Safe to Move About the Office: Mobile Security in the Workplace
By Bruce Harmon, Ph.D., University Program Director of Computer Science
Working at home and on-the-go is easier than ever thanks to mobile devices like smartphones, computer tablets and laptops. Even at work, professionals use mobile devices to make work easier and more accessible.
Although mobile devices give professionals more freedom, they come with greater risks than desktop technology. Mobile devices are easier to lose or steal, certainly. They can also easily copy confidential data. That data can be vulnerable when the mobile device connects to an unsecured wireless network or downloads mobile malware.
So how do information technology professionals address the security risks involved with mobile technology? Here are some strategies they use to keep company data secure.
Making sure your phone or tablet locks with a password is the most basic – and obvious – step to take to keep your device secure. Although you might not opt to use a password on your phone, you may not have a choice if your workplace has a BYOD, or “bring your own device,” policy. IT administrators often require employees to use passcodes on their personal or work-issued phones. This measure protects confidential information such as can be found in work email in case a phone falls into the wrong hands.
Limiting Local Data
A good way to keep confidential data safe is to limit or regulate what users can store on their mobile device. Instead of keeping files on the device, users can access data on a remote server. IT professionals require employees to log in to view their files on the server, protecting the data from unauthorized users.
Downloading Security Applications
IT administrators sometimes create policies that require employees to install security applications on their devices. Usually, one of these applications is anti-virus software to protect the device from mobile malware. An application often put on BYOD phones allows the company to remotely wipe all of the data off the phone in case it is lost or stolen.
Take measures to improve security on your mobile devices by doing the following:
• Protect your data by using a password on all of your devices
• Don’t respond to text messages from unknown numbers
• Download apps directly from iTunes or Google Play to avoid malware
• Set your firewall to deny all incoming connections, especially when you’re connected to a public wireless network
Protecting devices takes a few smart moves before you can rest easier. Safeguard your mobile assets, and be safe to move about the office.
Bruce Harmon, Ph.D., is the university program director of Computer Science at Colorado Technical University. He earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University. He earned a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering at the United States Air Force Academy. After nine years in the Air Force, he worked in defense and later at top-tier commercial companies for 17 years both in research and executive leadership positions. Learn why he’s IN.
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