Confronting Mobile Device Security Issues

Over ten years ago Apple changed the world forever with their introduction of the smartphone. In that time, smartphones have started replacing desktop and laptop computers, making mobile device security essential to address for enterprises.

According to a 2018 Enterprise Mobility Exchange survey, 28 percent of enterprises believed fake wi-fi networks are the largest security risk. Malware infections came in at 27 percent, malicious mobile apps at 25 percent and phishing attacks at 20 percent. While this is the perceived threat, the percentages are relatively accurate in reflecting what mobile device security threats look like.

However, according to the Pew Research Center 28 percent of individuals lack a lock screen or other security features. Another 40 percent only update their OS when it is convenient, not when a new security patch is available. The statistics reflect how little smartphone owners’ value or understand security of their devices.

So, what is the top things you can do to ensure your network is safe and your enterprise mobile devices are secure?

Mobile device security policies and processes

The most important step in any security initiative is to make sure employees understand the importance of mobile device security. Be clear and concise in your policies, procedures and processes regarding expectations of mobile usage. Since all public WiFi networks are vulnerable, write and clearly communicate policies preventing public WiFi usage.

Also, empower your employees to make smarter decisions regarding devices. Education and proper communication about threats and how mobile usage can go a long way in securing devices. Employees who are educated can make smarter decisions.

Require secured devices

As Pew Research found, over 1 in 4 people do not lock their phones. Given this statistic, requiring employees to create a strong password is mandatory.

While most enterprises require lock screens and passwords, the most common password for mobile devices is 123456. Weak passwords are attributed to data hacks, especially when employees are using the same password for all work-related accounts. It is necessary for every enterprise to require strong, unique passwords that have multiple requirements including multi-factor authentication to ensure mobile device security.

Incorporating biometrics goes even further to secure mobile devices. Biometrics includes facial ID and voice, fingerprint, or signature recognition. In 2018, 67 percent of mobile devices have fingerprint sensors. A smart enterprise will use stock hardware to their advantage.

Secure hardware and data

Encrypting the data can be a major component to protecting information and preventing theft. By converting data into code, only authorized users can see the data. While there are some industries such as financial services that already require encryption, all enterprises can benefit from coding their data. After all, unintentional data leakage can lead to theft and breaches.

One of the most common causes of unintentional data leakage is malicious apps. In the 3rd quarter of 2018, RDA found malicious mobile apps accounted for 24 percent of total fraud attacks. In fact, in one year Google removed over 700,000 malicious apps from its Play Store. When an employee downloads a malicious app, all enterprise data is at risk.

Leverage an enterprise mobility management solution

Having an EMM in place is critical for multiple reasons, from cost efficiencies to securities. Yet organizations do not always leverage their software to its full advantage. Looking at specialized abilities of EMMs, such as application security, can take mobile device security beyond core tasks.

Included in optimizing EMM software is ensuring all devices can be locked and wiped remotely. While this is an area of concern, especially in BYOD situations, all enterprises should take responsibility of securing their data in situations of lost or stolen devices.

One workaround for BYOD devices is to have employees create personas within the device, setting up different security policies and accessibilities based on those personas. Employee data is safe from potential wiping or enterprise access while enterprise data is safe in general.

Budget enough resources

Above all else, enterprises must budget enough money for mobile device security. A 2018 report from Ponemon Institute found the average data breach is $3.86 million. In comparison to the cost of a data breach, costs of mobile device security are nominal. This is one area in IT that cannot afford to be lacking in resources.

For more information on how MobileWare can provide EMM software and mobile device support, click here.

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