Lock Down Your Mobile Devices: Encouraging Mobility while Remaining Secure
Encouraging productivity. Allowing employees to continuing working from home. Less IT overhead. These are just a few of the benefits that businesses that allow BYOD in the workplace or distribute company devices to employees will reap. However, the more devices there are with access to a business server, the greater the risk of a security breach. Take the time now to ensure allowing mobility and remaining secure go hand in hand in your business.
Start with Usage Guidelines
The first step to malware and hacking prevention is to arm employees with smart policies that will lead to a decreased risk of security breaches. Outline your business’ policies for accessing the business network from mobile devices and hold a meeting to discuss these policies so that you’re sure everyone fully understands. Some beneficial policies for your business’ network usage may include:
- Never leave a logged-in device unattended. Log out every time you’re finished accessing the network.
- Don’t download business data with confidential information to the device whenever possible. Work on these files through the network instead. Leaving files on your device desktop puts the information at risk even when not logged into the work server.
- If downloading files becomes necessary, delete the file once you are finished with it. Empty the deletion bin immediately and confirm total deletion.
- Put a password lock on the device, so if you walk away, no one else can pick up the device and access your data.
- Do not share the device with others, not even family members or close friends.
- Do not download illegal software or applications to the device. These could contain malware and are a potential liability to the company.
- Be careful when you download freeware or email attachments. Make sure the provider is reputable. If possible, do not download freeware or personal email attachments to a device you use for work, particularly if the device is provided by the business.
Relying on employees to follow these guidelines will make a huge difference in mobile network security. However, malware and hackers can still make their way in, even if your employees adhere to these guidelines.
Beefing Up Network Security
Your business will also have to invest in additional network security if you want to combat security problems later. If you have to hire an IT consultant, do so. The investment now will pay off by helping you avoid even larger consulting costs in the future to free a network from malware and retrieve lost or corrupted data. There are a few methods beyond the typical anti-malware software you and the IT consultants may consider to arm your network.
Back-Up Data Often
It’s always a smart idea to back up your data. Storing sensitive work documents in the cloud is not enough, especially if you consider that your cloud may get corrupted or hacked. Back-up copies onto flash drives, discs or desktop computers that remain at your place of business whenever possible.
One way to combat unwanted people from accessing the virtual private network—or VPN—is to require authorization for access. This can prove a bit more complicated and secure than simply requiring your employees to use an ID and a password to log in. An IT consultant can approve individual mobile devices as well as lock out any unapproved devices.
Even though stolen devices can still prove an issue, a hacker won’t be able to use their own devices to access the network, even if they do get a log in name and password. Remote hacking is more likely to be an attempt on your network than stealing mobile devices, as a stolen device is a far more immediately noticeable offense that can be counteracted as soon as the device is found to be missing.
In Case of Stolen Devices
Another precaution an IT consultant can devise for your business’ network is what to do in the event of a stolen mobile device. Simply locking out access from that device may not be enough, especially if sensitive data is already stored on the device. When a device is reported as stolen, an IT consultant may be able to wipe out all of the data on the device remotely before locking it out of the network.
Author Bio: Ron DePietro is a contributing blogger, IT consultant and former small business owner. Since selling his business, he divides his time between IT work helping clients with removing threats and viruses from their computers, in which he uses Trend Micro Security Software, and running an internet security blog.