Issues in Mobile Data Security
Enterprise mobile technology has led to an exponential increase in data transmission from every corner of the globe. The use of larger and varied networks transmitting more information from more devices appears, on the surface, to be a security nightmare. Essentially, the worst case scenario of enterprise networks can be reduced to a dystopian security nightmare of countless employees using infinite devices with sensitive company information on them, transmitting data over unsecured networks. And that's not including the very real possibility of your employees losing their phone/tablet/laptop.
Security has always been a concern
While the sheer amount of data being transmitted daily has increased exponentially in recent years, the general concern about business security is nothing new. As long as there have been people utilizing any sort of mass production tools in the industry, there has been a risk of sensitive data walking out of the door. It's a fact of doing business, and no matter what anyone says it will always be that way. This is not to say that your company should just throw up their hands in frustration and allow a completely hands-off approach to your security. Even in acknowledging that data is always less than secure, modern businesses can (and should) take some steps that can make their data more secure.
Ask yourself the following question to determine the best course of action for your company:
How can a modern company protect itself?
A company looking to protect its data can take several cues from governmental organizations and their security protocols. Due to their need for extremely secure data transmissions, governmental organizations regularly lead the way in technology and mobile security. As findings from a survey conducted by CDW-G, the graph above illustrates the primary security measures that many government entities employ as part of their mobile device security strategy. Even though most businesses do not have the budget nor the infrastructure to incorporate high-level government styled security protocols, there are other, more affordable and realistic policies that can be used to secure your data.
Establish mobile data encryption standards or implement policies to keep sensitive data off mobile devices. If sensitive information has to be used on mobile devices, keep all personally identifiable information on centralized servers and away from mobile devices in the field.
Avoid malware infections on mobile devices by installing permissions and anti-virus tools. Also, make an effort to train employees on solid mobile web safe practices, by making sure they are aware of the tell-tale signs of data phishing sites and making sure your employees won't (or can't) install malware goes a long way in keeping your data secure.
On BYOD-friendly networks, consider allowing your employees to only use their devices for non-sensitive information services. Even if your organization doesn't want to go that far, definitely develop and implement policies of proper usage of company data on personal devices.
Create a stream-lined credentialing process for your mobile workers to use when logging in to your networks.
Ultimately, data security, in all forms, will always be an issue. The real concern for an effective business is to make sure that neither your security policies, nor lack thereof, causes your clients to lose faith in your organization. A lack of faith leads to a lack of patronage, which is exactly what you don't want to happen.
Work towards establishing a solid security strategy by first reviewing your current practices and identifying areas for improvement. Then implement a plan to initiate improvements based around your business priorities.