4 Risks of Mobile Device Security in the Workplace

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People today are becoming more and more dependent on their smartphones and other mobile devices. No one thinks twice about checking email, text messages, and social media on smartphones and tablets wherever they happen to be. This includes employees, who often use their personal devices for business purposes. This can create quite a few security risks if you and your employees don't take the proper precautions.

Let's look at the top four mobile device security risks to be aware of today.

1. It's Easy to Steal a Mobile Device

When people think about security risks today, they often think of sophisticated hacking schemes. However, an easier way for someone to steal your data is to simply grab the device itself. With mobile devices, this is especially easy. A hacker who gains possession of a device won't be stopped by a password or encrypted data. So, the first line of defense is to make sure you and your employees guard their devices and don't leave them unattended.

2. WiFi Security Risks

Anytime you're communicating over a WiFi network, whether using a laptop, desktop, or mobile device, there's a risk of your communication being intercepted. It's especially important to be cautious when using public WiFi. Using a Virtual Private Network or VPN can safeguard data if you do business from an unsecured connection. Another way to increase safety is to only connect with websites that have SSL connections. Set your browser to "Always use HTTPS" option and avoid websites that don't offer HTTPS protection when browsing in public areas.

3. Malware and Device Attacks

Phishing attacks, malware, rogue applications and other types of malicious code pose a threat to mobile devices as much as desktops. Currently, Android users face the greatest risk but anyone who uses a mobile device needs to be cautious. Malware can be planted in ads and text messages. In some cases, such attacks are directed against the device itself. In such cases, the goal might be to gain control of the device to access its data or to launch a DDoS or distributed denial of service. Such attacks can be browser-based or sent via SMS/text message. It's essential that people are extremely cautious about responding to messages from unknown sources or clicking on any links that appear suspicious.

4. Employee Carelessness and Malicious Intent

Many security threats come from employees, either due to carelessness or from people with malicious intentions. As the technology changes int he workplace, it's important to make sure employees are trained to use secure passwords, not to leave their devices unattended and to exercise caution when downloading apps or clicking on website links. It's also sensible to prohibit downloading company data to personal devices. Another way to increase security is to limit system access to as few employees as possible. Only share passwords to people who truly need them and change passwords frequently.

As smartphones and tablets are used more frequently in the workplace, mobile device security is becoming a real concern to businesses. People are often less careful about their mobile devices than with computers. They might casually open texts, click on links, download apps, and engage in other potentially dangerous activities without giving thought to security. It's therefore crucial that business owners take the time to educate their employees and take sensible precautions to minimize these risks.

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John OwensComment