Did you know that more than 718,000 malicious and high-risk apps were uploaded to the Android mobile platform in the first half of 2013? That is double the amount recorded for all of 2012! Mobile malware is on the rise. Are you and your company prepared for a possible attack? You had better be, and soon. Cybercrime is on the way, coming to a smartphone or tablet near you — leaving everything from family vacation photos to your company’s entire database vulnerable to theft or malicious activity.
How To Protect Mobile Devices that Hold Your Data
Businesses are increasingly embracing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. Perhaps one of the most alarming things about the threats to mobile devices in 2014 is the fact that many organizations are beginning to allow these devices to connect to their networks. Even among those that refuse to permit this connectivity, employees are likely responding to work e-mails and forwarding company documents on mobile devices, whether they are personal or company-issued.
Those 718,000 apps aren’t the only way criminals can get through to a mobile device. Like PCs, mobile devices are vulnerable to carelessly-clicked e-mail links, secret visits to salacious sites, and more. If your business provides devices to employees, you can try telling them to limit use to business only, but that’s no guarantee. Any business that allows BYOD should be aware of the potential threats.
For the sake of safety, both businesses and consumers must take an increased interest in securing devices in 2014. This includes deploying the same protection they’ve previously required on PCs. A couple of years ago, a business wouldn’t think about installing a new PC without antivirus protection. In 2014, that same mentality should begin to be applied to tablets and PCs. (image source)
Educating your workers on the importance of responsible mobile device use is an important first step. But even the most careful employee is susceptible to the occasional slip-up. To protect both authorized devices and unauthorized devices that may connect anyway, businesses should consider putting safeguards in place as early as possible during the 2014 calendar year.
Mobile Malware Solutions
Here are a few solutions that can protect mobile devices.
- Norton Mobile Security–For nearly 25 years, Symantec has been a trusted name in PC and enterprise security. Unlike other solutions, Symantec’s Norton Mobile Security features cross-compatibility, including Android and iOS.
- Kaspersky Internet Security for Android–Both businesses and consumers have used Kaspersky on PCs, but Android device owners can also deploy the software protection on tablets and smartphones. Kaspersky adds theft protection to its suite of security features, letting users log in to remotely control a lost or stolen device.
- Avast Mobile Security–One of the best features of Avast Mobile Security is that it is free. Unfortunately, like Kapersky, Avast is only available for Android-powered devices. Avast also features anti-theft capabilities and firewalls, as well as the ability to block specific text messages and calls.
Installing software is only one layer of protection. Businesses should also review security policies to ensure they cover every area of mobile use, including BYOD. These policies should be both taught and enforced in every workplace to keep data as secure as possible. Businesses must also be aware of the consequences of cybercriminals accessing their data, especially if they access social security numbers, credit card or banking information, or personal health information. Not only would your business potentially violate the trust relationships you have with your clients, but you’d also face potential fines if you breach some of the many regulations that govern businesses today.
2014 will be an exciting year for enterprises; mobile devices offer workers mobility options not previously available. To keep dangers to a minimum, make sure you have an adequate plan for cyber security in place. Thieves and vandals are active and capable of inflicting much harm. That much is sure. The only question is this: Will you protect yourself and your company from being victimized by them?
Kirill Bensonoff is a founding partner at ComputerSupport.com, where he assists corporations all over the country with their IT needs.
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