How Mobile Devices Can Imperil Your Organization’s Cyber Security

January 21, 2014 by Michael Bruemmer

How Mobile Devices Can Imperil Your Organization’s Cyber Security

An employee who never uses a mobile device – personal or company-supplied – for business purposes is becoming a rare creature, indeed. Use of mobile devices is prevalent across virtually every industry, and the convenience and flexibility these devices offer professionals can be great for business. Provided, that is, those devices are secure.

Mobile devices continue to be a significant source of data breaches, and a particular concern for anyone engaged in cyber security, according to eSecurity Planet’s Data Breach Roundup. Mobile-related data breaches stem from a range of circumstances, including loss or theft of devices, failure to use anti-malware, or failing to password-protect a device being used for business purposes. Devices can put your data at risk if an employee stores any proprietary information on a mobile device, or if workers use unsecured devices to access your network – even if you’ve taken steps to secure the network itself.

Managing mobile devices can be one of the most challenging aspects of your overall cyber security program, but it’s imperative and – fortunately – not impossible.

Minimizing mobile device risks

CTIA, The Wireless Association, offers some guidelines for mobile device cyber security in its whitepaper “Today’s Mobile Cybersecurity: Blueprint for the Future.” The organization points to five cornerstones of mobile cyber security:

  • Education about the importance of mobile security.
  • Devices with security features like anti-malware and anti-spam settings
  • Strong, enforced network security policies
  • Authentication for all network users
  • Secure connections, from cloud to network

Many tools exist to help your organization ensure secure footing on each of those cornerstones. CTIA cites options like risk management, security policies and monitoring. We would add to that list, and emphasize the importance of a data breach response plan that addresses the specific challenges and risks associated with a mobile-spurred data breach incident. While your organization can take strong, reasoned steps toward minimizing risks, it’s equally important to be ready to respond when a breach occurs.

Mobile device security is sure to be a growing issue throughout 2014, as more people than ever use smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to work more efficiently. With the right precautions, you can help ensure your employees work safely, as well.