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If you’re focused on growth, customer service and productivity, chances are you’re not only fine with employees using mobile devices on the job — you actively encourage it. But while mobile devices offer many benefits to small businesses and their employees, they can also cause problems if they aren’t managed properly. If mobile devices aren’t fully secure, neither is the business data they access.
According to a Ponemon Institute study, two-thirds of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) consider insecure mobile devices their most vulnerable endpoint, along with the Internet of Things (IoT). The report also found that 37 percent of SMB mobile devices had been affected by ransomware. There’s also the not insignificant risk of smartphones falling into the wrong hands —another study found that 4.3 percent of corporate-issued are lost each year.
The best way to gain control of the devices employees use for work is with a mobile device management (MDM) solution that enables you to enforce security requirements, track and wipe lost devices, and trouble-shoot device issues remotely.
Here are five clear signs you might have a mobile management problem.
1. Employees inadvertently install or use apps from untrusted sources, leaving the company open to security breaches
From personal finance to boosting productivity on the job, you know what they say: There’s an app for that. But without proper restrictions in place, employees can easily download applications that are either directly malicious or don’t take the required steps to keep personal information secure. The risk of malware infection increases exponentially when employees sideload apps — rather than downloading them from an official app store. A good MDM policy will ensure that employees do not install apps from “unknown sources,” as well as flagging or blocklisting apps that are known to present security risks.
2. An employee left their device without the lock screen activated in a taxi or other public area
Aside from the embarrassment, a situation like this can expose important data to competitors — or worse. The best way to ensure this never happens is by enforcing proper device authentication policies. That means no swipe-to-unlock and no passwords weak enough that anybody could guess them. The Ponemon study found that 59 percent of small businesses don’t have visibility into their employees’ password practices, and that safe password policies often aren’t strictly enforced. It’s crucial to require — and enforce — that employees use strong passwords — and better yet, biometrics — to secure access to mobile devices.
3. Some employees are still using an older device and can’t upgrade beyond Android 7
While they may be perfectly comfortable using older versions of operating systems and applications, the inability to upgrade means they aren’t getting the latest security updates. That increases the risk of data theft. If employees aren’t in a position to buy new phones — and it’s understandable if they can’t — a comprehensive MDM system allows IT administrators to blocklist applications and websites that might make them vulnerable.
4. Your employees are becoming frustrated because they can’t do critical work on their phones
If employees can’t access email, documents or other business systems on their phone, they’re wasting their time and the company’s time. The best way to reap the most productivity out of smartphones is by deploying core business applications on the phone. For many businesses, the first step is setting users up to access core productivity apps from the cloud, including Office 365 or G Suite. Other important mobile-enabled apps include those for file sharing, collaboration, networking and customer relationship management.
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5. The last employee who lost their phone complained about it for a solid week
If you don’t have a plan in place for addressing times when a phone is lost or stolen — and it will happen — you’re not only going to get an earful, but you’re risking the company data. While “find my phone” apps are fine for consumers, it’s important for businesses to have a scaleable solution in place. If a phone is lost or stolen, it must be tracked and wiped of all corporate data remotely — and quickly. Together with an acceptable-use policy that requires employees to immediately report lost or stolen devices, this will significantly reduce the risk of data loss.
Mobile devices give small businesses the ability to act and react more like larger businesses. And like larger businesses, managing mobility smartly should be a top priority.
Take back control of mobile by starting a free trial of Samsung’s cloud-based Knox Manage MDM solution today. And learn how to keep your business data secure with The Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Device Management.