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Rise of the Mobile Computing Machines

Mobile computing comes with some serious security risks. Limit the exposure of your small business with these simple steps.

The world of small business is on the move — literally. Gone are the days when you could operate a corner store and rely on nothing more complex than “location, location, location” to drive business.

Today, your company most likely travels with you via laptop, tablet and phone, which raises an interesting question: How can you lock up the store when your store encircles the globe and extends into the cloud?

Good news: plenty of costly corporate mistakes have paved the way for some best practices in mobile security. Follow these simple steps to limit your company’s mobile risk in a matter of hours.

Secure Passwords to Go

It seems simple, but a staggering number of mobile devices are still not password-protected. Plenty of software exists to secure every class of device, from iOS to Android to BlackBerry. Many of these let you choose between passwords, pass codes, image keys and even facial recognition. When deployed in tandem with auto-lock, this basic step can save your company untold headaches.

Encryption Counts

There’s an even better way to hide the sensitive data on your mobile device: encrypt it. Plenty of cheap software is available to encode your documents and spreadsheets into undecipherable gibberish, ensuring that they can’t be cracked without an appropriate key. Install this software onto every device in your company, and remind your employees frequently.

Mobile Antivirus Software

Phones were once considered the final frontier of malware-free computing, but today that era merely seems quaint. Viruses, worms and other baddies have crawled into the mobile space, infecting every major operating system out there. The solution: download a lightweight, mobile antivirus program that offers regular scans, and checks all of your downloads. You’ll be glad you did.

“This Device Will Self-Destruct in 10…”

There’s one more way to secure a mobile device that has fallen into the wrong hands: the remote wipe. You might call this the “nuclear” option — a command you send from another computer that tells your device to essentially destroy itself. Everything gets erased: documents, apps, messages. If you’ve adopted a good backup solution, you should have copies ready elsewhere, leaving your would-be digital assailant without anything of substance.

Some more advanced protocols are worth your research as well, including virtual private networks (VPNs) and digital certificates. But the vast majority of SMB hacks are unsophisticated enough that these simple steps will foil them. Just remember to keep your software updated and your workforce informed, both about your policies and about any threats that may emerge.

A little caution is all it takes to keep your business mobile and secure.

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