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Mobile Devices: How They Can Affect the Security of Your Business

Gone are the days where the biggest threats to security only existed on your computer – when Spyware ran silently in the background, phishing stole private data and viruses wreaked havoc on computer systems. Whilst these types of attacks haven’t changed, with mobile phones and tablets used more today than ever before, cybercriminals are now targeting mobile devices more often.

Even with this in mind, one of the most overlooked aspects of a company’s security relates to the integration of mobile devices. There are many ways mobile devices and remote connectivity can put your business in danger, so understanding these security vulnerabilities is crucial for protecting your systems and in turn, your intellectual property and corporate data.

Why Do Mobile Devices Pose Such a Risk?

Smartphones and tablets have become as essential to businesses in recent years as computers.  There are many benefits associated with what is now coined the “Modern Workspace”, one aspect of which includes mobile working – it enables employees to access corporate systems from anywhere, at any given time, helps reduce travel costs and improves employee’s work-life balance.

While the benefits are clear, this flexible working environment can also present a problem. Every mobile device with a connection to your business systems – whether in the office or on the cloud – is potentially vulnerable to attack, exposing the information that is vital to your daily commerce. Multiply that by the number of smartphones, tablets and laptops employees use on a daily basis, and it is not difficult to see the risk for a serious cyber-problem in your business. In many cases, the number of mobile devices connected to the corporate wireless network exceeds those PC’s mandated for business use.

Even with the greatest security measures installed, human error plays a huge part. Millions of smartphones, tablets and laptops go missing each year, creating a considerable security problem for companies that must walk a fine line between the added efficiency of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, and the desire to prevent data breaches. With more than three-quarters of all business owners recognising the need for mobile devices to keep productivity high, it’s important that these devices are treated just as seriously as the desktop computers back at the office.

Mobile Specific Risks

There are a number of misconceptions when it comes to smartphones – official app stores are safe, iOS can’t get viruses, apps from trusted brands are safe, mobile device management (MDM) is enough, but in reality, smartphones are just as, if not more, susceptible to cyberattacks. Two threats specific to mobile phones are:

SMS

SMS attacks ultimately come down to the installation of malware or stealing login credentials. Smishing (an SMS-based form of phishing), is a common approach whereby attackers socially engineer victims into installing malicious software onto their device or unknowingly sharing their sensitive data.

Apps

App leaks are an issue that have been at the forefront of recent news. Many companies, even well-known global tech giants, have no measures in place to understand and prevent data leaks on their mobile devices that can happen even by using seemingly trustworthy, mainstream apps. On top of downloading apps from official sources, companies need to be wary of employees downloading apps from unofficial or unknown sources. These have the ability to compromise security features, opening up the device to new potential threats.

Investing in Mobile Security

With cyber-security threats, mobile usage and attacks targeting businesses continually on the rise, it is important to acknowledge that cyber criminals are turning their attention to mobile devices as an easy way in to an otherwise secure corporate network. Businesses need to invest in mobile security solutions to make sure that their corporate network and data is secure. There are a variety of technologies and programs that can help keep your network more secure, even in the presence of mobile devices. From endpoint security solutions, teleworker-enabled firewalls, secure Guest Wi-Fi systems, to VPNs and cloud-based web filtering, it is important that any security solution be custom-designed based on the specific needs and challenges of your business.

Mobile devices in business offer benefits and are clearly here to stay. The key is finding the right blend that enables employees to be productive at work and offer flexibility without hindering security. Is mobile security something you are worried about in your workplace? Contact the experienced team at Interscale, the leaders in IT support services Melbourne businesses know and trust. Call us today on 1300 205 999 or contact us online.