“I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”
Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen – 1979
1979 was the year the first spreadsheet computer application was written for Apple II, helping to turn computers into real business tools. It was also the year the US Government introduced its initial draft of Ada programming language. Things have changed a lot in the world of mobile technology and security since then. I know it’s not very likely that David Lee Roth was thinking about mobile security and mobile device management when he said this.
Even so, this quote is a great metaphor for one of the main threats to internet security; ourselves.
I like to think that what Daivd Lee Roth was trying to explain here is how his bad habits eventually won out over his best intentions. He just couldn’t get out of his own way. So often, we too, have the best intentions. Eventually, though, we run out of time or lose steam. Our own bad habits get in the way.
This can lead to some pretty terrible consequences in terms of mobile and internet security. How many times have you just given up and used the same password for all your accounts because remembering so many different ones can be a challenge? When have you hopped on free Wi-Fi out in public to save on data? How many times have you clicked on a link in an email without going to the main website to verify it’s secure?
If you are a business owner, lack of mobile security can have far-reaching consequences. Most of your employees use their mobile devices for work these days. Hackers, viruses and ransomware are all threats we have to watch out for. Being careless with mobile security has drastic consequences that are far worse than losing a few ice cubes from a glass, unfortunately. Your business data and reputation are on the line. So, how can you educate your employees and protect yourself and your data? What are some bad habits we are often guilty of? And how can we change them?
Bad Habits – And What You Can Do About Them
- Not locking your devices. This is one of the easiest ways to protect your mobile devices. You should always set up a password or passcode to lock your device. If you require that employees have passcodes on all devices, this will go a long way. A passcode is the first step in helping prevent a stolen device from being compromised. However, locking your phone only prevents someone from using your phone. A thief can still take out the SIM card (which stores all your personal data including billing information) and place it in their own device. Did you know you can also lock your SIM card with a passcode? There’s a little more to this, but it’s pretty easy. You can learn about how to lock your SIM card here.
- Not having strong passwords. Passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and at least one number. Require employees to have strong passwords for company emails and accounts.
- Not verifying links before clicking in an email. Phishing is an attempt to steal sensitive information, often through email spoofing. An email, say from your bank or credit card company, looks legitimate. However, instead of taking you to the correct website, the email link directs you to a fake website. The best way to be safe is to always go to the original source, such as the bank website. Don’t click on the link in an email, especially if they ask for confidential personal information.
- Not having solid anti-virus and not keeping it up-to-date. Hackers create thousands of new threats daily. Because of this, it’s critical that you’re updating your mobile device’s security settings frequently. It’s best to remotely monitor and manage employees’ devices. This will ensure that employees’ devices are updated, backed up and secured.
- Not backing up your data. Backing up your mobile device data is just as important as backing up your data on your desktop computers. If a device is lost, stolen or hijacked, you can save time and money by quickly being able to restore your data. Make sure your employees are regularly backing up any business data that is stored on personal or remote devices.
- Logging onto free wireless networks where ever you go. Free Wi-Fi is great. But, it comes at a cost. Stores can use the Wi-Fi i to track your behavior. Hackers may also use the Wi-Fi to access your mobile device. Not to mention that the data you transmit over public networks can be visible to others. Think twice before logging onto a free Wi-Fi network, and make sure to read all permissions before you give consent. You can learn more about this topic from one of our previous posts.
- Not getting applications from reputable sources. You may have heard that Android apps are more likely to have malware than iPhone apps. What you should know, though, is that most of that malware comes from third-party apps. And most of these apps come from other parts of the world. Stick to apps from the iTunes store or Google Play and you will most likely be safe. And of course, always read the permissions associated with an app to make sure you are comfortable with the amount of data your will make available by using the app.
The best way to break bad habits is to know what they are and be aware of them. And then find a good solution and stick to it. Maybe if Yeti tumblers had existed in 1979 David Lee Roth would have kept on jogging.
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