Mobile Security Essentials Print

The smartphone continues to revolutionize the business world as new and innovative phones flood the market and slick apps make it easier to do business around the clock, from anywhere. From a profitability and productivity standpoint, the business enhancing affects are unquestionable. But with this rapid progression in smartphone technology come new security challenges that not only CIOs and IT staff need to think about, but also small business owners and managers. Smartphones can be open portals to sensitive personal information and your corporate network to which they link, making it absolutely crucial to understand the security risks and how to maintain the integrity of your data. Peter DiCostanzo, a preeminent mobile phone and iPhone consultant, adds that "Like laptops, smartphones are an extension of your corporation's network not only containing sensitive or confidential data, but through VPN capabilities it can allow direct connectivity to the heart of your company's business. It is imperative for the network administrator to view smartphones the same as employee laptops, and to apply the same (if not greater) precautions and access levels restricting access to the corporate network."

There's no doubt about it - mobile devices have become man's new best friend. If you don't believe it, consider that there are currently over 4 billion mobile phones in use worldwide among 7 billion people, not to mention millions of tablets. People use their devices to stay in touch, take pictures, shop, bank, listen to music, and socialize. Additionally, they store personal and professional information on them, and because they use them for almost everything, they have both a high financial and emotional value.

Losing your smartphone or tablet, or the information on it, can be a hassle. If you lose your mobile device, you not only have to replace it, but you could also lose the sensitive information you had stored on it, including account numbers and confidential work information. So, why do so many of people leave their mobile devices unprotected?

Though most people do recognise the need to protect their computers from a myriad of digital threats, many don't realize that they face the same threats, as well as a host of new ones, with mobile devices. In fact, most mobile users don't even know that there is security software for mobile phones, even though it has become increasingly essential.

For one thing, the growing popularity of mobile devices has led cybercriminals to see them as a new avenue for attack. Mobile malware has grown significantly in recent years, becoming ever-more sophisticated and dangerous as it spreads. Furthermore, cybercriminals are not just designing malware for mobile, they are also taking advantage of the way you use these devices to trick you into opening risky emails and web pages, or accidentally downloading a malicious file.

So, as a mobile user, keep in mind that you need to learn how to how to protect yourself from a variety of threats. Some of the essentials for your mobile protection include: locking your device with a PIN number password that only you know, only installing applications from trusted sources, backing up your data, keeping your mobile software updated, remembering to log out of bank and shopping sites and making good use of Antivirus software.

It's also important to avoid sending personal information such as bank details or passwords via email, as such valuable information can be easily hacked by cybercriminals. It's also a good idea to turn off Wi-Fi, location services and Bluetooth when you are not using them. This will limit the chances of your important information being leaked in a shared digital environment.

In closing, if you already have one or plan to deploy a business smartphone to your workforce, give some serious thought to the following:

* Education. Make your employees aware of how their smartphone interacts with your network.

* Create and strictly enforce a use policy, and ensure that security apps are included in said policy.

* Understand that not all smartphones operate on the same platform. Phone software packages have holes and no carrier is immune to malware and viruses. Learn about the various vulnerabilities and safeguards of the smartphone options you're considering.

* Require employees to sync their phones regularly, keeping sensitive data off of their phones.

* Maintain a corporate firewall and regularly monitor all server activity.

* Limit employee permissions to only what they need to get their job done.

* Have authentication protocols in place for accessing corporate networks.

* Keep malware definitions up to date and running on all security software.

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