5 mobile security tips for small business owners
Mobile devices have now become our new best friend. As small business owners, your dependence on mobile devices is even greater than the average person. In addition to the typical uses, you rely on your mobile devices also for getting work done on the go, managing your business and even processing payments. Since you use mobile devices for everything, they have both a high financial and emotional value and therefore losing them, or the information on it, can be a serious hassle and risk to your business.
The growing popularity and reliance on mobile devices has led cybercriminals to see them as a new frontier for attack. Be it an Apple or an Android mobile device, hackers are now increasingly targeting these for making quick financial gains. While one may be more liked by hackers than the other, it is important to note here that the basic security threats are common across both mobile platforms.
As a business owner, you've invested a huge chunk of your time, money, and energy to make your business work. You really don’t want to risk losing it simply because you, or your employees, failed to use basic security measures to protect your mobile device.
Here are a few essential security measures you should consider to protect your Apple or Android device:
Lost and stolen devices continue to be number-one mobile threat. Safeguard your mobile device against this risk by using a difficult-to-guess passcode using the password-protection feature of the device. Also make sure you configure your device to automatically lock after a short period of inactivity.
Passcode-based lock may seem inconvenient, but is extremely useful to protect your information in the event your device falls into the wrong hands. To overcome the inconvenience and for faster access, you may consider using the device’s fingerprint-sensing system for unlocking it. Even after all these, take due care of your device and never leave it unattended.
Hackers work diligently to discover new vulnerabilities in apps or the operating system of the mobile devices and try to use it for their benefit without your knowledge. Device manufacturers and app developers frequently update their software to fix newly exploited security gaps, but if you don’t download and install these updates you continue to be vulnerable.
Install updates to the device operating system and apps in a timely manner. You might prefer to be advised of updates rather than having them automatically installed, but it is important you install the updates in timely manner.
Mobile malware is continuously on the rise and is a significant security threat for mobile users. Malicious software, aka malware, often sneaks in by imitating innocent looking apps that the mobile device users are tricked into installing from untrustworthy websites. A recent sophisticated Android attack, which steals banking details and thwarts the security features of 20 mobile banking apps from Australia, New Zealand and Turkey is just one example of this.
Install apps on your mobile device only from trusted sources, preferably from official app stores like Google Play or Apple App Store. They are very careful about what apps they make available and will withdraw apps that raise concerns after release. Before downloading, check the app’s rating and read reviews to make sure they are widely used and respected.
Generally apps declare the permissions they require when you install them. The app tells you what it requires to access, and you can grant it or deny it. This includes permission to access camera, contacts information, monitoring the location etc.
Always check the permissions an app is requesting before you grant any access to it. If the permissions it is asking for don't make sense, or if it is asking for more control than you are comfortable giving, consider not downloading that particular app. In addition, check your device’s privacy and security settings occasionally to review the access your installed apps have to your system settings and personal information.
Most mobile devices run only software that their operating system trusts and impose privilege restrictions. Annoying as these restrictions may seem, they exist for a good reason. Jailbreaking an Apple phone enables it to run untrusted software, which is much more likely to carry a harmful virus. Rooting an Android device to gain root access exposes it to harmful apps gaining unnecessary privileges on the device.
As a result, a lot of financial apps, including Dream’s MPOS app, prevent the use of their apps on jaibroken / rooted devices. Be aware of these risks and refrain from jailbreaking or rooting your device.
By just taking a few minutes to follow these easy to implement security tips, you can feel confident that you’re safeguarding your privacy and data across your mobile devices.