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6 Best Practices for Mobile Device Data Security

01.14.2014
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In the year 2013, mobile devices have faced a lot more threats than ever, including company data leakage, mobile-based viruses and more. Even a malware and spyware can easily target mobile devices and paired with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon on the go.

According to the recent study from HP shows that most mobile apps put your security and privacy at risk. In the study, HP reveals that 97% of the apps contained some sort of privacy issue. HP also found that 86% of the apps lack basic security measures and 75% fail to even properly encrypt data!

There is no denying that enterprise mobility and BYOD concept have brought convenience and enhanced productivity to the individual employee within an enterprise. However, it poses a range of security risks and challenges in terms of securing corporate networks and data. Moving data across different devices and network is rapidly increasing security risks to the corporate network and opens sensitive corporate or personal data to leaks and attacks.

Mobile data presents a unique challenge to the IT security teams within enterprises. So, how to overcome such security challenges associated with the mobile devices and data? Let's take a look at a few essential mobile security best practices

1. Device-level containers

 With the rapidly growing popularity of the BYOD concept, this solution would help enterprises to separate business and personal use of the mobile devices. It will help IT security managers to restrict the users accessing corporate apps and data out of the network premises of an enterprise. This way policy control apply only to what's in container, rather than entire mobile device. 

2. Leverage from the application management

Another best practice to ensure security of the data is to secure company information indirectly through application management. While Mobile Device Management (MDM) focuses on device activation, enrollment and provisioning, MAM (Mobile Application Management) focuses on software delivery. It will enable IT security managers to introduce a catalog of corporate developed apps and vetted third-party business productivity apps that are used by the employees to perform their task. 

One of the major benefits of MAM is that it enables administrators to update and potentially remove apps without having physically touch the device.

3. Encrypting data stored in mobile devices

Most of the time applications stores the data locally. A mobile device used to check emails without saved documents or a tablet used for remote desktop access may fail to store data without any robust protection. To curb this proper encryption of data stored is a must. You can take the steps like: 

  • Extend the aforementioned enrollment process in order to verify personal mobile devices against stored data encryption requirements.
  • Auto-configure enrolled devices in order to enable full device encryption and removable media encryption.
  • Utilize over-the-air device configuration monitoring in order to make sure continued compliance with all the stored data encryption policies. 

Most of the applications are written in languages like HTML5, Java or Objective C, which are easy to understand and breach the code by the hackers. Therefore, to avoid security breaches, it is important to consider encryption of the application code.

4. Securing the data over network

With the Bring Your Own Device concept, monitoring the usage of the mobile devices within and out of the organization has become crucial in order ensure secure data access. Also, there are chances that employee may lose the mobile device. 

To overcome such critical issues, it is important to implement remote data wipe for mobile devices. It would prevent all future use of business data and accounts stored within a mobile device. However, it is important to ensure that it doesn't affect the personal data over the mobile device.

5. Implement a private data center to store data & device authentication

 Rather than having data in a public platform, it is far better to set up and move all the data in a private data center or in a cloud platform where it is impossible to get access to the data without authentication. Also, you can implement device authentication in order to confirm unique identity of the physical device trying to access the data.

6. Distribution and management of apps

Most of the apps are distributed via Google play store or i tunes store. Instead having your own distributed center actually helps in securing your apps further. 

Apart from all these, one should also use anti-virus or anti-malware software or applications in order to protect mobile operating system and file system being corrupted. Also, monitoring mobile device activity and performing audit could help you secure data on the go. 

There is no denying that mobile operating systems have improved in terms of notifying users about the permissions an app is requesting, but still it is important to implement these few mobile device data protection best practices in order to leverage from the enterprise mobility and BYOD trends.

Original Article was first published on http://www.cygnet-infotech.com/6-best-practices-for-mobile-device-data-security

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Boni Satani.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)