Mobile Security Threatens Company Data

a pile of papers sitting on top of each other

According to CIO magazine, a Gartner analyst two years ago pointed to the “growing shortage of cybersecurity resources” and how those impending threats to company data continue to grow:

“Companies are worse off by 100% (with cybersecurity) compared to 10 years ago because the world is more complicated now…Companies have definitely raised the cybersecurity bar, but criminals can keep going higher than the bar.”

BYOD brings security risks to company data

Unfortunately, employees unwittingly connect to Wi-Fi hotspots that are traditionally not safe, from coffee shops and restaurants to airports and hotels. Instead, device users should connect through a virtual private network (VPN), one of the many services an experienced MSP can offer. 

Gartner’s prediction provides that clarion calls for businesses with remote, cloud operations to address these ‘new’ security risks, particularly with the incorporation of mobile devices (BYOD) in the workplace.

“When employees connect to public WiFi without using a VPN app, they put their company’s data at risk,” notes the head of Avast Software’s mobile division.

Global survey: More than half of SMBs use in-office/remote employees

 A global survey of IT pros found that “fifty-eight percent of SMBs now have a mix of in-office and remote employees.” What’s more, those employees are working 2 to 3 days a week from home.

Even more reason for SMBs to consider using a managed service provider ( MSP) for mobile-device management. MSPs utilize a set of protocols and platforms to mitigate risks associated with the proliferation of BYODs.

In addition, a seasoned pro, like BluWater, can manage a company’s firewall, antivirus, and application upgrades/updates—and even conduct a vulnerability assessment of a company’s, on-premise networks.  

Contact us today. We can help you implement a  BYOD strategy that fits your needs. Companies rely on us to provide them with the security and scalability to make them successful now and in the future. 

Cisco: IT Decision Makers Challenged with Mobile Security and Compliance

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The digital landscape is alive with change, particularly when it comes to the proliferation of mobile devices (BYOD) in the workplace. The dawning of this phenomenon began as far back as 2009, when the phrase first took hold, becoming, as CIO notes, the ‘New Normal’ in 2013:

“CIOs can thank mobile device management vendors for pushing their messages of compliance to business users and, as a result, helping bring IT into the discussion as a BYOD enabler.”

Cisco: More control of the cloud network is needed

In fact, a Cisco survey of 4,000 IT decision-makers worldwide noted the need for more control of the cloud network. Especially with the ever-increasing array of mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets in the workplace. 

However, along with this general acceptance of BYOD in the workplace, 82 percent of those surveyed were concerned about compliance and security requirements.

Follow the ‘moving’ mobile device!

For example, aligning departmental needs with a company’s BYOD policies creates new challenges. If an employee who uses his/her own mobile device switches to a new device, how is sensitive info to be tracked and stored? Worse, what happens to that data if the person leaves the company?

Cisco notes savings with BYOD in the workplace

Are these concerns lessened when the economic metric is added in? According to a recent Forbes overview on BYOD devices, Cisco notes a typical savings of $350 annually…per employee.

Still, concerns persist about ‘security’ when it comes to mobile strategies. As Forbes notes:

“Security is one concern for there are undeniable risks in permitting employees’ access to corporate resources from personal devices. The dangers posed by malicious applications and viruses will discourage many organizations from implementing BYOD.”

Contact us to learn how our managed services can help protect your cloud network. We really focus on your business needs before recommending our managed service options—clients love our proactive approach.

Top 5 Mobile Device Security Protocols for Organizations

a person sitting at a desk with a cell phone

More and more organizations are allowing their staff to rely on portable smart devices in order to conduct official business. With 24-hour, on-the-spot access to key information and business tools, portable devices offer astounding amounts of flexibility and convenience — enabling employers to access their organization from anywhere. That said, the question must be asked, is enough being done to ensure mobile device security?

In this post, we will outline 5 tips to consider regarding corporate mobile use.

Updating Mobile Device Security Policies 

Whether an organization writes their own security policies or if they outsource their IT services to third-party, corporate leaders need to make sure their written security policies address specific issues regarding mobile use. Not only does this force companies to sit down and seriously consider all the ramifications of mobile data access, but it also lets staff members know that IT security policies are not just “office-only” policies to follow.

Protect What’s Really Important 

By updating corporate security policies, it becomes obvious that what businesses are really protecting is the data that employees might access. No one is going to write up a security policy regarding the potential loss of a mobile device that cost a few hundred dollars. From the top down, everyone needs to clearly understand that following mobile usage policies is about data, not simple device breakage.

Mobile Device Security  

There is security software specifically available for mobile devices. Companies must ensure that any mobile device their employees use, whether company or personally owned, has professional security software installed and updated regularly.

Scrambling the Data

Along with mobile security, there are also mechanisms available that will scramble, or encrypt, phone data such as contact lists, emails, text messages, etc. Companies should check with those handling their IT operations to ensure encryption software is installed on all corporate mobile devices.

Consider Bluetooth Access

Many people don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about what it really means to have Bluetooth-enabled devices. They don’t know that:

  • Most new devices come with Bluetooth enabled
  • Anyone nearby could potentially connect to their mobile device
  • Whether using Bluetooth for personal or business reasons, if it’s on, it’s on.

Bluetooth can be a very useful feature that allows one to take hands-free calls, texts, etc. but it is also very difficult to remember to manually turn it off when not in use. Companies need to seriously consider whether to allow their employees to use Bluetooth at all or at least use security software that addresses Bluetooth use.

If you would like to know more about developing comprehensive security policies regarding employee mobile usage, please contact us.

Welcome to the World of the New 5G Phones

a woman in glasses is looking at her cell phone

Welcome to the world of new 5G phones, expected to greet the masses in the United States by 2023. 5G phones, also known as fifth-generation cell phones, aim to raise the quality of service as well as expand the range of service by 2023.

5G technology will improve data and communication speeds for both the average consumer and automated services. The new and exciting 5G technology will also increase accessibility with affordable prices and an expanded service range. 

Welcome to the World of New 5G Phones

The 3rd Generation Partnership project that organized the third generation (3G) roll-out in 1998 is developing the industry standards for the fifth generation, which are outlined in a document known as Release 15, or REL-15. These standards will allow vendors and companies to conduct complex tests with more advanced equipment. 

These changes will also bring about far faster data and communication services. Users can expect reduced lag times for cloud data as well as video streaming, such as Netflix. However, these improved speeds aren’t solely for the benefit of consumers. Software services, such as automated text messages, are another driving force behind these upgraded rates. 

5G will have three various service classes, tailored to specific business and consumer needs.

  1. Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) will provide service speeds of close to 1GBps in densely populated areas, such as cities and metropolitan areas. 
  2. Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC) will encourage Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, without clogging up servers for the everyday consumer. 
  3. Ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications (URLLC) edge-to-edge computing and critical computing where bandwidth is not as much of a concern. This is crucial in vehicles on the road, where delayed reaction times can lead to severe injuries or death in an accident. 

The new and exciting world of 5G phones will improve speeds, expand the range of these services, and implement three specific service classes tailored for the needs of different users and areas.

The future is just around the corner, with a third of the United States predicted to have fifth-generation cellular technology in their purses and pockets by 2023. 

Get IT Tips, stay up to date on the latest technology, and more all over on our blog. To learn more about Bluwater Technologies and our services please contact us

Computer Tip of the Day – The New USB Restricted Mode for iOS

a person using a tablet on a table

Many people use their iPhones or iPads to conduct business while on the go.  While these types of devices offer great convenience and flexibility, they are often more prone to theft and potential hacking outside of an employee’s place of work.  If you use an iPad or iPhone for job-related activities, read on to learn more about what Apple’s USB restricted mode feature entails and how to access it.

What is USB Restricted Mode?

Apple recently added a new security feature to their iOS. It prevents anyone from attempting to connect to one of their iPad or iPhone devices from a USB device. This feature can come into play when the device has been locked for more than an hour. Or an hour from the time the device was last disconnected from a trusted USB accessory.  Essentially this reduces an Apple device to a dumb battery pack. It also does not allow it to be recognized as a smart device.  No data communication is allowed while the device is in USB-restricted mode.

The Right iOS

For those who find this feature appealing, you’ll have to make sure you have the right iOS.  To check to see what iOS your device is currently using, go under Settings > General > Software Update. If you are currently using Apple’s iOS 11.4.1 then you can use the USB-restricted mode feature.  If not, then you’ll need to download the latest iOS to have access to it.

How Do I Engage Restricted Mode?

If you have the proper iOS and want to see whether or not the USB restricted mode is applied to your device, click on “Settings”, then “Passcode”.  Enter your password when instructed to do so.  On the right, you should see a section entitled, “Allow Access When Locked”.  The last option listed should be, “USB Accessories”.  If you don’t want to allow USB access when your device is locked, then you should disable or turn off this feature.

If you would like more computer tips on how to safely engage in work-related activities while on the go, please contact us.