Almost any business can benefit from having a mobile workforce. While enterprise mobile devices and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) smartphones can increase productivity and efficiency, there is a downside that any business manager must take into consideration: lost or stolen smartphones containing sensitive data. Read below a quick guide on how to handle such an event and deal with a possible security breach.
Making mobile security a priority. Prepare your employees for the worst case scenario.
In order to maintain a high level of mobile security, the key is to develop a plan to ensure your company and client data remains safe. It’s always a good idea to hold mobile security training sessions: by training employees on the importance of mobile security, businesses can mitigate risk. Whether it’s employer-owned mobile devices or BYOD smartphones, having security best practices is paramount. Employees must be instructed to make regular backups, install anti-virus, malware software, endpoint management software, and two-factor authentication. Most important, managers must set up a contingency plan for the scenario in which an employee loses his phone or is a victim of theft. In order to prepare any device storing enterprise data, check the vital settings and apps listed below.
Built-in solutions are user-friendly and efficient
Besides regular backups, one of the most important steps, in order to deal with the worst case scenario, is tweaking the device. Smartphones running iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, or even Blackberry OS already have the software needed to hunt the device down.
Find my phone app allows the user to locate and lock a lost or stolen device. To locate the phone, the owner must access the Microsoft account and then select Find my device. A map of recent locations is periodically saved in the Microsoft account when the device is open. You can also choose to lock your phone and reset your account password.
With the help of BlackBerry Protect, you can locate a lost or stolen phone. All you need is an ID and account on the BlackBerry platform. With the location services enabled, the app will send information to the BlackBerry Protect site, but keep in mind that the device does not send this information on a regular basis and you need to enable the option on the site. A really cool feature: the system sends notifications when the battery is low.
The easiest to use is Find My Device, which is built directly into your Android smartphone through Google Play Services. The service can also be used in a browser (on your laptop/desktop PC) or downloaded from the Google Play Store. There are just a couple of things you’ll need to activate: Find My Device option in settings (Settings -> Security -> Find my device -> On) and check Use location history under Google location tab.
Find my device lets you remotely track, lock, and erase the data on a lost or stolen phone. The Play Sound option plays a loud tone on the device continuously at full volume for five minutes even if you turned the ringer off. The nuclear option of erasing the data remotely is recommended in case of extreme emergency (i.e. sensitive organization data stored). The service can also delete data from a connected SD card. Even if the device is switched off when the Erase command is sent, the factory reset process will be initiated as soon as it goes online.
Find my iPhone lets you remotely track a lost, stolen, or misplaced Apple device from virtually anywhere as long as the device in question is connected to the internet. The service is available for the entire range of Apple products – iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. Lost mode option allows you to enter a phone number that will display on the screen of your lost device. Besides locating a stolen or lost device, Find my iPhone can also assist in remotely wiping private information stored on the device, so your personal or enterprise data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Turning on the option is very easy: launch the Settings app -> tap Apple ID -> tap iCloud -> scroll down and tap Find my iPhone -> tap the switch to enable it.
Recommended third-party apps
Find My Mobile service is available for Samsung smartphones. It can be used to locate a missing phone, lock it down, or wipe it completely. You’ll need a Samsung account and the Remote Controls options enabled on the device.
Cerberus Anti-theft is a really cool app that offers remote access and control, allowing the user to obtain more information regarding the whereabouts of the device. The service provides a number of additional features, such as screenshots of what the device is doing, photos from the camera to possibly catch the thief, and other, more detailed notifications. If the device is rooted, there is an option that prevents someone from resetting or turning off the device until it is recovered. Another advanced feature allows you to hide Cerberus in the app drawer so that it can’t be detected if and when the device is lost or stolen.
Prey Anti Theft is an application that helps you find a variety of lost or stolen devices: Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Ubuntu, or MAC. The basic version can be downloaded for free and can be used for three devices. Their business plan promises to monitor and organize all laptops, phones, and tablets within an organization, while also guarding their data against loss.
Since mobile device use in the workplace has become the norm, having best practices in place can help keep any company safe from data theft. Giving the employees the tools to be more productive often means they also need to be trained to manage the risks of using those valuable tools.