How To Keep Your Mobile Staff's Phones And Laptops Secure

As work becomes more flexible, our mobile devices more powerful, new vulnerabilities emerge. Phones and laptops are almost always on us, they're full of juicy data — both personal and work, making them prime targets for anyone with the skills to gain access. But all is not lost! Here are some of the things you can do, technical and not, to secure your work devices.

Security security via Shutterstock

Brought to you by Telstra’s Workforce Mobility Solutions, empowering your people with the collaboration and mobility tools they need to act in the moment.

Keep clear of public wifi

When you’re out and about it can be tempting to connect to a public WiFi network to shoot off an email or download a file. Using the WiFi at a coffee shop or library for instance. While this may sound convenient, it can be a security nightmare. These networks are open, and combined with a large concentration of users, make sweet targets for hackers. Further, a lot of what you do over a public WiFi is visible – websites you visit, what you type into unencrypted websites or forms, even messages you send. So the first step in mobile security is to abstain from public networks whenever you can.

Use a VPN

If you must use public WiFi network, and even if you don't, connect through a virtual private network. VPN's have gone mainstream thanks to geoblocking, as people seek to avoid censors or access content with a reasonable price and selection. But they have other uses — many companies use them as a way to secure sensitive data when connecting to a network remotely. A VPN creates an encrypted connection to a private network — like a work network, perfect to avoid snooping and secure work.

How a VPN works via Shutterstock

Enable two factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is essentially securing your devices and services with more than a guessable password — using "something you know", like a password or code, and "something you have", like a phone or code generator. Essentially, it negates much of the benefit of stealing or cracking password with a brute force attack — even if the password is stolen they can't gain access without the "thing you have". There are a whole bunch of online services now that offer two factor authentication, and some banks even give out devices to act as the "thing you have".

Watch what apps you install

Despite the facade of safety you get within a phone's ecosystem, an unfortunate number of apps store, steal or leak data. A recent study of more than a hundred iOs and Android apps revealed a majority of apps shared some information, like email and addresses and location, with third parties. But some apps were even worse, storing and sharing data like passwords and addresses in plain text. Before you install, use, or give any new apps sensitive information, ask yourself whether the convenience is really worth the risk.

Encrypt everything

Most every device nowadays comes with encryption included, you just need to turn it on. Apple Macs and most versions of Windows ship with encryption, you just need to dive into the settings. Encryption has been built into iPhones since iOs8, encrypting an Android phone may be a bit trickier, but it all starts with heading into settings.

Further, enable Find My Phone or Android Device Manager, so if you do lose your phone you can remotely track or wipe the device.

Mind hardware

But none of these tips will work if you are careless with your gear. This is more of a mindset thing, as you need to adopt an almost-paranoid attitude to the whereabouts and safety of your devices — we've already seen hackers making and distributing fake chargers capable of hacking a smartphone in less than a minute, after all. So, always be on a alert. Don't let devices out of your sight, and don't trust thumb drives or chargers that you find lying around.


Comments

    Using VPN for Android phones makes it safer and protects it from the cyber evil and give us a sense of security for the sensitive and private data we store in our Android smartphones.

    If clients do not tether to their own phone we ask they they dial a SSL vpn back to their office were we force all traffic though.

    DO NOT HOME SHARE APPLE WITH WIFE AND KIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A business in OZ got hacked, the child of the CEO had the Nanny app (guardian, Bigmum) the app that designed to let mum & dad check to see what kids do on their phones. but this one had been changed all calls, txt and email along with web history. No one can remember how it got on the child's Ipad, Child sync with home Mac , Dad come home, Sync with home Mac. Back to Work and Sync with work Mac. A good IT/Telco called the Company's IT to question them on the data dump to an I.P. on OS Server. every work handset/tablet and laptops had the app installed!!!. Work phones should be the same as brief case PRIVATE. everything the company did for 6-12mths dumped onto the server. i have seen the same app sold to companies as a security system.

    Use microsofts Direct Access for all staff. They turn on their computer and once the mobile detects Internet, it starts DA. It's a VPN and doesn't rely on the staff member clicking on the VPN. As for mobile phones, we don't really care about them here because staff members won't really remember to turn any VPN on or anything like that, as long as we can remotely brick them, wipe them or destroy them then we are happy

    Last edited 26/10/16 2:31 pm

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