Pensar Blog

Security on the go: how to make mobile working safe

Written by Mark Williams | 10 March 2016

As mobiles have evolved beyond basic communication tools, they have become more exposed to risk.

With 4G data access and a smartphone we can access email, check in on projects and effectively do our jobs from wherever we are. But this means your company data leaves the confines of your tried-and-tested firewall and in-office security, which in turn makes your employees’ phones a tempting target for would-be attackers.

So to avoid your employees falling victim to data theft and make mobile working safe, make sure you follow these three steps:

1. Prevent physical theft

Assume the worst happens, and one of your employee’s phones is lost or stolen. In order to make sure the thief doesn’t have access to all of their data and emails, make these basic protections a pre-requisite for mobile working:

  • Lock screen security. Locking a phone with a passcode is essential. Even better, some phones allow fingerprint scanning, which is harder to hack. You can also enable most mobiles to automatically wipe all data after the passcode has been incorrectly entered a set number of times, adding an extra layer of protection.
  • Manage lost devices. Even better, remote management tools such as Find My iPhone, allow you to track, lock and even wipe a lost or stolen mobile remotely.

Remember though: once the SIM card has been removed from a phone and it is disconnected from any familiar networks, it’s no longer trackable, so make sure employees report their device missing as soon as possible.

But as long as any important data is behind a password-protected app or webpage rather than downloaded onto the device, there should be little to worry about.

2. Train your employees

One of the best defences against mobile security risks is education. Train your employees to always observe these rules:

  • Avoid unknown networks. Malicious Wi-Fi networks allow attackers to intercept any data you transmit across them. These networks can even fool security experts, so your employees should only ever access sensitive data via a password-secured network, which they know is safe.
  • Never jailbreak your phone. Some mobile users ‘jailbreak’ their phones so they can access otherwise incompatible apps and features from third-party providers. This makes the device extremely vulnerable to malware and unsuitable for use at work.
  • Manage your apps carefully. Your employees should only use apps that have been safety-verified by your IT team for work. Also remind them to keep their apps and operating systems up to date to minimise vulnerabilities.

3. Secure your mobiles

Nowadays, you’d think it was madness if a PC didn’t have any form of malware protection, yet MobileIron’s research shows that less than five percent of enterprises have deployed a mobile anti-malware solution.

As much as you train your staff and implement regulations, your data won’t be safe on mobile devices without an anti-malware mobile security system.

Pensar clients benefit from our Managed Web Security service. This cloud-based tool connects to any device, including mobiles, and allows monitoring of all network traffic and blocking of any potential threats remotely, before they become a problem.

Cyberattacks on the go

All too often, in the mad rush of anywhere working, we forget about the safety implications of using our mobiles for work: but that can be a costly oversight.

While it’s brilliant that we can hop on a train and access our work from the palm of our hand, allowing an attacker to do the same could stop your business in its tracks.