Nobody really wants to think about security. For all you know, you’re spending thousands of hard-earned dollars to protect yourself from something that, probably, will never happen.
This reluctance to take preventative steps often leads to “peeking-through-the-fingers” decision making when it comes to important I.T. security considerations. One of the most overlooked (and most costly) aspects of your company’s digital security is mobile device management.
The natural thought process goes along the lines of, “I’ve already invested an amount X into my office hardware and cybersecurity, do I really need to spend an additional amount Y just to add extra security to smaller devices?”
Often enough, it can seem like the I.T. consultant across the table is just trying to sell you another one of their widgets. But in reality, it’s every bit as important make sure all of your “entrances” (i.e., the areas that hackers could possibly exploit) are covered (including mobile devices), as it is to spend on computer and network security.
There’s a very simple explanation. You see, not all cybersecurity attacks are highly-coordinated and sophisticated. In reality, the majority of cyber-attacks are investigative attempts to find flaws in your system. Think hoodlums throwing rocks at upper story windows just to see if they’ll break, not special ops units rappelling down a rope onto the roof from a helicopter.
However, what if those windows being targeted are closer to the ground and easy to reach, even for someone with a fairly weak throwing arm? What if the majority of your building is built of unprotected window glass?
That is exactly the case when important security details are omitted from the protection plan. You might have the most unbreakable firewall protecting your computers, but what good does it do if someone can find the password to your network through one of your employees’ phones?
If you think that’s not likely to happen, just remember someone can break into your phone in minutes by using the same Wi-Fi you are connected to while sipping a latte at your local coffee shop.
Why Are Mobile Devices Such a Big Threat?
We often hear arguments like, “But we don’t store passwords on mobile phones. Everything stays on the computers.”
Let us be clear on one thing that so often gets overlooked with cybersecurity: the weakest part of your company’s digital network is not the machines, but the humans. In the majority of break-in cases, the human factor plays a crucial rule.
The most primitive example of mobile phone threat to your cybersecurity is simply the device being stolen. Personal portable devices (phones, smartphones, laptops) are way easier to get access to rather than getting to an actual computer in your building behind multiple locked doors.
However, according to a report by Accenture, in 2016, as many as 50% of companies experienced device theft.
What’s more, the act of theft is often just the beginning of the story. The phones themselves do not always contain valuable information about the company, like passwords or bank account data.
Sure, sometimes employees will send each other network login information through the email, but that’s not the only way outside parties can make their way into your network.
The report also says that 40% of surveyed companies reported that their attacks included a malicious insider. What the report doesn’t say is that many of these insiders could have been acting against their own will.
See, in 2018, a person’s phone is basically a window into all areas of their lives. Their relationships are stored in messaging apps, their memories in the photo section, their most secret thoughts in the notebook app. And how is all of that precious information protected? All-too-often, by nothing more than a 4-digit passcode.
Personal information, without a doubt, can and is used to scare employees into assisting the ill-intended parties in getting access to your company’s vital information. And, if this is a problem even for companies like Sony, you can imagine the damage this could do to a small-medium sized business.
How Do You Protect Your Mobile Devices?
While the final decision is always custom-tailored based on your company’s challenges, needs, and specific situation, there are a few methodologies that are universally useful in protecting your company’s mobile asset security.
Endpoint security solutions, for example, are systems that continuously scan all of the file and user activity across all of your mobile devices for irregularities and malicious behavior. VPNs (virtual private networks) allow for encrypted remote connections through the internet.
Secure web gateways leverage the power of the cloud for contingency and additional security. Device registration, including installing device-management apps that allow you to remotely wipe the data from a phone that goes missing, are also excellent options. Even employee training programs make a big difference.
There are many technologies that can make your mobile network more secure, and even more methodologies on how those technologies can be used. Get in touch with us, and we’ll help you navigate through the options and find a mobile device management solution that is right for you.