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4 Essential BYOD Security Measures

4 Essential BYOD Security Measures

When it comes to securing work data, mobile devices can leave the door wide open for cybercriminals looking to steal sensitive information. Smartphones and tablets can also serve as weak points if employees unknowingly leak data or lose their hardware. Mobile devices can be much harder for IT departments to secure than your typical office desktop computer, since these gadgets follow us out into the field, on business trips and out to conferences. If your company is reliant on mobile tech for internal communications, here are four ways to be proactive about security.

1. Install mobile updates.

Mobile operating systems are constantly being updated to address vulnerabilities in previous version releases. Apple's iOS 8.1.1 update is a relevant current example. This version addresses several Lock Screen, Spotlight, and other system weak points that could compromise the security of your accounts and your data. Jailbreak group PanguTeam was credited for, and thanked by, Apple for alerting the tech company of the three vulnerabilities that were addressed in this update.

Related: BYOD Is the Corporate Norm But Data Security Lags Far Behind

2. Don't permit jailbroken devices.

Apple's closed system might seem like a nuisance to some users, but it can be a major boon for companies that want to keep their data secure. Users with jailbroken devices gain the flexibility of installing unauthorized or unofficial apps and features onto their devices. However, these unregulated apps can contain malicious features. It's important for companies to enforce a no-jailbreak policy, especially in environments that rely on Bring Your Own Device strategies.

3. Use MDM solutions.

Mobile Device Management services can be a great way to secure smartphones and tablets over-the-air while keeping track of your inventory. You can create custom user profiles to load onto specific devices, allowing your company to image in-house technology quickly. Your IT department can also define security settings for in-house network connections, wireless printing, "open in" app management and resource access. MDM is also a great way to manage work content on BYOD devices, allowing you to push relevant apps, updates and work materials to your employees wirelessly. You can also un-enroll users remotely if they leave your company, automatically removing managed work apps from their devices. This will prevent former employees from accessing sensitive company data.

Related: The Threat Lurking in Bringing Your Own Device to Work

4. Enforce passwords.

Mobile devices that do not have complex passcode protection are a significant weak point for your company's data security. For example, what happens if an employee leaves an unlocked tablet on a train before work? Someone who finds the device could suddenly access your company's address book, correspondences and other internal systems. You can reduce the risk of unauthorized intrusions by enforcing passcode usage on work devices. It's possible to set rules regarding passcodes via MDM.

How safe are your company's mobile devices? If you haven't enacted proactive security measures for your work tablets and smartphones yet, then it's time to work with your IT department to address these needs. As mobile devices become increasingly relevant in the workplace, companies will need to brace themselves for unintentional data leaks, malware and potential attacks.

Related: 5 Ways to Encourage BYOD and Keep Your Company Data Secure