Mobile Security in an Increasingly Digitally Dangerous World

Mobile security for business users is even more worrisome than it is for
individuals. Why? Because there’s so much more at stake.

The threat for mobile devices is a difficult one to wrestle with, because it is connected to so many other features, like the phone, access to banking apps, company intranet logins and VPN logons.

In this article, we shed a bright light on mobile security, what it is, why it’s needed and procedures to help companies protect digital devices better.

Mobile Security in Different Form Factors

Some companies provide smartphones or tablets to employees. They usually remain the company’s property and must be returned at the point that the employee leaves the company or is terminated.

There are also smartphones and tablets that are owned by employees which can access the company’s network when on the premises or outside of it over a Wi-Fi connection.

Companies deal with a difficult situation with mobile security first and foremost because they don’t control all devices. This is different to the PCs that are in the office at all times. The IT department can remotely access these and make any security updates or scans that are required to verify there are no security threats. However, with third-party mobile devices owned by employees, suppliers and clients, they cannot do this.

Educating Employees on Cyber Security

It is advisable that all employees who are using a company’s mobile devices or network should go through a security briefing. The device is provided once it has passed the latest security threats to start from a good position.

For employees who use their own devices to log into the company’s network, companies don’t have the right to access their device to make it more secure. So, it’s up to the business whether they restrict the use of third-party devices or enter a co-operative agreement with users who wish to do so.

While no security situation is perfect, by educating the people who wish to access the company’s network with a mobile device, you can all do your best to find a solution.

Physical Best Practices for Mobile Devices

Best practices for mobile device use can provide a useful starting point to keep everyone safer.

First, people need to get used to the idea of locking their device when it’s not in use. Surprisingly, not everyone does this. The security of Apple’s iPhone has been improved since the introduction of Touch ID and Face ID, but Android mobile devices don’t always have a fingerprint ID, especially the budget models. Even with keypad unlock that can be a pain to use, it’s still important to always lock the device.

Second, never leave the device unattended unless it’s in your home. Don’t put it down on a coffee table in a hotel’s lobby, on the bar while sipping on a beer or on the passenger seat of your car (lock it in the trunk if you’re not planning to take the phone or tablet with you). Even worse, don’t leave a device both unattended and unlocked.

Third, be self-aware. Take note of shoulder surfers who are keen to spot your key code as you enter it or who may be using their phone either behind you or at the side of you to record your entries. Even if you’re partially covering your phone’s display, they can guess from finger movements.

Always Update your Device

Keeping your mobile device updated is very important. The Google Play store is there for a reason! Updates sometimes provide new features, but more often than not, they have bug fixes and plug known security holes. This is especially important, because hackers can exploit these security holes to gain access and sometimes complete control of your mobile device.

While you can run into occasional problems with updating due to storage limitations, there are still things that can be done to get around that.

If you don’t have space to update all relevant apps, update the Google ones supporting core services first, including the Play Store app itself. Also, look at which apps you no longer need or use often enough to keep them installed on your device. Uninstalling these can create enough space to update critical apps that shouldn’t be left with updates outstanding. Also, look at what is being stored as data on the internal drive.

Google Moves to Integrate Android Updates into the Play Store

The issue with Google Android updates is often that they don’t come through fast enough. This can lead to the operating system itself having to curious security vulnerability.

When a plain, vanilla Android O/S experience is provided, as is the case with brands like Nokia, the security updates tend to flow through monthly. However, when it’s a proprietary front-end being used, like TouchWiz from Samsung, updates are slower, and budget Droid devices might not even get them.

Google is trying to resolve at least some of this by making the new Android Q O/S version come with updates baked into the Play Store. That’s good news for companies that want a less hands-on security experience with Android devices in the future.

Learning About Security

If you’re someone interested in security, whether you enjoy it or are concerned about your lack of knowledge, taking an online masters in cyber security from ECU is the best approach to learning more about it. The course offers not only information about mobile security but all types of security aspects to provide a complete, in-depth overview that will enable you to work in this field. Edith Cowan University is highly-rated as an educational establishment that has been offering cyber security courses for over a decade, so their faculty know what they’re talking about.

Android and mobile device security is extremely important. While it does affect individual users, it is also highly relevant to companies that either own mobile devices issued to employees or see them used on their network. Staying on top of mobile security is now just as important as security issues for the company’s office computers.