Stay vigilant in the wake of mobile endpoint security risks

August 20, 20183 minute read

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Remember the good old days when endpoint security only encompassed devices within the confines of your office? Such a peaceful time. Now, those days are long gone. In today’s world, device management extends from the light bulbs in the ceiling to the watch on your wrist.

Pay attention to mobile endpoint security

The sheer number of endpoints flowing in and out of your environment should be a big concern when it comes to security. In fact, Check Point reports that every business has been the target of at least one mobile cyber attack—and probably more. Many of these attacks were born from compromised data as a result of, you guessed it, a conveniently misplaced smartphone. While that alone should inspire renewed awareness of endpoint security, WIRED brings up a great point: “Even if you’ve got the phone in your hand, it may not be safe.”

The article goes on to state that one in five businesses fall victim to mobile security breaches—often due to malware downloaded through unsecured public Wi-Fi connections. In other words, you don’t have to lose a device for hackers to gain a foothold.

Imagine this scenario in the real world

Picture this: You’ve just rolled out a set of fancy new smartphones to your users. After a couple of training sessions, each one is walking away on cloud nine and cozying up to the virtual assistant installed on the phone. This newfound convenience in voice commands leads to increased efficiency and productivity. It also has your users taking advantage of the virtual assistant everywhere they can. One enterprising soul uses this new trick to impress their friends at the local bar’s trivia night. The problem? The virtual assistant’s momentary lapse in judgment sends their “Who was Batman’s first sidekick?” query to some rather questionable websites.

Long story short, the phone is infected with malware. On Monday morning, your environment will be, too. Not striking a chord? Try this one: Your sales team uses tablets to showcase your product to interested parties at trade shows all over the world. While visiting some family at an east coast convention, one user lets their adorable niece play with the tablet. To catch some elusive Pokemon, she downloads one of the million knock-off apps, but the app requires permission to access saved data and passwords . . . it’s probably time to change all the digital locks.

Proactively protect your environment

You don’t have to go looking for trouble to become a victim of a cyber attack. You don’t even have to lose sight of your smartphone for it to become compromised. What you do need is some proactive endpoint security. Device vulnerability comes from a few usual sources:

  • Careless users
  • Compromised networks
  • Outdated devices

When it comes to careless users, practice makes perfect. Regular training sessions keep users aware of the malicious dangers lurking in every app store, website, and network. For those employing humans instead of robots, digital policy is a safe bet for ensuring basic security measures are always met.

As for avoiding compromised networks, VPNs and common sense are your best allies. To tackle outdated devices, automated device management is a good place to start. These platforms let you schedule updates, track firmware, and lock down or erase compromised endpoints. Better yet, you can rely on mobile solutions that secure data in transit to keep your environment clean and your data safer.

With mobile devices coming and going from your office, the need to be vigilant is greater than ever. Strong passwords on devices only go so far—it’s up to you and your IT team to remember the dangers facing mobile devices, even when they don’t leave employees’ hands. After all, smart security is the difference between mobile productivity and mobile panic.

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