It’s well known how important it is to have security and anti-virus software on computers and servers. Mobile security isn’t as commonly known but devices are used widely for business, they need security software too.

Mobile security is complex

Security offers protection against some mobile threats. The problem is that mobile security is a complex issue. Malware and viruses are not the most serious threats to mobile. There are growing chances of infection. However, you are far more likely to suffer data loss by having a mobile device lost or stolen.

Basic mobile security steps:

  • Passcodes (or fingerprint) entered before people can access any data or functions.
  • Find My iPhone (for Apple devices) or Android Device Manager (for Android devices) in case you lose your mobile.
  • Remote wipe, so you can erase the data on a device if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Backing up data on your mobile. The data on them may be more valuable than the device itself.
  • Setting up two-factor authentication on your user ID. This adds an additional layer of security when using any device to which it is linked.

Android vs iOS

Some mobile operating systems are more vulnerable to malware than others, so this is a key factor in deciding whether to use security software:

iOS

Mobiles with Apple’s iOS (like iPhones and iPads) and Microsoft’s Windows Phone are less likely to be vulnerable to malware because they closed off to apps. You can only install apps from official app stores, and each is checked for malware. These operating systems are tightly controlled by Apple and Microsoft. If a security problem is identified, it’s usually fixed quickly.

Android

Mobiles with Google’s Android operating system are more susceptible because Google allows developers to freely create and offer apps outside of the official app store. They can gain access and modify the Android software itself. Google does fix Android vulnerabilities promptly, many devices have custom versions of Android that don’t get updated so quickly.

Are your mobile devices secure?

You need to check how much control employees have over their mobile devices. A mobile device management (MDM) software allows you to manage the devices in your business via a central control panel. Restrict staff from installing their own apps or limit how files are shared.

If your company owns the mobile devices its staff uses — and they are used only for business — MDM software is a powerful way to lock down the devices. This means less of a need for separate security software because the restrictions make problems less likely.

Bring your own device (BYOD), with staff using their own mobile devices at work, is harder to restrict what they can and can’t do. In this kind of situation, mobile security software has a greater role to play.

Rogue apps

One area where security software can be effective is by protecting against rogue apps. These mobile apps aren’t strictly malware or viruses, but use underhand methods to trick you into sharing important data. For example, an app might ask to access your address book, relying on the fact that people usually grant permissions without fully understanding the implications.

The app can gather and use this data. Names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses are valuable to online criminals because they can use them to create convincing fake emails or simply sell them to other scammers.