Mobile Device Security Is Critical (Especially in the Wake of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Issues)


If you pay attention to the news, by now you’ve certainly heard about the fiasco surrounding Samsung’s latest mobile device, the Galaxy Note 7. Yes, it’s a crazy scenario: more than a hundred of the newly released devices, which were meant to compete with the fresh iPhone 7, spontaneously burst into flames after overheating while being charged.

In light of that, Samsung decided to recall every single Galaxy Note 7 smartphone sold—more than 1 million of 2.5 million originally produced—and replace them with new devices. But then those replacement phones also started catching fire, which led Samsung to stop all sales and shipments of the Note 7, provide refunds and exchanges to customers, and enact a total recall of all Note 7 devices. Although everyone keeps talking about a final cost to the global corporation of at least $5 billion (and a devastating blow to Samsung’s reputation), we can’t help thinking about the personal data and sensitive information contained on all those phones shipped back to Samsung.

This is an unusual case, of course—unprecedented in the history of mobile devices. But it has also made a lot of non-Samsung users feel overly confident in not only their choice of a smartphone but also the security of those phones. And if we’ve learned anything in 2016, a year in which data breaches, ransomware attacks, system hacks, and surprising online security threats have dominated the news, it’s that no computer, laptop, server, network, or mobile device is ever truly safe.

This is why the recent Samsung news should serve as a reminder that all of us—executives, IT heads, and employees alike—can pay closer attention to the security of our phones. With nearly 80% of companies surveyed by CompTIA for an Enterprise Mobility study last year deploying mobile devices to employees but only 30% of them implementing standardized policies and procedures, the possibility of problems is high. Below are a few tips that all businesses can put into action.

1) Do more with less. Like most up-to-date technology, mobility solutions can be expensive. From device integration to remote support to application development to simply buying the phones and tablets in the first place, this segment of the IT world often requires specialized skills, updated infrastructure, and increased bandwidth that many small firms may not possess. A trusted IT partner can secure what you need to manage your mobile devices—at a price you can afford.

2) Place an equal weight on employee needs and security constraints. Mobile device use can empower employees to work in more efficient and productive ways—but it can also place a strain on existing service capabilities. Whether you have one IT employee who’s stretched thin by mobility’s new demands or a nonexistent IT department with no idea how to properly manage and maintain devices in today’s rapidly changing mobile security landscape, CMIT Solutions can provide the support needed to move forward into the future.

3) Implement workflows that let employees and devices reach their full potential. So you’ve got a fleet of mobile devices ready to be deployed—and a handful of employees ready to use them. But are everyone’s email accounts, contact books, and calendars properly synced? Are network connections and backup options properly activated? Are security measures in place before a phone becomes an employee’s lifeline while traveling for work? Handing out new devices to staff members is a great feeling—making sure they work correctly feels even better.

4) Take a good, hard look at BYOD. 55% of U.S. companies surveyed for CompTIA’s recent study have implemented some form of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies—and most of those provide devices while also allowing employees to supply their own. BYOD opens a wide range of potential problems, however, including data and email encryption, cybersecurity threats, and cloud-based backup issues. Having a strategy to address those areas of concern before an employee starts using his or her own device for work is critical.

5) Know how to wipe and reset devices when necessary. Another thing to consider when examining the pros and cons of BYOD is what happens when an employee leaves the company. Smartphones and tablets save crucial information—location-based GPS coordinates; contact details; call, message, email, and web browsing history; personal photos and passwords; even health-related information. All of this can be compromised if a phone is stolen or improperly discarded—and all of it can put your business at risk thanks to one bad decision by one rogue employee. Ensuring you use the highest level of security when wiping and reformatting mobile devices is a crucial part of the mobility puzzle.

The “new normal” is approximately three devices for each employee—a desktop at the office, along with a laptop and a mobile phone for the road. But as mobility capabilities exponentially expand, you’ll want to put the advantages of mobile devices used to work for your company while avoiding the problems and pitfalls that come with it.

At CMIT Solutions, we specialize in mobile device management packages designed to keep business technology running smoothly and data secure, all with regular, predictable pricing that allows business owners to budget their burgeoning mobility solutions with confidence. Contact us today to find out more.

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