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Keeping Your Smartphone Data Safe in the Age of Remote Work by@dmytro-spilka

Keeping Your Smartphone Data Safe in the Age of Remote Work

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Dmytro Spilka Hacker Noon profile picture

Dmytro Spilka

Dmytro is the founder of Solvid and Pridicto. Featured in Hackernoon, TechRadar and Entreprepreneur.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve become accustomed to working more remotely than ever. For many of us, this has meant that we’re increasingly using our smartphones to complete and share work, communicate with our teams and clients, and share data. With this new level of dependence on our handheld devices, it’s more important than ever to ensure that our smartphones are secure and safe from prying eyes. 

As many businesses undergo the digital transformation necessary to adapt to more remote working practices, an issue of security is beginning to emerge among distributed workforces. Away from the security of office servers and company-wide intranet structures, it’s becoming harder to ensure that confidential information stays private. 

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(Image: Spanning)

As the data above shows, instances of data breaches and identity theft have increased significantly over the past decade. For many businesses, the financial burden of compromised data can be astronomical - and with employees utilising their smartphones via insecure connections to conduct their business, the threat of security breaches can be far higher. 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at how businesses can encourage employees to better look after their data securely while on the go: 

Utilise VPNs in Insecure Locations

We’ve become accustomed to transferring private data over WiFi networks on a daily basis. It’s for this reason that it’s vital to ensure that the information sent and received is done so in a secure and confidential manner. Virtual private networks, better known as VPNs can be perfect for actioning this. 

VPNs work to establish secure WiFi connections that can mask your smartphone’s IP address - effectively hiding your location and identity from those who may be interested in peering into your actions. 

This extra layer of security can also make it much less likely that cybercriminals can gain access to your sensitive information that’s being shared with colleagues or clients over WiFi connections - particularly if you’re using a public network in, say, a coffee shop or on a train. 

There are also many popular VPN services that offer bespoke smartphone coverage to ensure that data never falls into the wrong hands - both on a personal level or enterprise level. 

Exercise Caution with Applications

Whether your smartphone is a business phone or a personal handset that you’ve become accustomed to using for business purposes in the wake of the pandemic, it’s vital that you spend a little time checking the demands of applications before hitting the ‘download’ button. 

It can be tempting to breeze through requirements pages in a bid to gain access to an app faster, but given that you’re consenting to the application accessing various parts of your smartphone, it’s particularly important to study what you’re signing up for when using a device that also possesses private information

It’s also important to be cautious around more commonplace applications like web browsers because it can be far too easy to accept qualification messages that pop up when online. Although clicking to agree to save user details, passwords and account information when logging into websites may seem convenient, it also represents an extra place in which your private data is accessible. 

Be sure to pay attention to potential security warnings that can be displayed when viewing certain websites - particularly if you’re accessing them on open wireless networks. Any pages that require the entry of data like a username, password or account details should always possess encrypted protocols to protect the information being submitted. This can be verified by the presence of an ‘s’ at the end of ‘http’ at the beginning of the webpage URL. 

Embrace Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Mobile Device Management (MDM) enables businesses to manage their devices and roll out apps and software updates from a central location. These tools can be largely helpful for companies that offer Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs whilst aiming to ensure that employee smartphones don’t leave them vulnerable to online threats. 

Many cyber threats can make their way into a network because of user errors which are often simply honest mistakes. Workers may not always understand that by downloading a simple app, they could be leaving their device vulnerable to having its sensitive data stolen. 

By restricting the sensitivity of data that employees can access on their mobiles, it’s possible for businesses to better manage what employees can see and interact with. Samsung, for instance, offers an MDM service that enables employers to list themselves as administrators, giving them the ability to limit or allow individual apps on the smartphones of employees. 

Although the age of the new normal has opened up a new series of challenges for businesses, technology has developed to the point where we can suitably protect our smartphones from security breaches - making them a safe and efficient device to drive the work from home revolution.

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