Keeping Your Company Safe When You Have a Mobile Workforce

EpsonFebruary 26, 2019

As an office manager, keeping the office secure is a top priority. You likely manage access to the physical property through issuing keys, keycards or a punch code. Additionally, you probably work with the IT department to help keep the network and computers safe and secure. However, today’s mobile culture and workforce has dramatically changed where and when people work. Whether you have completely remote employees, or your staff occasionally works on the go, mobility adds an extra dimension to your role — especially in terms of network security.

Every mobile device employees use to access company data or the business network is another “door” criminals and hackers can use to access your company’s information. According to a GlobalSign Survey, 57 percent of companies think mobile workers have caused a security issue in the past year. SMBs must be proactive when it comes to mobile security, instead of simply reacting after a breach or issue arises.

For SMBs to be proactive about mobile security, they must adopt a security mindset throughout all levels. Because office managers help set the culture, spearheading mobile security can help keep the company safe and be a way for you to add more value to your position. As many mobile security risks are a result of employee behavior, you can improve security by helping IT communicate and create processes to help employees comply with security best practices. You can also learn additional skills that increase your expertise and value.

Here are five ways to help your company stay safe from threats with a mobile workforce:

  1. Recommend employees use mobile device management (MDM) technology. Many companies require employees to install an MDM tool on the mobile devices they use for work-related activities. This allows IT to manage and monitor those mobile devices. Even more importantly, IT can remotely remove all data and apps from a device reported as lost or stolen. If your company isn’t currently using MDM, research the available tools and make a recommendation to IT.
  2. Educate employees on mobile password safety. Password protecting mobile devices is the first defense — and one of the easiest to implement. However, Pew Research found that 28 percent of people do not use a screen lock or password on their smartphones. Even though it may be in the Mobile Agreement that employees sign, consider a fun way to get people to get their phones protected. Hold a drawing for gift card (even a $10 Starbucks card serves as great motivation), and everyone who shows you their password-protected phones gets entered into the drawing.
  3. Coordinate a process for lost or stolen mobile devices. According to a Kensington report, over 70 million cell phones are lost each year. Odds are high that one (likely more) of your employee’s phones will be among those lost phones. To protect company data and the network, lost and stolen phones should be wiped remotely as soon as possible. However, phones are typically lost in the evening and on weekends, leaving a lot of time for damage if the employee waits to notify IT until the next workday. To reduce the risk, determine who is responsible for shutting down lost mobile devices after hours, and then communicate that information to employees.
    Cropped shot of businessman using mobile phone in an office.
  4. Ensure employees update mobile operating systems in a timely manner. Keeping operating systems updated on mobile devices means that all security fixes are installed and can decrease the risk of viruses. However, Pew Research found that 40 percent of people only update their phone when it’s convenient, and 14 percent say they never update their smartphone’s operating system. Each time an operating update is released, research the new features and benefits of the release that will be meaningful to your employees. Perhaps a new popular game is only available with the update. Or maybe it fixes an annoying bug. Think of a creative way to let your team know — maybe a funny sign in the break room or a creative YouTube video, if you have a little extra time on your hands.
  5. Create a termination process for mobile devices. When an employee leaves your company, you likely already make sure that they turn in company-issued devices. You also need to make sure all company data is removed from personal devices that have been used for work purposes. Update your termination checklist to include this important step.

Learn more about how to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive company data and resources.