Today’s Mobile Environment:
If it is true that time flies, then it must be true that technology rockets. Today, the race for faster, smarter and more sophisticated technology dominates headlines and purportedly will help decide who holds the upper hand for tech supremacy. However, before corporations reap the considerable financial benefits of improved technology, it would greatly behoove them to examine their own mobile cybersecurity solutions.
Yes, all technology is rapidly improving. But one particular sector has seen the most explosive growth and the highest level of utilization of that development: mobile. Today, around the globe, approximately 5 billion people use a mobile device, nearly half of them have smartphones. And what are all these people doing on their smartphones?
The answer: using apps to the point that there are now addiction help guides. To their credit, many businesses saw this coming and created a mobile device security policy for their workers. Regrettably, hackers and the blinding speed of technology had other ideas. Read on to learn about how the mobile security framework became so vital and how RSI security can help maximize productivity and minimize your security risk.
The Mobile Device Productivity & Security Conundrum:
The mobile explosion spawned a Bring-Your-Own-Device to work debate that every organization, regardless of size, must now consider. Mobile devices created an opportunity for workers to make the most of every minute: answering emails while away from their desk and getting work done on the go.
Proper BYOD policies increase employee access to their work and cut costs. Businesses have faced a learning curve associated with providing work devices for each employee. Every corporation would be pleased with increased productivity, right? On the other hand, mobile devices at work also create massive security risks that corporations are just beginning to fully understand. Learn more about the top five mobile security risks and threats in our related blog article.
The Adversary Vs. The Upside
The giant boom in mobile sophistication created a financial opportunity for another sect of society: hackers. When you put together the rapid development of mobile use and the torrid rate at which people utilized it, a hacker’s nirvana was created. Mobile policies, at the very beginning, were designed to partition the line between work and play.
That’s part of the reason why an astounding “20% of corporations have experienced a mobile security breach,” according to Crowd Research Partner. That number may be even higher as the 20% represents only companies willing to admit they have experienced a breach.
Today, mobile policies must govern a lot more than whether or not Angry Birds are allowed at work. Now, these policies must protect the company from cyber attacks that could cost a company millions, even billions in some cases, and at the same time streamline efficiency.
Organizations could always take the hard-line approach of no personal devices at the office, but then you run the risk of not maximizing productivity, antagonizing your workforce and falling behind the competition. Not to mention, there’s a chance that someone brings their personal device anyway and a security breach occurs because of it. Now you’ve got a mobile security breach without a security policy or protocol. That’s like having a fire without anyone to call.
The world has gone mobile and every company regardless of size needs a mobile device security policy. Sticking your head in the sand at the new mobile security reality will only court more tech-savvy criminals, sensing an opportunity.
Mobile Security 101:
The rise in mobile use at work spawned two conflicting actions: a rise in employee productivity and more security hacks and breaches. Since experts predict the mobile worker population to surpass 105 million by 2020, corporations must explore solutions to the growing mobile trend.
Naturally, corporations would like to curb security breaches and continue the improved productivity. That’s where having the proper mobile security solutions is an absolute necessity. Mobile security solutions come in many forms with none being the be all and end all.
The best mobile device security policies are designed to fit the specialized needs of your company. Any “One size fits all” security approach is unlikely to properly address the individual needs of your company.
It’s like car insurance; there’s no point having off-road insurance, an extra policy for your rims or an outsized theft policy, if you drive a Prius in Dayton, Ohio. None of those policies are relevant to your car and where you live. The same approach is true for mobile device security policy. Understanding the needs of your system, the industry you work in and the requirements of your employees are all pieces to choosing the proper mobile security network for your organization.
Mobile Management Products:
In the world of digital security, acronyms are endless: BYOD (you know this one), COPE (Communications Oriented Processing Equipment), MDM (Mobile Device Management), EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management). Each is important in their own way and help technicians sort through the complex systems more quickly. Here are five popular Mobile Device Management products that can help you secure employee devices.
- Samsung Knox: Designed specifically for Android this security solution protects against malware, hacking and other nefarious means of unauthorized access. They also provide security for hardware, apps and the overarching architecture implementation of your mobile network. The downside is there is no Apple version of Knox. However, if Android is your chosen work phone of your company, you would be hard pressed to do better than Samsung Knox.
- Mobileiron: A very popular mobile security solution utilized by enterprises, security companies and individuals alike. It is particularly adept at providing a delineation between work and personal information. Most security management companies don’t place a premium on individual privacy as much as protecting the overall system. Mobileiron allows employees to use their own devices or a company device without hassle or fear of personal information bleeding over. They offer their system on multiple platforms: Windows, IOS, and Android.
- AirWatch: The number one security threat for any organization no matter the size is their employees. Hackers are extremely adept at monitoring an information security system and probing for weak points where they can enter and wreak havoc. Many of those weak points are created by careless or uninformed practices made by employees.
Sometimes, employee and employer can be unaware of a security breach for months because a hacker slipped through an employee created back door that no one knew was there. AirWatch allows employees to simply enter their login information and presto! Airwatch takes over, changing any and all mobile settings that may leave employees susceptible to a hacking.
- XenMobile by Citrix: One of the top-rated mobile management systems, XenMobile, is the ultimate choose-your-own security system specifics that are best for you. For larger organizations with many tiers of management and sensitive information that should not be accessible to everyone, XenMobile is ideal. Once the system is set up, the IT department can create individual settings, not only for each person but also for applications, data policies, corporate apps and much more. They also provide security for corporate networks, allowing you to have all your security needs met under one roof.
- Good Dynamics Good Technology: This security platform is ideal for enterprises with BYOD programs rather than those who provide work phones for their employees. It effectively partitions the work from play. Whether it’s emails or apps and data, Good Dynamics affordably allows bosses to keep their employees productive and their information safe.
Understand that these Mobile Device Management or Enterprise Moblity Management tools are not entire digital security structures onto themselves. Just because your mobile network has security doesn’t mean you’re safe from any and all forms of digital or even mobile threats and vulnerabilities. Hackers are very skilled and industrious criminals. If they run into one wall, they backtrack and look for another opening. They are also patient, willing to wait for any loophole or opening to take advantage of. Here is a list of other mobile threats and security solutions.
Lost or Stolen Devices:
Physical theft, the most basic form of hacking, is sadly still very alive and well. According to Consumer Reports, approximately 2.1 million phones were stolen and another 3.1 million were lost in 2014. Many of those were taken and sold, not for parts, but for the potential information they may hold: passwords, bank accounts and other sensitive information that can be used for financial gain.
This may seem like an insurmountable problem. How do you stop physical theft is a question dating back to the eye for an eye legal system. Thankfully, technology has come up with a few answers. Kill switches and biometric scans are two recent inventions for confounding hackers who have stolen devices.
A kill switch is essentially a button you can press in the event your phone falls into the wrong hands. Once pressed it wipes your phone clean of any sensitive information. It’s very James Bond and it may seem like overkill but consider this statistic from Trend Micro, “From 2005 to 2015 more than 41% of all data breaches was the result of a lost or stolen mobile device.” Once a hacker gets a hold of a device, it is only a matter of time before they break it. In a world where stolen phones are commodities on the black market, kill switches may be a necessity.
The Growing Malware Problem:
As security measures grow more sophisticated, so do the attacks aimed at breaking them. Malware comes in a variety of forms and is on the rise at unprecedented rates. According to the 2018 Internet Security Threat Report by Symantec, from 2016 to 2017 malware attacks increased by 54%, jumping from 17,214 reported instances to 26,579. That number is only expected to rise as new versions of malware are created. Today, malware comes in many forms. Here are a few examples:
- Cryptomining: Cryptomining is the act of hackers infiltrating advanced computing systems with the intent of subverting their processing power for their own gain. By gaining unauthorized access to powerful computing systems, hackers are able to reap financial benefits from mining cryptocurrency. Some examples of this went on for months before the IT department was able to discover the attack.
- Ransomware: Ransomware gained notoriety in 2017 when the NotPetya and Wannacry cyber attacks dismantled much of Europe. NotPetya ultimately hit over 100 countries and cost the pharmaceutical giant, Merck, more than $500 million in damages. In practice, these viruses or trojan horses take over caches of sensitive information and then blackmail the company or individual owner of the information into paying for its return.
Another major concern for corporations is sensitive data leakage, which is the intentional or unintentional dissemination of sensitive information by employees. This is a security problem that has also grown in recent years. The more infamous cases are instances were employees purposefully steal information and take it to a competitor or sell it to the highest bidder. In some cases, the employee argued they were fired unfairly and litigation ensued.
There are also instances of employees, even CEOs, making security errors that cost their company millions. Some of them were innocent mistakes like sending sensitive information in an email; others were clear lack of accountability. You can have the most sophisticated protection network on the planet but it won’t be worth a dime if you aren’t acting responsibly.
We are living in the midst of a great technological revolution. Every day new and exciting technologies are being developed that will make our lives easier, safer and more enjoyable. However, these fantastic new developments don’t come without changes.
Digital security is one of the areas that is changing for now and forever. Having a team of security professionals on your side that understands the ever advancing cybersecurity needs and mobile security threats is one of the best advantages a corporation can have moving forward. RSI Security is the cybersecurity solutions company that provides cybersecurity services you can rely on to keep your business efficient, productive and above all else, safe.