Tablet computers and related mobile devices are becoming excellent enterprise resources, allowing employees flexibility and interactive features that benefit workflow, brainstorming, and widespread collaboration. But businesses owners widely recognize that tablets and smartphones also have their flaws, particularly in security. Mobile devices based on apps and wireless connections are especially vulnerable to data theft. Prevent problems by creating a proactive policy for your iPad-wielding employees and stopping security threats before they start. Here are several ways to start protecting your business with a strong tablet security policy.
How to Create a Strong Tablet Security Policy
1. Clarify Your BYOD Rules
First things first. Every modern business should have a clear BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy in place at work. Will customers be able to use their own tablets or smartphones on the job? If so, will they be able to use whatever apps they want to? What about social networks? Many businesses strike a middle ground where employees can bring their own devices to work but are only allowed to use certified apps for work processes. Companies with more at stake in data security may issue tablets for work use and limit functionality/downloads to help maintain a more rigid control over security.
This ties in closely with your VPN (Virtual Private Network) strategy. VPNs can help protect traditional devices like laptops, but modern devices like tablets can prove a security risk when connected to a business VPN. Blocking access to personal devices may be required. Sit down with an IT expert and have a serious discussion about risks before devising BYOD rules.
2. Regulate Apps
Your BYOD decision should underscore the importance of creating a solid app regulation policy. Many apps are lures or fakes designed to tap into tablet or smartphone data and potential use sensitive information. Even trustworthy apps may create security risks in the way that they collect and store data. One of the easiest ways to minimize the risks is to create a list of “allowable” apps that employees can for work data and outlaw all other apps. This list should be periodically updated with new apps, updated apps, and the latest outlawed apps that have security flaws (at least until they are patched). Make app regulation a common part of your mobile enterprise strategy.
3. Require Codes and Passwords
One of the easiest ways to encourage tablet security is to require codes and passwords on employee devices. Require robust login passwords (along with code protection for other features, such as voicemail). While this may not help protect data moving through wireless networks, it can certainly help prevent security risks with physical theft or tampering.
4. Create a Data Transfer Policy
Data transfer through the Internet is one of the weakest points in mobile security. When employees pull in data or download data into a cloud application – particularly from networks outside of the office – they are exposing their tablets to potential security breaches. Develop strict rules about data transfer to prevent this. What cloud computing services (i.e., Google Drive, Dropbox, proprietary software) are employees allowed to transfer company data through, if at all? Are employees allowed to transfer data outside of the office? Should certain types of financial data stay off tablets altogether? Answer these questions and similar concerns to give your employees clear guidelines.
Benson Garrod is a digital content strategist for www.SalvageData.com, a company offering data recovery services in Virginia, Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, and other major cities. He enjoys keeping up with the latest trends in data recovery, smart phone apps, new gadgets, and other fun tech stuff!