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How can IT tackle the top mobile security issues?

With so many mobile security challenges around the bend, admins may worry they'll never see the finish line. IT can achieve security success by staying ahead of the curve.

"If you ain't first, you're last," applies to more than race car drivers named Ricky Bobby; IT should make this a mantra for mobile security. Organizations that don't have a plan for tackling mobile security challenges now will not only get left in the dust -- they'll have to scramble to fix issues they could have avoided.

It's not surprising, then, that mobile security continues to rank as one of enterprise IT's top focus areas. Nowadays, even with robust enterprise mobility management (EMM) tools prevalent in many organizations, IT must stay the course in a seemingly never-ending race against mobile security issues. And with so many threats lurking out there, IT departments have their work cut out for them. The first step to addressing the most pressing concerns is to set priorities.

IT admins, get ready to start your engines.

Set policies

The best mobile security strategy starts with robust mobile security policies. According to Kaspersky Lab, up to 35% of mobile phones still do not have a device password or any kind of protection. Security experts have been saying it for years, but it still holds true: People will follow proactive policies that protect their businesses and keep employee productivity at the forefront.

An organizational mobile security policy should cover who has access to what information, password requirements and reimbursement, as well as clear expectations of what will happen if users violate those policies.

Lock down data

Due to the sheer amount of data organizations create and share through so many different channels, organizations must provide their employees with safe, easily accessible storage for their documents. Enterprise file sync-and-sharing platforms, such as Box, allow organizations to utilize cloud technology for securely sharing and collaborating on corporate files, while keeping the information secure.

Employees should be able to directly access their documents via a remote desktop feature or some kind of cloud storage location or app, so that they can work any time or anywhere.

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Protect devices

IT must have a plan for managing various endpoints -- whether PCs, laptops, smartphones or tablets -- in order to address the mobile security issues that plague them. With BYOD being commonplace in all types of workplaces these days, there are countless opportunities for employees to bring a malware-infected device to work and risk exposing networks to malware and viruses.

With so many great EMM options on the market, though, companies have many ways to keep their endpoints secure. Admins can also consider endpoint security management systems, which they can purchase as software or a dedicated appliance.

Authenticate users

Two-factor or multifactor authentication can help IT better protect employees utilizing BYOD and potential customers. It is now standard practice to require users to provide more than one type of credential in order to log in: something the user has (PIN or password) and something the user is (fingerprint or iris scan).

Some organizations may be concerned that having too many login requirements could limit employee productivity; however, biometric technology, such as Apple's Touch ID, makes the process less cumbersome.

Communicate

IT should communicate any policy changes to the whole organization at the beginning of any mobility initiative. Effective organizational communication makes it much easier for IT admins to incorporate security measures for all employees.

Communicating about mobile security issues doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. IT can focus on some positives, sharing new productivity features of an EMM system, new employee apps or new cloud storage options for employees. Keeping an open line of communication between IT and the rest of the organization can lead to fewer speed bumps down the road, especially when breaches happen and IT must implement prompt security measures.

Better yet, stay on top of the most pressing mobile security issues and face them head-on, instead of getting left in the dust.

Next Steps

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This was last published in July 2017

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