What is mobile device security and why is it important?

2 Minutes Read

Mobile devices are easy targets for attackers for a couple of reasons. First, 97% of all mobile devices operate on one of two operating systems, including smartphones, tablets, wearable, and smart devices. This means the cost/benefit for hackers is high as they can concentrate their exploit development efforts on only one or two general systems, and if successful in finding a vulnerability, they can potentially get access to millions of devices. 

Second, many users, including SMBs, don't have effective mobile security solutions in place, making their employees' mobile devices an easy point of entry for malware attacks, phishing attacks, and data leaks.

While shoring up your mobile device security will require additional investment in your IT, incorporating a comprehensive solution into your business is a critical component of reducing the risk of the loss or theft of sensitive data. With a mobile security plan in place, you can rest assured you're taking the necessary steps to protect your employees, your company, and your most valuable assets from outside attacks.


The Benefits of Mobile Device Security

There are numerous benefits to ramping up mobile device security (MDS). The following are just a few examples of how mobile security measures can help you mitigate risks and protect company assets from malicious outsider attacks. 

The ones listed below can be easily implemented using mobile device management software.


Policy Enforcement and Compliance

A clear mobile policy allows a uniform understanding of MDS practices across your entire enterprise, including what devices can be used, permissible operating systems, what applications and data the company has access to (especially if it's a personal device), the permissions granted to your company's IT department, password requirements, and so forth.


Data Backup and Recovery

On a basic level, you can think of data being separated into two categories on mobile devices: personal and enterprise. These distinctions should be outlined in your policies so employees know what your and their responsibilities do and don’t include when it comes to the mobile security policies. 

For example, you can mandate certain backup protocols for enterprise data stored on their personal phones, but you may not be able to mandate full device backups, which would include some personal information you wouldn’t want to be liable for protecting. 

On enterprise devices, you can mandate certain backup protocols. On personal devices, you can recommend backup procedures.

If you're using MDM software, you can schedule periodic backups of company data rather simply. Did an employee misplace a device, have it stolen, or get terminated? With a mobile security solution in place, you can remotely wipe all company data from their device.


Device registration

Do you want to know what devices are logged onto your network or remotely accessing company data? You should if you want to be able to maintain access controls and trace any breaches that occur via mobile devices.

When bolstering your company's mobile device security, require employees to register any device they intend to use to access company resources or data. Doing so enables you to know what smartphones, tablets, and other devices are on your network, giving you the upper hand in spotting any outliers.


Bring your own device (BYOD) support

There are numerous advantages to allowing employees to bring their own devices to use for work. Not only does it reduce your IT infrastructure costs, but it also enables employees to work remotely without the hassle of learning a new device and having to remember to bring it along when they’re working out of the office. To that last point, BYOD policies have actually been shown to increase employee productivity and satisfaction

However, in order to implement this approach, it's vital to employ a mobile security solution that incorporates BYOD support to ensure you’re not drastically increasing your attack surface by allowing employees to use their devices for work. This not only includes using mobile management software to register, track, and manage devices, but it also means implementing other practices to mitigate security risks such as single sign-on (SSO), VPNs, and more.