Mobile Device Security Best Practices for 2021

As employees are increasingly using mobile devices for business purposes, protecting these devices against attack requires organizations to understand and implement best practices for mobile device security.

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The Rise of the Mobile Worker

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), an estimated 93.5 US employees will be mobile workers in 2024, accounting for nearly 60% of the U.S. workforce. This transition has been driven by a number of different factors, including the surge in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and organizations’ adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) policies.

 

While increased support for remote work and BYOD has significant benefits for an organization, it has security implications as well. Mobile workers operate in different ways than traditional, on-site employees, introducing unique security risks and challenges to an organization.

The Mobile Threat Landscape is Expanding

Cybercriminals are adept at following trends and exploiting them to their advantage. As organizations increasingly allow employees to work from mobile devices, cybercriminals have focused on them as well and targeted them in their attacks. In 2020, Check Point Research found that 97% of organizations reported facing cyber threats targeting mobile devices.

 

Mobile devices have many of the same security challenges as traditional laptop and desktop computers.  However, these devices also face unique threats, including:

 

  • Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks: In a MitM attack, an attacker intercepts traffic flowing between a client and a server, enabling them to eavesdrop on or modify the communications.  Mobile devices are uniquely vulnerable to MitM attack due to their reliance on mobile networks and public Wi-Fi.
  • Malicious Mobile Apps: While malware is a threat on any platform, the number of malicious mobile apps has surged in recent years. In 2020, 46% of organizations had at least one employee download a malicious mobile app.
  • Unpatched Vulnerabilities: Many major mobile apps have had serious vulnerabilities in recent years, and 40% of mobile devices have hardware-level vulnerabilities. If exploited by an attacker, these vulnerabilities place corporate data stored on mobile devices at risk.

6 Best Practices for Mobile Device Security

Mobile devices introduce new security challenges that do not exist with traditional, on-prem infrastructure. When implementing a mobile security strategy and selecting mobile security solutions, organizations should follow mobile device security best practices, including:

 

  1. Complete Attack Vector Coverage: Mobile devices can be attacked in a variety of ways, including via malicious mobile apps and phishing messages over email, SMS, and other communications platforms. Securing mobile devices requires complete visibility and protection across all potential attack vectors.
  2. Secure the Remote Workforce: As remote work increasingly becomes “business as usual”, organizations need to integrate the remote workforce into their risk management strategies. This includes the ability to secure teleworkers at the same level as a company’s on-site employees.
  3. Full Device Support: As companies continue to implement BYOD policies, corporate mobile infrastructure includes a growing range of device types (smartphone, tablet, etc.), operating systems, and device ownership models. A corporate mobile security strategy and mobile security solutions needs to provide visibility and protection for all of its employees’ devices.
  4. Privacy By Design: With remote work and BYOD, employees will increasingly mix personal and business communications and activities. Corporate mobile security strategies must be designed to protect the privacy of personal data and communications while ensuring the security of business data.
  5. Strong User Authentication: As employees increasingly work from mobile devices, the potential for unauthorized access to corporate data and devices increases significantly. Companies need to use strong user authentication for corporate systems and services to ensure that they are only accessible to legitimate users.
  6. Avoiding Public WiFi: Connecting to public Wi-Fi networks places users at a higher risk of malware infections and exposure of sensitive data. Employees working from mobile devices should avoid the use of public Wi-Fi or use virtual private networks (VPNs) to keep their connections secure.

Secure Your Mobile Workforce with Harmony Mobile

Mobile devices are becoming a core part of corporate IT infrastructure, and organizations need to incorporate mobile device security solutions and best practices into their cybersecurity programs. To learn more about the mobile security challenges that organizations face, check out Check Point’s 2021 Mobile Security Report.

 

Check Point’s Harmony Mobile offers an all-in-one solution for mobile device security. It provides comprehensive mobile threat defense across all mobile attack vectors while minimizing administrative overhead. Harmony Mobile detects and blocks common mobile attack vectors, such as MitM, and streamlines the vetting process of new apps for security administrators.

 

To learn how to evaluate mobile device security solutions, read this Mobile Protection Buyer’s Guide.  You’re also welcome to request a free trial of Harmony Mobile to experience industry-leading mobile security for yourself.

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