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Mobile Device Security in the Small Business Environment: Part 3

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 2/4/2011

The ability to "go mobile" is almost a necessity in today's business environment. Whether you have a simple work cell phone or a Blackberry and laptop, the convenience of having a mobile device for work purposes cannot be overstated. Consequently, securing those devices should not be overlooked.

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    Security Options for Mobile Devices

    Human carelessness aside, the time may come when your mobile device falls into the wrong hands. When and if this happens, you want to be sure that whatever sensitive information you had stored on the device is protected. Here are a few ways this can be accomplished.

    First off, if you have the ability to password protect your mobile device, do it! Sure it can be annoying to have to constantly enter a password but the benefit far outweighs the "inconvenience." You’ll be glad you did should the device suddenly disappear. Always make sure you follow good password practices. Check out BrightHub managing editor Brett Callow's article, "Choosing Strong Passwords" for some great tips. Granted, a strong password may not be enough to prevent someone from pulling sensitive data from your mobile device but it's a good deterrent. If this individual was looking to work quickly, gather data, then ditch the device, a strong password may be enough to frustrate them into quickly giving up. If they do end up ditching the device it might even be recovered.

    If your primary mobile device is a laptop you might consider drive encryption. Software applications such as Windows Vista’s BitLocker and MacAfee’s Endpoint Encryption (formerly SafeBoot which MacAfee acquired in late 2007) offer full hard disk encryption. This not only prevents unauthorized access to your password protected system but offers added piece of mind if the drive itself is pulled from the laptop. If the drive is fully encrypted it’s close to impossible to pull data from it by installing it in another laptop or PC.

    For extra protection on your smart phones, companies like Blackberry and Apple (iPhone) offer remote wiping capabilities for their devices. This means if your device is lost or stolen, the contents can be completely wiped. Of course this means the device must still be turned on and within range of the cellular network. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you act quickly enough. Granted, you still won’t have your device but your information will be safe. More recently GPS capabilities have been added to many smart phones and a lost or stolen device can potentially be located by the service provider using the GPS technology.

    In conclusion, I simply want to reiterate that the push to go mobile is getting stronger. Businesses will continue to go mobile and as that happens, the security threats increase. Be vigilant in establishing the proper level of security on your mobile devices before deploying them into the public domain. Do this and you’ll sleep much better!

Mobile Device Security

The ability to "go mobile" is almost a necessity in today's business environment. Whether you have a simple work cell phone or a Blackberry and laptop, the convenience of having a mobile device for work purposes cannot be overstated. Consequently, securing those devices should not be overlooked.
  1. Mobile Device Security in the Small Business Environment: Part 1
  2. Mobile Device Security in the Small Business Environment: Part 2
  3. Mobile Device Security in the Small Business Environment: Part 3