2016 will be the year of mobile – at least according to a myriad of tech experts and predictors – and with 54% of all office workers now able to work remotely, it’s easy to see why. As mobility becomes more important to workers, however, organisations will start to face a number of new challenges. And perhaps the most significant of those challenges will be mobile security.
Security is a tricky thing – the sheer number of high profile data breaches in recent months proves this. Add mobile into the mix, however, and security becomes even more complicated.
Indeed, mobile security is a landmine for organisations. For not only are mobile devices susceptible to the same security risks as desktop devices, such as malware and spyware, but they also provide hackers with a backdoor to the corporate network. This potentially puts the entire organisation’s data at risk – not just the data stored on the mobile device.
Indeed, as Trustmarque’s Stephen Perry explains: “Smart Phones continue to be the nexus of IoT and it will only continue to get worse. [Not only do they represent] the entry point to… the corporate network resources, but the devices themselves contain more and more sensitive data.”
The complication of mobile security is made worse by the rise of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. If employees use devices supplied and approved by the organisation, then an organisation can put protective measures in place. If employees use their own devices, however, there is little an organisation can do.
And yet BYOD is still prolific – even in organisations that deal with incredibly sensitive data. In the US, for example, a survey by mobile security firm, Lockout, found out that many employees who work for government agencies use their own devices at work. Indeed, half of all employees surveyed admitted to accessing government email on their own devices, and nearly as many confessed to downloading government documents.
Thus it is clear that many organisations are at risk of a mobile security breech – but few industries are as targeted by mobile cyber-criminals as the healthcare industry. In fact, a recent Ponemon Institute survey found that the number of attacks targeting personal healthcare information has increased by 125% since 2010.
This is unsurprising given the dramatic rise of wearable technology and fitness trackers. In fact, the projected growth in the number of wearables is set to reach around 780 million devices by 2019. Whilst these wearable devices can be enormously beneficial for healthcare organisations, however, they are also prime targets for hackers and identity thieves.
Indeed, personal data is incredibly valuable on the so-called Dark Web – and healthcare information, stored on wearable devices like smart watches and fitness trackers, can be combined with other personal data to create ‘identity kits’ which are then packaged up and sold.
“Personal identity theft is worth more on the black market than financial data in some cases,” explains Perry.
It’s not all doom and gloom however. Mobility, wearables, and smart devices all make modern living and modern working more efficient, and providing organisations are aware of the dangers, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be adopted and encouraged.
A limitation of BYOD, ensuring all mobile apps and software are up-to-date, basic education for all staff, and the installation of mobile security apps could all limit the risks associated with mobile devices.
Furthermore, implementing cloud systems so that employees can access work-related information and data without downloading files onto the device could be a way to limit mobile security risks. Whilst many organisations are wary about the security risks of the Cloud – particularly within the healthcare centre – much research indicates that the Cloud is actually the most secure way to store data.
To find out more about how to keep your organisation’s data safe, speak to one of our experts today. Contact us on 0845 2101 500, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.