June 9, 2023

Security Threats to Enterprise Mobility: The Ones You Know & The Ones You Don’t

The explosive growth in the use of mobile wireless devices has given our businesses unprecedented freedom to work anywhere, increasing productivity and responsiveness. However, it’s also expanded our network perimeter beyond the office to include homes, coffee shops, airports, taxis and other venues where devices are more vulnerable to cyberthreats.

In fact, cyberattacks are on the rise, with a 38 percent increase recorded from 2021 to 2022.

With 60 percent of knowledge workers now working remotely using mobile devices, we must rethink our cybersecurity strategies for mobile businesses. Let’s start with an overview of some of the most common threats to your mobile environment – the ones you know and the ones you should get to know.

Enterprise Mobility Security Threats You Know

Cyberattacks make the news nearly every day and are likely on your radar as threats to your mobile environment. These headline-worthy hacks include the following:

  • Hackers Hackers employ phishing attacks to breach private corporate networks, often by targeting employees using mobile devices. Mobile phishing attacks are designed for mobile devices and extend beyond email phishing to SMS (smishing), voice calls (vishing) and app-based phishing.
  • Device loss or theft Mobile devices used by your employees contain a wealth of private personal and corporate information, making the loss or them of those devices a significant threat to your organization.
  • Mobile applications Every time users download an app, they enable access to their device. If an app is not legitimate but instead malware or spyware, the device and any data it’s linked to are compromised.
  • Corporate espionage — Even when only “approved” people and devices can access a network, corporate espionage rears its ugly head. This insider threat occurs when protected data is made public or given to a third party without permission.

Enterprise Mobility Security Threats You Should Get to Know

In addition to these familiar security threats, there are several other, less publicized threats to your enterprise mobility environment. Take the following factors into account or risk opening the door to cyberattacks:

  • Cloud vulnerability Mobile security efforts have revolved around hardening devices as much as possible, but now the focus needs to shift to the cloud. Most of our data is typically stored in cloud applications like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspaces. Remote workers and workflows move your data in and out of the cloud every day, so protecting data in transit should be top of mind.
  • Lack of mobility knowledge Endpoint management applications to secure and protect mobile devices differ from those designed to protect laptops, desktops and servers. Many IT teams are well-equipped to secure traditional environments, but mobility requires a specific skill set and knowledge. Don’t mistakenly think your in-depth cybersecurity expertise automatically translates to the mobile environment – that will inevitably leave your systems and data exposed.
  • Lack of employee awareness Nearly all (95 percent) of cybersecurity issues can be traced to human error. As your employees increase their use of mobile and cloud apps, entry points to your network also increase. In response, security awareness training for your workers must also increase, especially to keep them aware of threats as they change and evolve.
  • Little or no policy enforcement Many businesses make the mistake of creating mobile device usage policies, recording them in a document and then forgetting about them – that is, if they even have policies in the first place. Continuous monitoring of your mobile landscape and enforcing policies governing use, password protection, app updates, etc., are vital to protecting your mobile environment.
  • Personal info transfer — One increasing security threat is when a business wipes corporate data from an unused device but unknowingly leaves the mobile users’ personal protected information (PII) intact. Sharing PII is a breach of the users’ security and also harmful to the company because of associated penalties. For example, businesses are subject to multimillion-dollar fines in states such as California and New York. Not knowing about the data transfer isn’t a valid defense; companies are penalized because they don’t have policies to protect against it.

Enterprise Mobility Security Strategies to Adopt

With the average cost of a business data breach exceeding $4 million globally and $9 million in the United States, the impact of mobility security attacks aren’t insubstantial. Employ the following tactics to prevent cyberattacks from causing your business significant financial loss and reputational damage.

  • Manage device inventory and logistics Devices and apps should be updated regularly, and all device resets should be systematic and thorough. vMOX, for example, puts every device through a full factory reset and provides data destruction certifications.
  • Ensure proper setup Many companies set up devices with forced registration, device-specific passcodes, or particular operating system (OS) versions to maximize control of what’s on the device from the start.
  • Employ stringent access control Devices should be configured with conditional access, following the certificate-based authentication or multifactor authentication policies implemented. Additionally, having a system that can kill the device remotely is crucial in guarding against device loss or theft.
  • Enforce policies Once policies on access control, passwords, usage, etc., are established, they must be audited and enforced continuously. A partner like vMOX can audit your application settings to ensure they comply with your policies.
  • Provide security awareness training Given the propensity for successful attacks to target your employees, one of the most critical investments in security should be training your employees on impending threats and how to report and respond to them.
  • Select partners carefully Remember that protecting your mobile environment differs significantly from the traditional methods of securing servers, desktops and laptops. Select partners knowledgeable in the ever-evolving mobility landscape and the sophisticated cybersecurity threats that come with it.

For all its business benefits, enterprise mobility also introduces security risks. If your mobile devices aren’t protected properly, it doesn’t matter how well you’ve secured your applications or servers. The only way to protect your data is to guard it when it’s at rest, when in transit and wherever it’s accessed. The threats are out there, and they’re evolving daily. 

Ready to enlist an experienced partner to help secure your enterprise mobility? Connect with a vMOX expert today. 

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