With more and more businesses using smartphones and other mobile devices in the workplace, it’s definitely time to start taking security seriously. Small to medium businesses without a dedicated IT department may forget to include these devices in their security procedures – or even allow employees’ own smartphones on the network without consideration of how they could cause a breach.
Here are three reasons why smartphones can cause you security issues:
1. Smartphones are left unlocked
This is an incredibly simple line of defence to implement and not locking your phone gives any Tom, Dick or Harry access to every piece of data stored on your mobile. As a business, if you allow employees to access and download company files onto their portable devices, you are at real risk of having information walk into the wrong hands. Remember, it’s very easy to lose a smartphone.
You can mitigate the risk by making locking down devices part of your BYOD (bring your own device) policy or not allowing staff to download data or sync smartphones to the company network.
2. Smartphones provide easy social media access
If you’re trying to keep workplace information on the down-low, smartphones are not the ideal tool to have in your office. They make it exceptionally easy for sensitive information and rumours to be spread quickly – such as who’s been made redundant and why.
Office PCs tend to have restrictions in place when it comes to what employees can access during working hours but smartphones may not be locked down in a similar manner. The simplest way to reduce the threat of Facebook if you’re going to allow smartphones is to inform staff regularly about what is appropriate social media behaviour and what isn’t.
3. Smartphone apps are outdated
Make sure staff are educated about updating their apps. Smartphone often have vulnerabilities when they are launched and these can be exploited. Updates contain patches which ensure your device and its contents remains secure so make sure they are as up to date as possible.
Smartphones and tablets offer a wealth of benefits for business, but organisations of all shapes and sizes need to consider how they could affect both personal and company security. Remember, the effects of a security breach can be astronomically expensive and many businesses don’t recover.
One in three small businesses wouldn’t know what to do if they came under attack over the net, according to a new survey by a security solutions expert.
The report by Kaspersky took into account responses from businesses with less than 25 employees including hairdressers, doctors’ surgeries and law firms. Around half of the businesses surveyed admitted that they’d struggle to recover lost data.
Results from the study suggest that small businesses are not serious enough about the safety of their online data. All those surveyed were under the impression their businesses were too small to come under cyber attack, or that there was nothing worth stealing.
This is untrue however, as even the smallest businesses take information such as payment, name and address details and more. In fact, an FSB report found that 41 percent of micro firms were victims of cyber crime last year alone.
In a recent report the FSB stated: “Cyber attacks upon small businesses are all the more devastating as they often have limited resources and personnel, making it much more difficult to recover once an attack has taken place on the security of their data.”
What can SMEs take from this information?
As a small business owner you should be as vigilant in your online security practices as larger organisations. In 2013, the cost of fraud loss for SMEs alone came to £20 billion.
There are several actions you can take to increase your business’ online security.
1. Ensure you have adequate anti-virus software installed as well as the necessary firewalls
2. Consider cloud-based data storage
3. Encrypt data sticks
4. Password-protect devices, making sure passwords are complex and include numbers, letters and characters where possible
According to the Federation of Small Businesses (the FSB) the UK’s target for broadband simply does not compare to that of other nations.
The UK government currently plans to equip 95% of the country with broadband speeds of 24Mbps or more by 2017. However, Finland plans to increase broadband baseline speed to 100Mbps by 2015, and South Korea has plans to increase to 1Gbps by 2017.
The report by the business group states that while 94 percent of small business owners see a reliable internet connection as critical to their success, only 15 percent are very satisfied with their provision.
In the document, the FSB also states that 45,000 small businesses in the UK are still running on dial-up speeds.
The FSB said: “”Evidence from our members shows this clearly is a problem affecting all corners of the UK, rural areas and cities alike. While progress has been made with the residential market, businesses have not enjoyed the same benefits, which is holding back their growth.”
However, this study has witnessed a backlash from BT, who say that the picture isn’t as bad as the FSB suggests. The communications provider says that actually 73 percent of businesses can access fibre and this figure should rise to around 90percent during the next two years.
The FSB recommends that “the UK’s broadband market needs to ensure that fit-for-purpose connectivity is available to everyone, regardless of location, and that it not only meets current demand but is also future-proofed.”
With cloud computing SMEs can cut costs, but access a wealth of benefits. Whether you’re looking for a way to reduce the expense associated with hardware, infrastructure, business continuity or licenses, cloud computing is the way forward.
It can allow you to grow in your field, giving you the tools to compete more effectively with larger enterprises.