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BLOG: Five ways to help ensure mobile data security

Ian Gardner, APAC Enterprise Solutions Director, BlackBerry | Nov. 29, 2013
There are five principles to help guide the implementation of smart, secure solutions

Governments and enterprises are more concerned than ever about the safety of personal information on their mobile devices - and rightfully so. Today's smartphones contain some of our most sensitive information, including credit card numbers, text messages, contacts, photos, passwords, location tracking software and details about users' behaviours and search histories.

The proliferation of mobile computing means that we're storing more important information on our devices than ever before. As a result of needing to be extremely mobile in today's working environment, we then take that data with us wherever we go, so that we can remain productive and connected from any location.

But with that, how does an organisation ensure that sensitive data is safeguarded? At BlackBerry, having worked with governments and enterprises around the globe, we have a unique perspective on what policies and practices are required. There are five principles to help guide the implementation of smart, secure solutions:

1.       Adopt encrypted mobile communications: Mobile solutions must have end-to-end encryption so that data can travel safely through vulnerable channels. The mobile technology industry must refrain from implanting "back doors" into their programs that could allow hackers to break into their otherwise secure platforms. For example, at BlackBerry, we refrain from embedding back doors in our mobile security communications protocols, to eliminate this risk.

2.       Establish standards: Governments should consider enacting policy that creates industry-wide mobile security standards. Adherence to these standards provides the assurance that the information of an organization is trusted and suitable for use by some of the most security-conscious organizations in the world and is an essential cornerstone in developing the necessary trust and confidence in the online economy. As workers merge their private and business lives on their mobile devices, this principle becomes essential to their safety, privacy and livelihood.

3.       Separate work and personal use: Companies and even government agencies are increasingly allowing their employees to use their personal smartphones for work-related communications and, as a result, consumers are carrying sensitive personal and business data with them everywhere they go. To increase security and prevent accidental data loss, it is critical that organizations provide users with solutions that keep their work and personal spaces separate, such as containerisation. New technologies already exist to enable a dual-persona solution, by separating personal and work data without compromising the user's experience. Examples of this include BlackBerry Balance and Secure Workspace.

4.       Promote mobile safety: A responsibility that should start with the leaders of an organisation, namely to ensure employees are educated on the importance of mobile safety and the risks to both business and personal data that it poses.  Campaigns should focus on the importance of being diligent in protecting personal mobile devices. Some tips for improving mobile safety include using strong passwords, being mindful of private credentials when accessing public Wi-Fi connections, and following best practices for physical device security, including using the lock function on mobile devices and frequently changing passwords.


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