Most small business owners know about the high likelihood of a cyberattack on their smartphone or other mobile device. Half of small companies surveyed recently by internet security company Webroot acknowledged that they were vulnerable to a mobile breach.
Small businesses are a favorite target of cybercriminals because they usually don’t have the same security resources as larger companies. And because business owners rely on mobile devices to run their businesses, these breaches give criminals access to sensitive financial and customer information.
The good news is that it has never been easier to protect your business. Here’s how:
Use Built-In Controls
Putting safeguards on your phone helps make it less vulnerable to external threats. Implement the following protections from your phone’s or apps’ settings menu:
• Strong password controls. You are likely aware of the importance of strong and varied passwords. If you struggle to create and remember these, use a service that does it for you, such as Dashlane or LastPass.
• Two-factor authentication. Enable this security measure to verify your identity with a username and password as well as another login element, such as a one-time code or email verification link.
• Updated operating systems. Upgrading to the newest version of the operating system patches up bugs and vulnerabilities that could leave your device prone to hacking attempts.
Limited Access for Your Apps
It’s easy to give the apps you download access to certain information on your phone, such as your location, contacts, photos, microphone or camera. Some apps need this data — your navigation app isn’t very useful without knowing your location, for example — but granting unnecessary permissions can put your business at risk. If one of your apps becomes compromised, the sensitive information it contains could fall into the hands of criminals.
Take a look at app permissions by going into your settings and tapping on each one individually. Ask yourself what each app needs to function properly and turn off the rest. For instance, a financial management app would not require access to your microphone to work.
Enable Encryption for More Security
A stolen or lost phone can quickly become a disaster if your data is not protected or backed up. By encrypting your phone, you ensure the information on it is scrambled until you enter a preset passcode. This prevents hackers from being able to automatically access your information in the event your phone is lost or stolen.
If you have a passcode on your iPhone’s lock screen, your phone is automatically encrypted. For Androids, you can enable encryption in your settings. You can also use storage encryption to securely back up important information on another device.
Another line of defense is enabling remote wipe in your settings so that your device will delete its data if you flag it as stolen or if someone incorrectly guesses your passcode too many times.
Be Wary of Wi-Fi
You use Wi-Fi to go online, but thieves can use it to gain access to your phone. The security of unknown Wi-Fi networks is never guaranteed, and any vulnerabilities could lead to hackers getting your login credentials and obtaining sensitive information.
Use these best practices surrounding Wi-Fi to stay safe:
• Switch off your phone’s Wi-Fi capability when you aren’t using it to stop your phone from automatically joining a network that might put you at risk.
• When entering passwords or other sensitive information such as credit card numbers, make sure you’re using your cellular data, which is already encrypted, rather than an outside Wi-Fi network.
• Confirm the legitimacy of any public Wi-Fi networks you connect to by asking a staff member or administrator to reaffirm the network’s exact name and its password requirements.
Building a security plan can help ensure that you protect your phone and your company. If you have questions about backing up your data or otherwise protecting your device, ask a cell phone repair service for help.