In the past year, we’ve seen an increase in the use of mobile devices, a phenomenon that can largely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Work from home arrangements have driven remote workers to rely more on their mobile devices, and it is now commonplace for them to switch between company-owned devices and their personal ones to do work-related tasks throughout the day. And while using mobile devices for work has its advantages, it also has a distinct disadvantage of increasing the likelihood of a data breach.
Predictably, cybercriminals have wasted no time in exploiting employees’ greater use of mobile devices. So if your IT infrastructure includes mobile phones or tablets, beware of the following risks:
Getting users to divulge sensitive information like login credentials requires less work and is less intrusive than hacking their accounts — and far more successful. About 98% of cyberattacks rely on social engineering schemes, which often involve phishing, baiting, and scareware. Mobile-based social engineering attacks may even be more dangerous, as users can’t hover over a link to see its complete URL as they could on a laptop or PC.
To ensure that your employees don’t fall for social engineering traps, educate them on the common tactics cybercriminals use to fish for information. Security awareness training, live-fire exercises, and regular security check-ins will also help keep them vigilant when it comes to receiving any suspicious message.
Mobile users may not be aware that their online behavior can put the company at risk. Even something as simple as transferring company files onto a personal account or a public cloud storage service can compromise data security. What’s more, users may also accidentally paste confidential info on social media or forward an email containing sensitive information to an unintended recipient.
To mitigate these risks, your company should look into mobile threat defense (MTD) solutions and data loss prevention (DLP) tools. These do not only protect your data from the exposure of sensitive information but they also make compliance a breeze.
Outdated mobile software
Malicious actors can take advantage of mobile software with a known security vulnerability to infiltrate your systems. This is why it’s critical that your workforce only uses up-to-date devices that run the latest versions of third-party applications.
The key to achieving this is to have strong mobile device policies that mandate and guide users on how to keep their devices updated. Your IT team should also coordinate with your remote workers to ensure that they are not using shadow IT, or IT systems, devices, or applications that are unapproved by your company's IT department. If anyone is using any form of shadow IT, these devices should be secured right away.
Physical device breaches
Due to their portability, device theft and device loss are two security threats that are unique to mobile devices. While the frequency of these risks may be relatively low, these threats remain disturbingly real. A lost or unattended device can pose a great security risk to your business, especially if it doesn't have strong user authentication protection and full data encryption. It’s also a cause for concern if the lost or stolen device belongs to an employee with a high privileged account.
Keep your information safe in the event of mobile device loss or physical theft by implementing multilayered protection. Lock your phone and use strong passcodes, PINs with at least six digits, or biometric authentication such as fingerprint or facial scans to keep unauthorized users out.
Always keep a recent backup of your phone as well, as this guarantees that you will have a copy of your data even if you no longer have physical access to your device. It’s also a good idea to invest in a mobile device management (MDM) solution. This software can geographically locate a specific device in case of loss or theft and wipe its data remotely to ensure corporate data safety.
Mobile devices can make workflows more efficient, but they also bring additional security risks to your business. Be protected against these risks by partnering with HERO Managed Services. We craft tailored IT solutions that increase productivity and efficiency while ensuring data security. Get your FREE IT consultation now.