Mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, are now a regular part of the workplace. In a recent article on mobile workforce security, IT Pro Portal discusses the spread of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, with companies increasingly expecting employees to use a variety of computing devices, including their own smartphones and tablets.
On one hand, the use of mobile devices for work purposes can encourage greater flexibility, communication, and productivity. On the other hand, a number of companies still restrict or reject phone and tablet use, along with a BYOD approach more generally, because of serious security concerns.
If your employees use an iPhone or iPad at least part of the time for work-related purposes, what are some of the ways to improve device security?
- Use authorized apps in secure ways. Apps may be risky, because they're vulnerable to malicious exploitation or may easily expose your company's data. Companies should set firm, clear guidelines for the apps employees are allowed to use for work. There are also ways to wall off your company's apps from other software on a private device, providing enhanced protection to corporate data. Furthermore, you can rely on per-app Virtual Private Network (VPN) to strengthen security when transmitting data to and from a given app.
- Strengthen your passcode. You don't have to limit yourself to six digits. You can opt for a custom alphanumeric code with increased complexity and length. In addition to your complex passcode, you can enable Touch ID, which allows your device to identify you by your fingerprint. Also, two-factor authentication can further strengthen security and prevent unauthorized device access.
- Make sure the lock screen doesn't disclose your data. You can disable the ability to view notifications on the lock screen, and the ability to interact with Siri. As much as possible, limit the information that unauthorized individuals can extract from a device through the lock screen.
- Avoid public networks and their weak protections. Employees may work from hotels, conference centers, other offices, cafes, and on public transportation. All of these locations offer unprotected or poorly protected Wi-Fi. And if they work from home, their home Wi-Fi may also not meet your company's security standards. Setting up a VPN is one key solution for protecting device activities and contents from hackers.
- Respond quickly in the event of a lost or stolen device. Apple offers a few solutions for a device that's misplaced or possibly stolen. You can put the device in "lost mode," which can lock it down. It's also possible to wipe out data from the device remotely, if you adjusted the settings beforehand.
- Make it more difficult for third parties to track your device and gather information about your activities. Facebook and Twitter may want to know your device's location, and advertisers and other third parties may want to gather information about your Internet activities. There are ways of restricting access to third parties who want to glean data from devices. For example, you can use ad-blockers and change browser settings to limit cookies.
- Change auto-lock settings. You can adjust the window of time so that it's shorter, decreasing the chances that your data will remain exposed should you misplace your device or lose it to theft.
While it's important not to become complacent about cyber security, it's worth noting that Apple's security features are generally well-regarded, and the company offers mobile device management solutions and various ways to reduce the risk of unauthorized intrusions. Taking advantage of these features and educating employees about safer device use can significantly enhance your company's security and better protect your mobile workforce.
Don't hesitate to contact us for further assistance with optimizing the use of iPhones and iPads for your employees.