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5 Mobile Security Steps to Take Now to Protect Your Business

By Marco Nielsen, VP, Managed Services, Stratix Corporation

Marco Nielsen, VP, Managed Services, Stratix Corporation

With cyber threats on the rise, the question isn’t really if you’ll get hacked—it’s how you’ll respond when it happens.

The logistics sector is using mobile to drive new levels of productivity and efficiency throughout the enterprise. With the correct tools, companies can track and trace shipments in the field, offer real-time delivery confirmations, and use voice picking anywhere in the distribution center.

"Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and corporate-owned programs have different requirements, so it’s important to understand the differences before choosing your mobile security route"

Unfortunately, mobile also comes with security risks, from outside threats to rogue employees who can compromise your data. About 56 percent of enterprises say it’s unlikely that they would be able to detect a sophisticated attack, according to EY. Gartner estimated in 2014 that a shocking 75 percent of mobile applications would fail basic security tests over the next year.

There are many aspects to consider when developing a mobile security strategy, from operating systems to applications to traffic. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and corporate-owned programs have different requirements, so it’s important to understand the differences before choosing your mobile security route. Focus on these five areas to build a robust mobile security strategy:

1. Secure and Filter Data Traffic.

Could a single Facebook scam compromise your company’s systems? The answer is... maybe.

If your employees access social media channels on their devices, you could be more vulnerable to cyber attacks. In response, many enterprises restrict access to social media or other websites where cyber threats lurk. Luckily, there are many products available to audit and monitor data traffic.

Several products can monitor and filter all data traffic to and from the mobile device. That means instead of just blacklisting a specific application, like Facebook, you can block or monitor all Facebook data traffic so other avenues can’t be used, such as the Facebook web site. Businesses can also invest in products to compress and limit data usage on mobile devices.

2. Protect your Devices

Malware isn’t just for desktops anymore: All types of platforms are susceptible to viruses today, including iOS and Android. There was a 153 percent increase in the number of unique Android malware samples and 70,000 total unique iOS malware samples in 2015, according to the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Cyber Risk Report 2016. Fortunately, businesses can invest in anti-malware screening to identify and contain cyber threats before they turn into problems.

Many of these threats come from fishy applications, so make sure your business is using trustworthy app vendors to avoid installing anything suspicious on your organization’s mobile devices. For added protection, install third-party tools to scan the source code of your apps continuously.

3. Consider a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Who’s eavesdropping on your conference call? The reality is that it’s pretty simple to listen in on wireless devices. Bad access points are also risky: If your driver ducks into a coffee shop and logs onto your website or a social media site, a hacker can easily spoof a network and gain unauthorized access.

A VPN helps to ensure security for all communication between mobile devices and the enterprise. This security measure encrypts data and requires stricter authentication for users before they access applications or services. Some enterprises also use access point names (APNs), a carrier feature, to protect data that travels to and from the company. In addition, there are options to encrypt voice and text message traffic that might be important for certain high-level employees or departments.

4. Take Extra Precaution for BYOD Environments

While BYOD offers flexibility and lets you leverage assets your workers already own, it comes with increased risks. If your employees use their own phones or tablets at work, one rogue third-party app can wreak havoc on your security and allow unauthorized access to your company’s information. One option is to have separate containers on the device that workers log into, housing all company applications and data in a secured space.

5. Don’t Forget Your Other Smart Devices

Connected fleets are the next big thing in logistics, thanks to the Internet of Things. These smart vehicles can monitor fuel usage, help drivers prevent collisions and more, but they also make security more complex.

Smart devices are often poorly secured and vulnerable. Last year, hackers used security cameras to create a large denial-of-service attack that brought down large pieces of the Internet. Something similar could easily happen within your own networks. Anyone remember the SQL Slammer worm from 2003? Make sure your Wi-Fi access points are secure and establish multiple security levels to protect critical systems. Several network access control (NAC) solutions also support mobile devices.

Keep your Data Secure with Managed Mobile Services

Creating an effective security strategy takes time and resources, but the alternative—letting hackers make off with your customers’ credit card information or company trade secrets—is too big a risk to take.

A managed mobile services provider can help you design a security plan that works with your devices, operating systems and company goals. MMS providers also offer consistent monthly spending and the ability to spread out security investments over multiple years, providing financial as well as mobile security.