Smartphones are ubiquitous devices in the business world today given the estimated 6.6 billion smartphone users in 2022. With nearly 9 in 10 people across the globe equipped with smartphones, mobile security has become a paramount concern for every business leader. Over 57% of all web traffic was attributed to mobile phones in February of 2022, as more industries become firmly entrenched in a mobile-first approach for business.
According to the Verizon Mobile Security Index, 22% of small businesses experience a mobile-related compromise each year and 42% of those affected said the consequences were "major." Mobile security is an essential factor when determining an organization’s cybersecurity culture. Let’s explore mobile security risks and the best data protection measures you can implement to safeguard your company’s network.
Risks in the Mobile Environment
While mobile devices are convenient to the modern business leader, they also expose companies to new vulnerabilities and user data leaks. A few notable risks and cyber tactics include:
- Social engineering (including impersonation)
- Data leaks from malicious applications
- Unsecured public Wi-Fi networks
- Encryption gaps in data transmission
- Spyware, ransomware, and other forms of malware
- Weak passwords
- Stolen or hacked mobile devices
- Outdated and unsecured operating systems
Cybercriminals attack mobile devices to steal login credentials, access proprietary and user data, spy on your internal operations, and spread malware. Here are a few basic principles to help you improve your company’s mobile security:
Top Mobile Security Tips in 2022
You can safeguard your company’s network with these practical IT security measures:
1. Invest in Security Awareness Training
Knowledge is power. Train your team to recognize, avoid, and report social engineering attempts and other threats. Vigilance on all fronts will spill over into better mobile security and a more robust cybersecurity culture.
2. Encryption is Essential
IT security best practices recommend encrypting proprietary and user information in storage and data transmission. While some smartphones can encrypt the user’s storage, it is best not to rely solely on this feature. Data encryption ensures that no third party can access the data and also improves mobile security.
3. Set Strong Passwords
All stakeholders should password-protect their respective network access points. Avoid easy-to-guess passwords or those that contain memorable keyboard paths (like QWERTY). A strong password should be long (over eight characters), have upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Use our Password Generator to achieve strong passwords. A password manager may be helpful to protect multiple passwords with little user effort.
4. Secure the Gates with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Your company’s network is like a castle, and you need to secure the access points. Setting strong and unique passwords is just the initial step. MFA requires users to provide two or more verification items to enter your network. A strong MFA solution includes:
MFA enhances mobile security by reducing the possibility of unauthorized network access.
5. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) serves a much greater purpose than accessing geo-blocked content online. A VPN encrypts all connections (including those from mobile devices) to your company’s network, facilitating safe access and navigation. This encryption safeguards against data leaks and data breaches.
6. Minimize Downloads
Mobile users often download apps without considering the IT security implications. Advise your staff about the dangers of downloading potentially rogue applications.
7. Always Check App Permissions
What data can apps access when downloaded? It’s tempting to accept all app permissions, but that makes the device and your network vulnerable to attacks. Carefully consider all app permissions and avoid apps that could pose a threat.
8. Safeguard IMEI or MEID Numbers
The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) or Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) identifies and stores info about each mobile device. Never reveal or expose them, because cybercriminals can use these numbers to clone devices and hack connected networks.
9. Avoid Jailbreaking, Rooting, or Unlocking Smartphones
Avoid these activities to improve your mobile security:
- Jailbreaking: removes the limitations installed by the device manufacturer (and is mainly performed on Apple devices).
- Rooting: gains root or administrator access to the device (primarily Android).
- Unlocking: removes the lock to a specific phone carrier's network to enable connection to any carrier.
Although these are popular ways to “liberate” a phone’s system, they could make the device vulnerable to IT security threats or even inoperable.
10. Install Anti-Malware
Many people fail to secure their mobile devices - which presents an IT security challenge. Place anti-malware on all mobile devices for user data privacy and protection.
11. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Advise your staff to avoid public Wi-Fi on both their workstations and mobile devices as they could become vulnerable to several attacks. Also, turn off Wi-Fi auto-connect and Bluetooth discoverability settings for greater mobile security.
12. Perform Regular Backups
Finally, ensure mobile devices that access your company’s network backup regularly. In the event of theft or loss, user data is securely stored.
Greater IT Security with Net Friends
Leverage all the benefits of mobile technology while recognizing and managing the risks. Net Friends is your Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) offering customized solutions, such as policy development, to make your cybersecurity culture more robust. Contact us today to discuss your mobile security and overall IT security to safeguard your business processes.