Many IT departments are fighting to constrain the use of both company owned and employee owned mobile devices that are used for business use. Although it can aid productivity for mobile working without a strain on financial pressures the risk of losing corporate data is significantly high if these devices are not data protected.

 

The mobile phone is one of the most popular items for theft when outside so corporate information held on them are highly vulnerable for attack.

 

For the modern working professional who is also a mobile worker, their office is most often a coffee shop in their local town, a seat on a train or even their home. With this flexibility for mobile working data protection has never been so important. Flexibility comes with risks such as defending the computer again viruses to avoid corporate information being available to a sophisticated hacker in your local Starbucks.

 

More and more users are by-passing corporate guidelines as they struggle to find the work-life balance. As soon as these devices are used and not protected they are opening a Pandora’s box of data protection concerns.

 

So how can corporate information be kept safe when outside the office? Basic security protection is no longer enough?

 

Ensure you have data encryption on laptops

 

One of the first steps to ensure data is kept secure is to make it completely impossible for hackers to retrieve information from a laptop. Letting vital information slip out of an employee’s hand can cause devastating results to a company’s reputation. For this reason data encryption has become important.

 

Use passwords on boot up and in the bios

 

The majority of laptop users have passwords on boot up and when their screen is locked but have you considered the BIOS? The second step a hacker will take when trying to get into a laptop is to try and boot up the computer from outside the hard drive and that will include memory sticks and CD’s. You can make this very difficult for the hacker. By changing the order of boot can make it virtually impossible to hack into the computer.

 

Change the passwords periodically

 

All employees including mobile workers should be educated to reset their passwords on a regular basis and also use ‘hard to predict’ passwords. The majority of us use a pet’s name, date of birth and other personal information as passwords and it is the use of these passwords that is making it very easy for the hacker. You may as well not use a password as these common passwords are already available to be exploited. Remember this kind of information is readily available from social networking websites. All it takes is a little bit of research.

 

Educate mobile working employees on the risks attached to public Wi-Fi networks

 

Bear in mind there are plenty of tools available to hackers to help them attack public Wi-Fi networks. Therefore it is worth ensuring all employees are taking precautions when they are sending any sensitive information in a public area. This can include but not limited to emails, searches and client information. As an added precaution mobile workers should ensure their emails are sent through a VPN (an encrypted channel). This should be the only possible route in which to receive emails.