Mobile Device Security for the Remote Workforce

COVID-19 has dramatically increased the remote workforce, causing hackers to target mobile devices more than ever. Here are the top 8 tips to improve mobile device security.

COVID-19 increased the remote workforce from 17 percent of U.S. employees to a staggering 44 percent. Suddenly, millions of people began to use their unsecured personal devices for work, unwittingly putting themselves and their companies at risk for data exposure. While the return of the traditional workday commute remains uncertain for many, there’s no doubt these mobile device security tips will protect your sensitive information now.

1. Use multi-factor authentication.

MFA is an extra step between a malicious actor and your (or your employer’s) data. The more layers in place, the less likely a security incident will occur.

2. Password-protect your user account and ensure you’re the only one with administrative privileges.

Keeping the physical security of your mobile devices in mind is easy to overlook, but no less critical than Internet security. A thief who steals an unsecured device could access each service you are logged into at the time, as well as your private apps and files.

3. Turn off Wi-Fi auto-join.

Connecting to a public network without your knowledge could expose your device’s traffic or data. Check your device settings to toggle this feature off.

4. Customize security and privacy settings.

Access to your location, camera, microphone, contacts, and photos should be disabled for all unnecessary services and apps. For additional privacy, you can disable analytics to prevent app developers from sharing data on your app usage.

5. Use a firewall.

Firewalls do not come default on most smartphones, but they are an option. Check your phone’s native app store for services that can help you manage Internet traffic and access.

6. Set up a VPN.

Turn on your phone’s VPN setting to ensure all data traffic is routed through an encrypted virtual tunnel.

7. Update, update, update.

Don’t hit snooze on your reminder to update your system. Developers like Microsoft, Apple, and Google publish updates to patch identified weaknesses in their operating systems. Without these, your mobile device carries forward vulnerabilities known to malicious actors.

8. Participate in user awareness training.

If your company offers it, pay attention to the content. It could help you identify social engineering attacks, like phishing, avoid sneaky malware, and keep your company and personal information private.