How much time do you spend on your mobile device? A recent study shows that Albertans spend an average of ten hours a day looking at a screen. The category screen includes computers, laptops, TVs, cell phones, and other mobile devices. Between work and play, the majority of our day involves being online in some form or another. Three out of those ten hours were spent on mobile devices, creating a high probability that many individuals complete tasks for work on their mobile devices.
While checking emails and uploading files on your phone is convenient, you might be putting your business network and data at risk. Let’s look at the top 3 ways your mobile device is a security risk and what to do about it.
Problem: We’ve covered the issues with weak passwords before, but it’s worth repeating. Weak passwords are a security risk for both your employee’s personal data and your company’s data. Just as our daily activities get easier with new developments in software and technology, so do the activities of cyber criminals. The more complex a password is, the harder it is for hacking algorithms to break in.
Cyber attacks will target weak passwords because they are easier to solve and require less time and effort. With so many people frequently reusing their weak passwords in several locations, it often only takes one account to be compromised to put a significant amount of data at risk.
One major risk for companies is when employees use weak passwords for their work accounts, such as their email. If cybercriminals can crack their email password, they can potentially use that information to pose as that individual and gain access to more sensitive information.
Solution: Companies cannot control how their employees choose their passwords for accounts not related to work, but they can invest in education and training. The more the issue of data protection and password security is discussed, the more likely they will be carried over into secure practices in personal internet activities.
For official work purposes, business owners can require their teams to choose complex passwords and change them regularly. Secure password managers can help select difficult passwords without the challenge of remembering them all or the risk of employees writing them down and storing them somewhere less secure.
Another step you and your employees can take to help protect login information is to enable multi-factor authentication for apps and programs. Requiring verification from your phone or email to access your accounts adds another layer of protection from cyber-attacks.
Problem: Malware is not only a problem for desktop computers and laptops. It’s also an increasing problem for mobile phones and tablets. How does it work? In many cases, the malware gains access to your device through fake or infected apps downloaded from your app store of choice. The damage these malicious software programs can cause ranges from showing a constant stream of ads, to draining your battery power, to stealing your personal information and identity.
Solution: The best way to avoid malicious software is to pay close attention to the apps you download onto your device. Check the rating for the app and the reviews. When you install an app, you can pay close attention to what information the app requests access to. If you’re downloading a game app and it wants access to your SMS or text messages, that might be a red flag. If any permission requests seem suspicious, your best option is to deny access and uninstall the app.
Another strategy is to install a virus protection or malware scanning app on your phone. If you’re using a cyber security program for your computer already, you will likely have access to that company’s app version for mobile devices.
Problem: Think of all the places in a week where you might use your cell phone. Most of those places will offer a form of free, publicly available WIFI. It might be convenient to Tweet your thoughts while waiting in line at Tim Hortons, but if you’re checking your work email and using the unsecured network, you’re potentially exposing your personal information to anyone spying on that network.
It may seem as though it is a minimal risk, but when you account for the number of insecure networks available and the number of employees you have, the risk of conducting work activities on vulnerable networks increases significantly.
Solution: Your best solution to counter this security risk is to educate your staff. You can incorporate details about when and where your employees should be accessing company data into a Bring Your Own Device policy. The more you discuss the issue, the more likely your team will understand the importance of secure networks and be less likely to use public WIFI for business purposes. When those urgent emails need to be answered for company files that need to be accessed, you and your team can switch their device to mobile data to maintain privacy.
Cyber Security Professionals in Edmonton, Alberta
The world of cyber security is constantly evolving. You can keep your business informed and on top of the latest threats by working with Alt-Tech Inc. for cyber security and IT management. Contact us to see how we can help keep your business protected.