A Business's Guide To Developing A Mobile Security Policy

Last Updated: 

June 24, 2024

In today's mobile-first world, employees rely on mobile phones and tablets to stay connected and get work done. This increased reliance brings a new set of challenges: securing sensitive company data on personal mobile devices. That's where a strong mobile security policy comes in.

This guide will walk you through the steps of developing a comprehensive mobile device security policy that protects your business information without stifling employee productivity.

Key Takeaways on Developing a Mobile Security Policy

  1. Define Security Goals: Identify specific concerns like data breaches, malware, or device loss to tailor your mobile security policy effectively.
  2. Assess Mobile Environment: Understand whether employees use personal devices (BYOD) or company-provided ones to gauge security needs and controls.
  3. Set Security Standards: Enforce strong passwords, encryption, automatic screen locking, and timely OS updates to protect company data.
  4. Secure Work Applications: Download apps from trusted sources, implement multi-factor authentication, and consider Mobile Threat Defense (MTD) solutions.
  5. Lost or Stolen Device Protocols: Enable remote data wipe, establish reporting procedures, and promote regular data backups for incident response.
  6. Network Security Measures: Encourage VPN use on public Wi-Fi, restrict network access to sensitive data, and educate employees on secure connections.
  7. Employee Education: Develop training materials, conduct regular ses
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Define Your Goals and Needs

Before diving into specifics, take a step back. What are your goals for this security policy? Are you most concerned about data breaches? Malware attacks? Lost or stolen devices? Identifying your priorities helps you tailor the mobile security policy accordingly.

Assess Your Mobile Landscape

What types of mobile devices do your employees use? Do you allow personal mobile devices (BYOD) or provide company-owned devices? Understanding your mobile ecosystem helps determine the level of control you need for mobile device security.

Set Device Security Standards

This is where you outline the specific requirements for accessing company data on mobile devices. Here are some key areas to consider for mobile security best practices:

  • Strong Passwords and PINs: Enforce complex passwords or PINs for unlocking devices and accessing work applications.
  • Encryption: Require data encryption to scramble information in case of a device breach. This adds an extra layer of protection against data breaches.
  • Automatic Screen Locking: Set idle timeouts for automatic screen locking to prevent unauthorised access.
  • Operating System Updates: Mandate timely installation of OS updates to patch security vulnerabilities. Keeping operating systems up-to-date is a crucial aspect of mobile device security best practices.

Secure Work Applications

Many businesses utilise mobile applications for tasks like email or document management. Here's how to secure these apps for better mobile device security:

  • Download from Trusted Sources: Only allow app downloads from official app stores (e.g., Apple App Store, Google Play Store).
  • Multi-Factor Authentication: Implement multi-factor authentication for additional security when accessing work apps.
  • Mobile Threat Defence (MTD): Consider deploying MTD solutions that monitor and protect devices from malware and other security threats.

Lost or Stolen Device Protocols

Even with precautions, devices can get lost or stolen. Here's how to mitigate the damage and protect against data breaches:

  • Remote Data Wipe: Implement a remote data wipe functionality to erase sensitive information from lost or stolen devices.
  • Lost/Stolen Device Reporting: Establish a clear procedure for employees to report lost or stolen devices.
  • Backup and Restore: Encourage regular backups of work data to facilitate easy restoration on a new device.

Network Security

Mobile devices often connect to public Wi-Fi networks, which can be insecure. Here's how to address this for better mobile device security:

  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): Encourage the use of VPNs to encrypt data traffic on public Wi-Fi.
  • Restrict Network Access: Consider restricting access to sensitive company resources on public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Educate Employees: Inform employees about the risks of public Wi-Fi and best practices for secure connections.

Employee Education and Training

The most robust security policy is useless if employees aren't aware of it or don't understand it. Here's how to educate your workforce on mobile device security best practices:

  • Develop Training Materials: Create engaging training materials (e.g., videos, online modules) that explain the mobile security policy and best practices.
  • Regular Training Sessions: Conduct regular training sessions to keep employees informed about mobile security threats and best practices.
  • Phishing Simulations: Implement simulated phishing attacks to test employee awareness and identify areas for improvement in recognising security threats.

Monitoring and Enforcement

Having a security policy in place is just the first step. You also need to monitor compliance and enforce the policy when necessary for effective mobile device security:

  • Mobile Device Management (MDM): Consider using MDM solutions to centrally manage and monitor mobile devices. MDM can also help enforce security policies.
  • Disciplinary Action: Outline clear disciplinary procedures for violations of the mobile security policy.
  • Schedule Periodic Reviews: Set a schedule for reviewing and updating your mobile security policy at least annually. This ensures your mobile device security remains effective against evolving security threats.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about emerging mobile security threats and adapt your policy accordingly. Staying informed allows you to implement the best practices in mobile device security.

Enforcing Your Mobile Security Policy

Having a well-crafted mobile security policy is a great first step. But how do you ensure employees follow it? Here are some key considerations:

  • Clear Communication: Clearly communicate the new policy to all end users. Explain the rationale behind the policy and how it benefits both the company and employees.
  • User Acceptance: Get written acceptance from employees acknowledging they have read and understood the mobile security policy.
  • Acceptable Use Policy: Integrate mobile device security protocols into your broader acceptable use policy. This creates a consistent framework for governing technology use within the company.

BYOD vs. Company-Owned Devices

The approach to mobile device security may differ depending on whether you allow personal mobile devices (BYOD) or provide company-owned devices.

  • BYOD Policies: For BYOD environments, focus on strong security measures like data encryption, remote wipe capabilities, and restrictions on data access from personal devices. Develop clear BYOD device policies that outline acceptable use and security requirements.
  • Company-Owned Devices: For company-owned devices, you can implement stricter mobile device management (MDM) policies. MDM allows for centralised control over device configurations, application installations, and security settings.

In Closing

Don't let your mobile workforce become a security minefield. Take action today! This guide equips you to craft a mobile security policy that protects your data and empowers your employees. With a secure foundation, you can unlock the full potential of your mobile workforce.

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