Giving your employees smartphones with corporate mobile plans makes communication and sharing data easier. But keep in mind that smartphones are just like computers; they are open to different types of cyberattacks.
It is important to take precautions in protecting company data, so here are a few tips to keep your corporate devices as safe and secure as possible.
1. Analyze your existing devices
Keep tabs on the devices that you hand out to your employees.
Create a database which lists the devices allocated to each employee, the OS version installed, and usage. If you have subscriptions to different packages, you may also need to indicate the business postpaid package and other details as needed.
Formulate a questionnaire that looks into your employees’ usage. You might need to ask if they own other devices or if they travel regularly. This will give you an idea of the potential security risks that each employee may encounter while carrying and using their business phones.
2. Create a list of best practices
There are plenty of software and tools available on the market designed to increase mobile device security. Some of them can help make your smartphone, tablet or other mobile devices even more secure. However, they can be rendered useless if the individual owners themselves are unaware of how to use the tools or their devices properly.
Create a guide that your employees can refer to regarding what they should and shouldn’t do to keep their mobile device secure. A basic guide on best practices or business mobile device use dos and don’ts will ensure that all your employees are aware of what they need to do while using their company-issued handsets.
You may need to find a way to remind your staff about these tips from time to time and update the list when needed. By doing so, following these best practices ccan become a routine and a habit for your staff and executives.
3. Reduce access to unnecessary apps
Some of your employees may use the smartphone you have provided for both business and personal purposes. For the individual, integrating everything in one device makes it easier to access documents and apps as well as complete tasks. On the other hand, installing more apps increases security risks as well.
One way to minimize such risks is to limit user access to apps not related to the business or their job role. This will force your employees to only use their business phone for work-related tasks.
Look for mobile device management or MDM software that will allow you to restrict the use of non-business apps. However, by placing too many restrictions, you may also unwittingly place a limit on what your employees can accomplish at work using your phone.
The key here is to strike a balance between restriction and allowance — your employees need to know what valuable business (and personal) data can be stolen or tampered with if they commit any careless act such as downloading a seemingly harmless app or opening an unsolicited email without checking first what it is or what others say about it online.
If there is too much confidential information at stake, what you can do is to totally restrict business mobile use to work-related tasks, and your employees can just carry on using their personal mobile phone units for their personal phone-related activities.
4. Install antivirus and security tools
Mobile antivirus tools may not be as rich in features as their PC counterparts but having one is better than none at all.
Check your mobile devices if they have a built-in antivirus. If not, look for one that offers malware protection, data backup and remote wiping features. Depending on your business needs, you may need to look for devices that have additional security features as well.
5. Update your mobile OS and apps
Both the Android and iOS mobile operating systems release regular updates. These updates are designed to add features, improve existing ones or fix bugs. App developers do the same.
Always keep all the OS apps on your business devices updated.
Install the latest OS and apps on all company devices before you distribute them to your employees.
Once you have distributed the devices, it may become more difficult to ensure they are updated. On your list of best practices, you can remind your employees to keep the business apps and mobile OS updated especially since they will be getting periodic notifications of these anyway.
Hackers are always looking for security loopholes that they can use to steal user information. No device is impenetrable, but by following these tips, you and your staff can make it harder for hackers to steal both personal and company data.
Al-moottil P Antony
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.