Modern Mobile Security with Old-School Thinking

We have some bad news for your mobile device: Hackers, spies and thieves are eyeing it as their next target. And because your phones and tablets are key to operating your business, this is bad news for your business, too.

Now for the good news: thieves may have found a new target, but they’re generally using the same old strategies. Everything you’ve learned about protecting your PC still applies in the mobile realm. As The New York Times put it, “The most practical rule for protecting yourself is to start thinking of the smartphone as a PC.”

Here’s how that translates into some common-sense ways to protect your phone.

Set Up Your Devices for Maximum Security

Just as you would with your PC, you should take full advantage of your mobile device’s built-in security system.

  • Resist the urge to disable your device’s passcode locking system. The same goes for other security settings on your phone or tablet and the programs you use it for. Passwords and pop-up blockers might feel inconvenient in the moment, but they’re a lot less trouble than a hacker or Trojan horse.
  • Enable your mobile browser’s privacy and security settings, just as you would with your PC. Then update the device’s operating system regularly to get the security patches that protect against new threats.
  • Finally, think about how your employees are using their phones and tablets at work. If you have multiple users handling sensitive data, consider signing up for a mobile management/security service through the cloud.

Avoid Setting Yourself Up for Security Breaches

Most hacking occurs when the victim launches a bad program or activates a suspect email. Clearly, hackers are counting on you to slip up.

  • Do not respond to texts or open emails from unknown senders. In particular, be on guard for fraudulent messages that claim to be from your provider and ask you to supply personal information, authorize access to your account, or change your settings.
  • Take care when visiting unfamiliar websites and downloading programs and apps. Avoid free knockoff versions of popular games— or any apps you don’t truly need.
  • Apply the same security guidelines you’ve adopted for your employees’ PCs to their phones and tablets. Then make sure they follow these guidelines.

The fact that we keep our phones closeby in our pockets or purses can offer a false sense of security. But think of that smartphone as the key to your company’s front door and take these simple steps today. While these tips already should be second nature when dealing with your company PCs, (have you defined your mobile security policy yet?), they’re just as critical when it comes to your mobile devices.

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