Mobile Devices: How to Be Proactive About Potential Breaches
Keep your network secure and your mobile workforce productive.
Are you tiring of users continuously badgering you to get corporate network access for their mobile devices? Does your corporate management want to buy tablets for the sales team? If so, your small- to medium-sized business (SMB) needs to start proactively addressing mobile security breaches such as malware.
Modifying your existing security policies and protocols, establishing new policies and educating your mobile workforce are economically sound frontline solutions for securing your corporate enterprise and trade secrets.
Here are some tips on how to address mobile device security breaches beforethey happen:
Establish corporate information access guidelines. It’s important to pre-determine how mobile device users will access corporate information. Will users download data to devices? Will they access the data remotely? The answer will vary from company to company, so be sure to consider your situation uniquely. If your company has to be in compliance with a regulatory body like PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), then consult with your auditor before enabling network access to mobile devices.
Establish device control policies. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) can be full of benefits like saving on corporate hardware purchases and increasing productivity for your mobile workforce and SMB. However, the negatives can outweigh all those positives when a BYOD device brings malware into your network. Create a policy that governs how your corporate IT staff can gain control over a personal device, while maintaining your network security. Include information about how to keep personal information private (e.g., via a mobile device backup strategy that doesn’t touch personal data) and define corporate ownership over data and applications.
Enforce device-level security. Both corporate-owned and personal devices should have secure passwords and screen locks; document this requirement in your mobile device policies. In addition, make sure it’s clear that both personal and corporate mobile devices maintain up-to-date corporate-approved (and preferably corporate-managed) antivirus and security software installed to guard against malware and other security risks.
Develop and deliver mobile workforce security training. Education can be just as powerful a security tool as technology. Develop and deliver mobile workforce security training built around keeping your mobile workforce productive and prepared to be the first line of defense against malware and other security threats to their mobile devices. Spell out your corporate policies and include a participant sign-off stating that they understand and will abide by the policies.
Determine deal breakers for your mobile device policies. In establishing mobile security policies – regardless of your industry – there are going to be deal breakers when you have to deny certain user requests. Deal breakers might include devices not running the current version of its OS, or they may be jail broken. There should also be a defined escalation path for deal breakers so the denial can be dealt with in an official manner with reasons formally documented in your mobile device security policies.
Let your business drive mobile device security policies and training. Remember to let your own business requirements and culture drive the policies, training and other upfront work you do to support your mobile workforce when it comes to mobile device security and access.
Finally, realize that the threat landscape is ever changing and you will need to continually revisit your mobile device security policies, training, procedures and tools.