With 12.1 billion mobile devices expected to be in use around the world by 2018, employees inevitably are bringing their own smart phones and tablets to work and want to use them.[1] This has led companies to develop “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies to govern the use of personal mobile devices in the workplace. It is expected that 50% of the world’s employers will have a BYOD policy in place by 2018.[2]

However, this approach is not entirely without risk or costs. Mobile devices expose company networks to many kinds of cyberattacks, including device, network and app-based malware. The 2016 Mobile Threat Intelligence Report found that one-third of executive devices had been exposed to network attacks in the first quarter of 2016, and more than 20% of those devices contained mobile malware.[3]

Both company proprietary apps and general business apps can be vulnerable to ransomware, spear-phishing attacks, network attacks, app hacks and authentication capture threats. Mobile threats are increasing in volume and complexity and are hard to detect, so a company’s cybersecurity measures must be equally sophisticated to protect business interests.

More companies are incorporating mobile cybersecurity protocols to strengthen their information security platform and network protection. Some of the steps being adopted include:[4]

  • Educate employees – Half of all users still click on attachments or links from unknown senders, despite widespread efforts to spread the knowledge that this could expose devices to a virus.[5] Employees need ongoing reinforcement and information about device security to ensure proper protocols are followed.
  • Conduct a risk threat assessment – Evaluate your BYOD policy, existing security protocols and network security to determine vulnerabilities and steps needed to address risks.
  • Monitor networks for spear-phishing – Check similar user names or other anomalies created to enable an attack into a network.
  • Adopt Mobile Device Management (MDM) – Integrating and monitoring MDM into a network enables mobile devices to be locked down or remotely wiped of data.
  • Inspect and update devices – Regular inspections can reveal irregularities that open the door to malware, including older software or user modifications such as removing personal identification numbers (PINs) or MDM software.
  • Encryption – Isolating and encrypting company data on a mobile device can protect it from being stolen if the device is attacked.

[1] “BYOD & Mobile Security: 2016 Spotlight Report,” by Crowd Research Partners, 2016. Available at: http://www.crowdresearchpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/BYOD-and-Mobile-Security-Report-2016.pdf

[2] “BYOD & Mobile Security: 2016 Spotlight Report,” by Crowd Research Partners, 2016. Available at: http://www.crowdresearchpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/BYOD-and-Mobile-Security-Report-2016.pdf

[3] “What You Need to Know About Mobile Malware,” by Brandy Cross, Threatsketch.com, 2016. Available at: https://threatsketch.com/need-know-mobile-malware-threats/

[4] “What You Need to Know About Mobile Malware,” by Brandy Cross, Threatsketch.com, 2016. Available at: https://threatsketch.com/need-know-mobile-malware-threats/

[5] “One in two users click on links from unknown senders,” Freidrich Alexander Universitat (Germany) blog post, Aug. 25, 2016. Available at: https://www.fau.eu/2016/08/25/news/research/one-in-two-users-click-on-links-from-unknown-senders/

This news is provided as a service to you by Marlin Business Services Corp., a nationwide leader in commercial lending solutions for the U.S. small business sector. Marlin’s equipment financing and loan programs are available directly and through third-party vendor programs, including manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers, to deliver financing and working capital that help build your success.