeping Business Data Safe on Personal Mobile Devices

Your mobile office exposes your business to hacking

Incidents of mobile phone hacking are is on the rise and it is now the stuff of nightmares for most people (see chart). McAfee labs, one of the leading anti-virus software manufacturers in the world, alone, reported experiencing more than 1.5m attempts to compromise a device in 2017. Those are only a small part of the total 16 million recorded malware incidents that year.

Credits: Statista

Top of the list of new cybercrimes, deliberately targeted at smartphones, is the hijacking of mobile devices that attach to a corrupt private network. (The network often already has spyware installed behind the firewall, which the IT department can’t get rid of.) Also of concern is the rise in the number of so-called ‘dead apps,’ which stay on your phone, measure and record everything that’s happening and sell the data they captured. In fact, this sort of monitoring could already be causing you problems. Industry rumors suggest that Android phones transmit around 1GB of mobile data in performing this monitoring. Every individual carries with them a mobile office these days. Here’s how you can safeguard yours

Use the basics of the security software that’s already installed on your phone

Mobile phones are easily lost or left behind. Forgetting your iPhone in the back of a cab expose an open portal to all your sensitive business information. There’s no excuse for not using the core capabilities of the device you have been provided.

Set a password as soon as you turn it on. Use fingerprint or facial recognition if it is easier. Turn on ‘track my phone’ features – you’ll find them in settings.

Put in place an automatic backup solution

Backing things up to the cloud these days is de rigor, partly, because it’s never been cheaper. When you need the backup, your world will be upside down. One minute you’ll be working efficiently, you’ll have everything you need, the next you won’t. Invest the time it takes to set up a Dropbox for business account (or one of the myriad other cloud storage options that are out there. ) In the event that a business phone is damaged, and you still need to get to the data that’s held on it, you’ll be glad you made sure you had a copy of the information you need.

We think you should seriously consider backing everything again up to a hard disk you keep in the office as well. We back ours up on the first of the month. Once you get into the habit, it only takes a few moments to action the diaries reminder.

Buy antivirus software and enforce the policy

In the UK, mid-2017, the entire National Health System computer systems froze, because of a virus attached to an email which was opened by an NHS employee.

Your entire organization is constantly trading information and opening files, any of which could potentially be harmful. Antivirus software specifically designed for business can track your staff’s behaviors from moment to moment and alert you if a virus comes in contact with your system.

IT Security policies only work with the support of the people to include people in the processes you set up. Management needs to support the initiative and the IT department by explaining clearly to employees the benefits of everyone taking the issue seriously.

Antivirus software will cost less than $50 per individual per year and is constantly updated to include new threats, including the virus that stopped the NHS.

Encrypt the data on your phone

Any endpoint device, from a desktop computer with 2TB of storage, to smartwatch, should have its contents encrypted as standard if the mobile device is home to any corporate information asset. Your data should be protected in the event that you lose the device.

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