It’s reasonable to expect, at this point, that all of your employees have a smartphone, and that they bring it to work with them on a regular basis. What’s not always so clear, however, is whether it’s a good idea to allow them to use their smartphone for company business. While there are some clear benefits to be gained when employees can use their personal mobile devices for work, the practice also has the potential to introduce a host of new security concerns.
Maintaining security across your network is essential, as any breach can compromise a wide variety of sensitive information. Hacking techniques are getting more and more advanced all the time as well, so making sure you’re properly protected must be a top priority regardless of the size of your business.
Introducing personal mobile devices like smartphones can significantly complicate that security picture, but as long as you have proper procedures and programs in place, it’s not an insurmountable problem. Some important steps to take along those lines include:
- Using a corporate firewall for mobile browsing.
- Only allowing employees to connect their mobile devices to your network through SSL VPN and never through unsecured or public wi-fi.
- Ensuring that all personal devices have PIN or password protections enabled to access the device when it’s locked.
- Require employees to install mobile security software.
- Create a list of accepted applications, and make sure all downloads come from a known and verified source.
- Encourage employees to turn off wi-fi, GPS functions, and Bluetooth when they’re not in use.
- Require the encrypting of any data stored on the device.
Depending on the type of work your employees do and what they use their personal devices for, some of these elements may be more relevant than others. However, they’ll all help keep your company’s data and systems protected from cyber threats, whether that threat comes as the result of a lost device or one that’s compromised by malware.
BENEFITS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
The potential benefits of allowing employees to use their personal smartphones and other mobile devices are real and diverse. For instance, the ability to access work systems on the go can increase productivity and enhance customer service, as employees are better able to respond to customer requests quickly and more thoroughly.
Aside from these types of benefits, however, mobile devices can actually play a positive role in enhancing cybersecurity, as they can facilitate two-factor authentication for logging into sensitive systems. Two-factor or multi-factor authentication generally involves using a traditional username and password login, but even with that information, access isn’t grated until an additional PIN or passcode is entered.
That second factor can be sent directly to the employee’s smartphone when they attempt to login to your system, and so even if their basic login information is compromised by a hack, no one will be able to use it since they won’t have the access to the second factor authentication.
If you’d like to learn more about the range of cyber and other business insurance policies we offer, contact our offices today.