In an ideal world, nobody would have to bother with security. Unfortunately, with new breaches and data leaks and vulnerabilities popping up seemingly every other day, security is not something you can afford to ignore. Furthermore, mobile security introduces another layer of concern – mobile devices operating in the wild, beyond the safety of the corporate network. Little wonder that security is the biggest barrier organizations face in pursuing mobility solutions1, and an easy rationale for pushing innovation off until the next quarter or fiscal year.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Security is a risk that can be prepared for and defended against. It’s a concern that, with the proper mechanisms and safeguards in place, can be managed. Let’s take a look at some of today’s mobile security concerns, as well as steps you can take to head them off.
The most fundamental level of mobile security is the physical security of the device itself. Mobile devices are far easier to steal, misplace or leave somewhere than their more stationary counterparts. It’s exceedingly rare for a business traveler to experience the sinking realization that they’ve left their desktop in the back of a cab, but it happens every day with tablets, laptops and smartphones.
Security locks can go a long way to deter outright theft, and if you’re going to be deploying mobile devices in an environment where they may “walk off”, such as a hospital or retail store, it’s certainly worthwhile to insist on business-grade devices, as most consumer tablets and phones lack the requisite security slot.
Of course, locks will be perfectly useless at preventing distracted employees from leaving devices in cabs, airport lounges and all manner of places. That’s why it’s critical to have a solid mobile device management system in place. This allows IT to remotely locate, erase, and even completely brick lost devices. More advanced systems can brick various devices even when they’re powered off, and feature mobile interfaces that let administrators do what needs to be done anywhere, at any time, from the office to the sidelines of little league games.
Ultimately the ability to move fast and brick things can be the difference between a lost device and a security breach. But what happens when an employee doesn’t or can’t report a missing device, or when it’s being threatened by other means?
That’s where data security comes in.
Data security is all about protecting the data on the device and accessed by the device, and it takes a couple of forms to prevent unauthorized access and defend against various cyberattacks. On the software side, security can run the gamut from login credentials to OS-level encryption, VPN use for secure communications on public networks, and the security capabilities built into individual apps.