In today’s crowded business atmosphere, a mobile workforce can make your company more competitive. But just having a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy is not enough. Can you fully account for what’s used out in the field? When employees use mobile devices for their work while on the go or at home, it’s easy to lose track.

If you’re not completely sure, you’re open to more risk than you may realize. All of the common weak points in your IT environment suddenly pose higher threats when you go mobile.

Let’s take a look at what tools offer mobile devices and business data the best possible protection from the unexpected.

3 Big Risks

You can break down the most significant mobile risks into three categories:

  1. Accessing data — Many companies depend on mobile devices to store essential customer information during transactions. Those who work in sales frequently rely on mobile devices to store invoices and personal financial data. Even lawyers, real estate professionals, and financial lenders use mobile technology and need to adhere to staying compliant with regulations like HIPAA.
  2. Lost and misused devices — A company can face significant fines if an employee loses or misuses their mobile device. It takes just a moment of distraction to leave a smart phone or laptop behind in a cab or a train. And the temptation and opportunity for an unscrupulous employees to misuse their smartphone or tablet for their own gain is higher than a PC in the office.
  3. Cyber criminals — Mobile technology and complacency by some companies offer even more opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit. And hacks from cyber thieves can occur without you even knowing it until weeks or months afterward.

How to protect mobile devices and their data

Here are some of the ways we recommend protecting your data on the go.

Cloud Backup with Remote Wipe

Don’t expect employees to regularly sync their data with a corporate desktop PC or external drive—it’s just not going to happen.

With some cloud backup and recovery systems, employees install an app or other software to their smartphone, tablet or laptop that securely and automatically backs up data to a data center  whenever and wherever they connect to the internet. Built-in data compression techniques reduce the amount of bandwidth required.

Not only does your organization keep a copy of the data, but should a mobile device suddenly crash, get stolen, or become misused, employees can quickly restore their data to another smartphone, tablet or laptop. Just as importantly, your cloud backup platform should also allow users and administrators to wipe any device’s data remotely.

Full Encryption

Employees are sure to use public Wi-Fi networks from time to time, which exposes them to unreliable security. By using a fully encrypted VPN connection, the data that employees enter is encrypted before it’s transported across the Internet. Look for AES 256-bit encryption standards to ensure you have the best security available.

It’s also critical that employees install and frequently update anti-virus software on any mobile device that connects to your corporate network.

Monitor for Security Risks

Of course, employees don’t always connect to a VPN to get work done — they increasingly use cloud services instead. That’s why we also offer OpenDNS, a monitoring service that scans all of your DNS traffic for security risks, even when it’s outside of the corporate network. This a straightforward way to capture any threats that have hijacked mobile devices.

Managed Services

Employing IT management for all your mobile devices gives you a dedicated team to quickly address issues, even if employees work off-hours. In our experience, we can take care of most problems remotely without having to send someone to a physical location. However, a typical SLA includes on-site repairs if needed. (Our Desktop and Server Management services include mobile devices.)

Convenience, with caution

Mobile devices now make it easier than ever to work anywhere. Unfortunately, they also dramatically increase the risks you face trying to keep tabs on your business data.

If you have questions about how your workforce uses mobile devices and the risks it poses, be sure to get in touch. Our Data Backup and Recovery services incorporate techniques to protect mobile devices and data, while Desktop and Server Management services help make it simpler to manage mobile devices.