Safe Mobile Computing Requires Addressing Threats Everywhere

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is no longer optional. Businesses depend on their employees to be always available. That means the employees and the businesses are always at risk, too. There’s a wide variety of threats to data security that can come from using a mobile device.

Mobile Device Threats to Information Security

Mobile risks come from everywhere: the devices themselves, the applications they run, and the networks they use for communication.

Device Risks

The most basic risk with a mobile device comes from losing a device; any unprotected data on the device is also lost. Devices contain cameras and microphones that can be accidentally or deliberately activated to record confidential business activities. Many mobile device users fail to keep the operating system updated, so they remain vulnerable to known attacks. Sophisticated users may “jailbreak” their devices, bypassing many built-in security controls. Data stored on the device may not be encrypted, and users may not use strong passwords to limit access.

Application Risks

Applications on mobile devices can monitor user activity and steal data. Many applications request more permissions than necessary to perform their function. Outdated applications may have unpatched vulnerabilities. Even applications downloaded from official app stores can contain malicious code. Clicking on links in emails and text messages can also install malicious code. The small screens on mobile devices make it harder to detect forged emails and websites.

Network Risks

When employees work from anywhere, they often use whatever network connection is handy. Anyone can give their network an official-sounding name, tricking users into using it. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks allow hackers to monitor traffic or execute man-in-the-middle attacks.

Protecting Against Mobile Risks

Fortunately, there are steps your business can take to protect against mobile risks. Enterprise mobility management or mobile device management tools let you take control of access to company resources from personal devices and protect yourself from device, application, and network risks.

  • Device Risk Protection. Set controls over the kinds and versions of devices and operating systems allowed to access your resources. Enforce screen locking, use of passwords, and encryption of stored data.
  • Application Risk Protection. Provide a company store for downloading applications needed for business purposes. Use two-factor authentication that relies on a separate smart card, so losing the device doesn’t also provide the second authentication tool. Manage user privileges to limit access from mobile devices. Require users to update to the latest patched versions.
  • Network Risk Protection. Require users to connect to corporate systems over a virtual private network.

Prescient Solutions provides comprehensive mobile support services to Chicago and Schaumburg area businesses. From provisioning devices to retiring them, our team ensures secure, reliable mobile access for your team. Contact us to learn more about bringing safe mobility to your business.

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