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The Threat in Your Pocket: Mobile Security and Encryption

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One of the biggest security threats that people may not be aware of is found right in your pocket. You carry it around with you every day. Wondering what it is?

It’s your cell phone.

Mobile devices are becoming more and more ubiquitous for most people in their business and personal lives. In fact, leaving your cell phone behind can cause many people to feel positively untethered, yet cell phones and mobile devices can also create a big security risk for your business if you’re not aware of how to maintain their security.

There are several security threats that are presented by your cell phones and mobile devices. The first and perhaps most obvious is the physical threat of loss or theft. Other areas of risk include data security and network protection.

Physical Loss Prevention

Many people keep their most personal information on their phones. With the advent of apps like Square and other online mobile payment apps, this can even include payment information and access to bank accounts and lines of credit.

Your business information can be at risk too, from something as simple as the contact information for clients that can be misused by thieves, to access to your business systems when online apps for your business are in use on your mobile device.

How to protect yourself from these types of physical risk?

Password Protect: First, ensure that your cell phones and mobile devices are password protected. This is typically a simple step you can take in the settings of your device that will ensure that no one who does not have your password can access your phone or the data on it. As with any password, the security code should not contain any personally identifying information such as birthdays or anything else that could be easily guessed.

Turn on Self-Destruct Mode: Okay, we are not living in a Mission Impossible movie, so most of us do not have phones that will actually self-destruct. However, one feature that some phones and devices such as the Apple iPhone do have is “erase data.” If more than 10 unsuccessful password attempts are entered, this feature can erase all the data on your phone’s memory. If a phone is stolen this can prevent the thief from easily accessing your data. “Erase data” can be turned on from settings in the ID and passcode screen.

Data Security and Encryption

We’ve talked before about data encryption and what it means. But what a lot of business owners may not know is that encryption is not just for data on your personal desktop computer, but is also an important part of the security on many mobile devices.

With some devices such as the iPhone, data encryption is simply part of password protection. Any data on the phone is encrypted and cannot be accessed without the password. With other phones such as Android, there is also an additional step you can take to encrypt your data. This can normally be done from Settings and involves disk encryption, so may take some time for the process to be completed.

Network Security

Securing only your mobile device isn’t enough to protect your network from threats such as viruses and malware that may be harbored on your device itself. That’s why, in addition to securing your device, you also need to ensure that your network itself is protected.

In fact, network security experts say that managing device security from the network rather than at the device level is a more effective way to ensure that all the devices on your network are protected.

For instance, with Office 365, mobile devices can be managed at the network level using Mobile Device Management. Mobile Device Management lets system admins enroll devices on the network and set up security for them from the admin panel. Should a device be lost, it can be wiped via remote. Mobile Device Management also allows administrators to set up policies that can be applied to individual devices, or groups of devices to limit what kinds of apps can be downloaded to the device, and to provide enhanced security.

This is just a brief overview of mobile devices security and encryption. Do you have questions? Please send us a message and we’ll be happy to answer them on our blog in the near future!

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Thursday, August 16 2018

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