“Users are lax when it comes to securing their devices, using weak passcodes, or none at all, and not encrypting the data that they contain… [making] it much easier for data-stealing malware to be introduced onto a device.” – Fran Howarth, Security Industry Analyst
Are you equally as security conscious about protecting the data on your mobile device as you are on a laptop or desktop device? Or, do you assume that no one will bother to steal your mobile device to gain access to your company’s sensitive data? The 2016 statistics quoted by Emily Johnson of DarkReading.com show that the cause of many of today’s data security breaches is an employee’s mobile phone. These statistics are in stark contrast to the 2015 findings that less than 1% of the total security breaches were conducted via a mobile device.
Data Theft: A case study
The best way to describe an example of a data breach is to cite an actual example that happened to an unnamed company a couple of years ago. For the purpose of this article, we shall name the business, Company X.
Company X is a global high-fashion retailer that needs to study the latest trends at least one year to eighteen months in advance. Consequently, the retail managers travel the globe on a regular basis, attending trade fairs and fashion shows. They bring back information and collate it into a Book of Trends that the buyers use to plan what fashion items to purchase for the next couple of seasons. It goes without saying that this book of trends is vital to the company’s continued success and if it gets stolen and sold to the competition, the business might end up closing. Furthermore, since Company X decided to move to a paperless system, this valuable information is available on the company’s intranet.
On an average work day, management statistics showed a rapid drop in sales figures for the previous month; thus, alerting senior management to the fact that there might have been a security breach. They employed an external security expert who followed the digital trail of evidence and discovered that a valuable member of staff had copied the entire trends book onto her Galaxy smartphone and sold it to the opposition for a large sum of money.
Ways to prevent sensitive data from being stolen
The case study mentioned above shows the importance of ensuring that employees do not have unrestricted, undocumented access to sensitive data via their smartphones. Furthermore, a study conducted by Kensington shows that most small to medium businesses do not have adequate security policies in place. Ergo, “the cost of recovering from a single corporate data breach has nearly doubled from 2005, going from $3.3 million to $7.2 million in 2010.”
Therefore, here are three important tips to ensure that all sensitive data is protected on your mobile device:
- Implement a company-wide security policy.
- Keep an audit trail of users and devices who access company data at all times and for any reason.
- Encrypt your data and make sure that your networks are kept up to date at all times.