Securing mobile devices in the workplace is becoming increasingly important for organizations operating with secure data needs. To truly protect sensitive information requires a multi-pronged approach to mobile device security. Accessing needs is another critical step as no one-size-fits-all approach works when it comes to implementing security policies.
Let’s walk through some mobile device security best practices for 2023 to help you and your team make the most out of your security policies.
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Mobile Security Best Practices
When it comes to mobile devices security, you’ll find a lot to understand. Not only will IT admins and management need to be aware of the risks and threats, but end-users are increasingly targets for malicious attacks —making ongoing education and training essential.
Below you’ll find some of the best practices you can implement to keep mobile devices safe and data secure.
Since lost phones and theft are a big issue when it comes to securing mobile devices and data, implementing policies towards authentication is important. Make sure that user authentication is one of the top priorities in your organization. Authentication comes in the form of:
- Biometrics (fingerprint and facial recognition)
- Personal identification numbers (PINs)
Implementing enterprise authentication policies is more than just passwords and pins; it also means educating end-users about best practices for authentication. 65% of users will admit to using the same password, even though 91% of users responding to a survey by Lastpass claimed they understood the risks of password reuse.
It’s best to implement password policies as well as two-factor authentication (2FA) methods when available. You want to ensure that users understand not only the importance of authentication but also the risks.
Outdated mobile operating systems (OSs) pose a significant risk. With almost 90% of Android phones running outdated software, this is not a small issue. Keeping your team and data safe means developing policies that will ensure devices are up to date at all times.
Both Google and Android will frequently update through software updates and security patches. These updates help resolve known security issues and vulnerabilities. Keeping users safe is a bit more complicated than just updating software, though.
Updating can pose a risk in and of itself. From a security perspective, the update process can trigger a re-vetting of a devices’ security clearance. This means that updates might impact the performance of the device — in turn decreasing user productivity. Nevertheless, security updates are essential to meeting the evolving threat landscape.
Keeping data secure also means keeping data intact. Since a lot of variables are out of an organization's control, like user behavior, it's critical to have a backup policy. Backing up data will help fill the gaps if an event occurs, like the loss or theft of a device.
While backups can happen regularly, it should be noted that they can cause some downtime. Transfer speed will help you understand what this downtime might look like, but even with fast transfer speeds, other security features and measures like VPNs or firewalls can slow down the process.
Remote backups are the obvious choice for mobile devices but present some challenges as well. First, you'll most likely be working with mobile internet providers to transfer data. Unfortunately, this alone gives no guarantee that data will stay secure. To mitigate this risk, proper encryption is necessary.
Always use encryption. Through the encryption process, data is securely protected, and only authorized users have access. Encryption should be a part of local data stored on the mobile device itself, as well as be a part of transferring data across a network.
Moreover, teams should be aware of the risks associated with encryption. For example, data recovery will be necessary if a user forgets the password to decrypt files. This process is often messy, and you won’t have a guarantee that you can save the lost data. While you can opt for publicly available solutions, they often create a false sense of security.
Nevertheless, encryption is essential to keeping data secure and safe. But, even with encryption policies, end-user training is necessary to mitigate certain risks. With a public Wi-Fi network, for example, users can connect to an authentic-seeming network and become victims to a man-in-the-middle-style attack. Keeping data secure means training employees on authentication best practices and using extra security measures like virtual private networks (VPNs)
Disabling Features When Not In Use
Communication radios, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, play an integral role in the operation of the mobile device but also create a large attack surface for malicious actors. Bluetooth can be victim to all kinds of attacks, including:
Users should disable these features when they are not in use to minimize these risks. Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi reduces the exposure and limits the time for vulnerabilities to become exploits. Turning off these features will require intentional action from the user, meaning they’ll have to keep up with it themselves.
You can find tools that help with this process, but at the end of the day, proper training and education helps keep workers on the same page regarding these specific security policies and practices.
Ensuring that end-users understand the risks inherent in using modern mobile applications will also help strengthen your security strategy. Today’s apps often require permissions to interact with files on the phone, gain access to features like the camera or utilize security measures like biometrics.
While you can implement security policies that restrict certain applications from being installed, it’s usually at the cost of convenience for the user. If you operate using less strict application guidelines, users will need to understand the risk associated with granting applications permissions.
A user should always try to employ a principle of least privilege (PoLP). This principle illustrates the necessity of application permissions but only grants them on a need basis. Permission, in the end, opens up the functionality of certain applications that are essential to operation. Limiting them may mean limiting app functionality. Permissions should always be justified.
Mobile Security with Archon Mobile
Despite mobile device security best practices for 2023, threats will always exist. To mitigate these threats means implementing more than just guidelines for your team.
Here at Archon Mobile, our goal is to create a usable platform that offers the best available security without sacrificing the convenience of a mobile device. Reach out today if you’re ready to learn about our enterprise-level options for securing mobile devices.