As more employees use their mobile devices in the workplace like never before, today companies large and small are becoming more security conscious on how to ensure that their sensitive information and network data remain safe.
The increase use of Smartphone’s, tablet computers and other personal devices that employees bring into the workplace and use for both personal and work purposes can potentially put companies at risk of accidental and intentional security breaches. But not only do employees’ personal mobile devices present a security risk to businesses, but also mobile devices that companies issue to employees for work purposes.
One of the major concerns of many companies is the potential of mobile devices with access to their network being lost or stolen. Network security experts say that companies should use passwords and data encryption as a preventative measure in protecting their valuable data. They also add that companies should have the ability to remotely wipe out company data on both company-issued mobile devices and employee personal work-used mobile devices that are lost or stolen.
Many surveys in the last couple of years have shown that most companies have existing policies in place for company issued mobile devices. The problem however is not all employees are aware of their company’s mobile security policy. Such lack of knowledge in itself can put the organization data at risk.
Companies can protect themselves better by annually reminding employees of their mobile device security policy. Whether it’s included in reminder messages via memo, email, or website, it’s important that employees are made aware that such policy exist. Company’s should also mention the existence of their mobile device policy during new employee orientations and provide information on where details of the policy can be found.
Employers also can protect themselves by taking inventory of what devices employees are currently using that have access to corporate data.
Many companies only allow network access to devices they issue because it gives them better control of the devices. Still, an increasing number of companies are allowing their employees to use their own mobile devices for work use. Although providing employees the freedom to use their personal mobile devices for work use may save companies on the costs, however, if those personal devices are not properly monitored and secured, it could potentially put the organization’s data at security risk.
However, companies are investing in software that allows them to monitor and add security protection to employees’ personal mobile devices. For example, some companies Information Technology staff use software programs that allow them to upgrade phone and web operating systems on mobile devices. Others also use software programs that can block download of certain programs and information on mobile devices. There are also software programs that can separate company’s information from employees’ personal content on their personal mobile devices, allowing the employer to control and secure its information or erase it remotely without touching an employee’s personal data.
As more companies add these and other software protections to both personal and company-issued mobile devices, they are becoming more willing to allow their employees to use their personal mobile devices for work purposes.
Businesses want to be secured that employees are not storing their highly sensitive data on their mobile devices. To protect from such potential risk, many companies are using virtual-desktop applications that allow employees to access the data they need but prevents them from saving the information to their mobile device.
Network security experts also say that companies should also use firewalls, encryption of data and passwords as basic ways of protecting their network.
Release of “trade secrets” and other proprietary data is a major worry for many employers. Companies large and small are struggling with how to adapt to the growing technology while ensuring their sensitive data remains secured. Whether it’s customer’s personal information, company financial data, strategic-planning documents or other valuable company documentation; the need to protect that information is critical as the use of new technology in the workplace grows.