Recent studies show that the average American spends nearly 4 hours per day looking at his or her smartphone. Whether someone is looking for entertainment or information, they will usually turn to their mobile device over a desktop because it’s more accessible and often easier to use.
With that said, mobile security has become increasingly important. A mobile phone can be hacked just as easily as a standard desktop computer, and often has as much or more data that cyber criminals can collect. As a small business owner, it’s important to be aware of the risks and follow best practices to protect the mobile devices that you and your team use. In this post, we’ll discuss easy ways to protect your business on the Internet against common cyber threats.
1. Install a Virtual Private Network Mobile App
A virtual private network (VPN) has become increasingly popular. A VPN acts as a regular network but provides a greater level of security. Through a VPN, a mobile user can access the Internet without providing important information including the user’s location or operating system.
There are free and inexpensive VPN mobile apps that your employees can download. While turning on these apps, your employees can only access the Internet through a VPN. This will greatly decrease the probability of a cyber attack and greatly improve the mobile security for your small business.
2. Encrypt the Data that is Stored on your Smart Phone
Data encryption is another effective way to prevent cyber attacks and keep information stored on mobile devices confidential. When files are encrypted, they can’t be viewed or accessed by a third party. This is especially helpful if your device is stolen.
Many smartphones will automatically encrypt all data in storage. However, for phones that don’t provide automatic encryption, you can easily do this manually through an encryption app. To go a step further, you can also encrypt your memory card through your smartphone settings.
3. Update the Operating Systems of Your Small Business Phones
All smartphone manufacturers release frequent operating system updates. These updated typically include security patches that will fix mobile phone vulnerabilities. With that said, it’s important to frequently update your mobile phone operating system, no matter what type of phone you have. This is an easy and effective way to protect your and your employees’ devices from known vulnerabilities.
4. Use Complex Passwords for Smartphones and Some of Their Apps
You should always keep your phone locked through a password that follows password best practices, especially if you store sensitive information on your small business phones. Using a strong password will prevent unauthorized personnel and criminals from accessing and potentially stealing sensitive data. As an added layer of security, you can use passwords to lock certain applications (email, document storage, etc.)
5. Use an Antivirus Program
An antivirus program uses firewalls to stop hackers from controlling your smartphone remotely. Many antivirus programs are completely free yet extremely effective, so not using one can be a big mistake. Once you setup an antivirus program, make sure to frequently check that it’s up to date so it can catch newer and more sophisticated viruses before it’s too late.
6. Download Apps from Trusted Sources Only
Any smartphone application from the Google Play or Apple App Store have already been checked for viruses and other threats, so it’s safe to download apps from these stores. However, any apps from other third-party sources may be untested and contain harmful malware. As a best practice, encourage your employees to never download apps from third parties, especially if your business phones contain sensitive or valuable information.
7. Back up Your Phones Regularly
As a small business owner, you likely know that unexpected accidents can happen. Today’s smartphones are fragile and can be easily damaged. That’s why it’s important to regularly backup business smartphones. A backup system saves all smartphone data and information in the cloud. If you damage your phone but have a backup system in place, you’ll still be able to access all information that was stored on the damaged phone. Backups can be done daily or even more if required.
As you can see, there are many similarities between mobile security and computer security. If your employees are using smartphones for any work-related activity, it’s critical to prioritize mobile security best practices. These easy tips can protect your mobile devices and keep your business on the Internet safe.