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4 Critical Steps to Mobile Security (iPhones, iPads, Laptops)

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Is your favorite gadget burning your bottom line?

No, I’m not referring to the unproductive hours you spend on Angry Birds. I’m talking about mobile security.

Why is Mobile Security So Vital?

Think about the most indispensible gadget you use for work – the one without which you cannot survive. I’m taking a calculated guess here, but I bet your list doesn’t include a photocopier, fax or even a desktop computer. Business people have become highly dependent on digital devices that keep them connected, efficient, flexible and independent no matter where they are. In other words, we are addicted to our mobile gadgets: iPhones, Droids, BlackBerrys, iPads, tablets, laptops and the corresponding Wi-Fi connections that link us to the business world.

To stay nimble and ahead of the game, we must be able to respond to any request (a call, email, social media post, text message), research anything (a client’s background, solutions to a problem) and stay current on what’s happening in our field of influence (breaking news, tweets) even when we are out of the office.

But the same gadgets that give us a distinct competitive advantage, if left unprotected, can give data thieves and unethical competitors a huge and unfair criminal advantage. The net result of organizational data theft can be devastating to your job security, your bottom line, and your long-term reputation. The solution, of course, is to proactively protect your mobile office, whether it’s digital, physical or both. Mobile security is not optional.

Data Thieves Target Mobile Offices

What is a mobile office? If you own any of the gadgets listed above and use them even in minor ways for work (checking email, surfing, social media), you have a mobile office. Smartphones and tablets are more powerful than the desktops of just three years ago. Laptops are the bull’s eye for data thieves, though their attention is quickly moving to smaller, easier-to-steal gadgets. If you work out of your car, travel for your company or have a home office in addition to your regular workplace, you are a mobile worker.

Ignoring the call to protect these devices is no different than operating your office computer without virus protection, passwords, security patches or even the most basic physical protection.  If you do nothing about the risk, you will get stung, and in the process, may lose your job, your profits and potentially even your company. The threat isn’t idle – I lost my business because I refused to acknowledge the power of information and the importance of protecting it like gold.

To protect yourself and your company from becoming victims of mobile data theft, start with the 4 Critical Steps to Defend Your Mobile Gadgets:

  1. Make sure that employees aren’t installing data hijacking apps (like the Chess app that was pulled from the Android Marketplace because it was siphoning bank account logins off of users’ smartphones) on their smartphones and tablets thinking that they are harmless games.
  2. Implement basic mobile security on all mobile devices, including: secure passwords, remote tracking and wiping, auto-lock, auto-wipe and call-in account protection.
  3. Only utilize protected Wi-Fi connections to access the web. Free hotspots are constantly monitored by data sniffers looking to piggyback into your corporate website.
  4. Don’t ignore non-digital data theft risks like client files left in cars, hotel rooms and off-site offices. The tendency to over-focus on digital threats leaves your physical flank (documents, files, paper trash, etc.) exposed.

John Sileo is an award-winning author and international speaker on the dark art of deception (identity theft, data privacy, social media manipulation) and its polar opposite, the powerful use of trust, to achieve success. He is CEO of The Sileo Group, which advises teams on how to multiply performance by building a culture of deep trust. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, the FDIC, and Homeland Security. Sample his Keynote Presentation (he shares how he lost $300,000, 2 years and his business to data breach) or watch him on Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes or Fox Business. 1.800.258.8076.

Mobile Security Webinar: Defending SmartPhones, iPads, Laptops Against Cyber Attacks

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Cyber Attack Webinar - John Sileo

  • Are iPhones, Droids and BlackBerry mobile phones secure enough to be used for sensitive business?
  • What is App Hijacking and how do I keep it from stealing all of my GPS coordinates, contacts, logins and emails?
  • Given that laptops account for almost 50% of workplace data theft, how do I protect myself and my company?
  • Are Wi-Fi Hot Spots a recipie for data hijacking disaster and what is the alternative?
  • How do I protect my personal and professional files that live in the cloud (Gmail, DropBox)?

Free Webinar – Cyber Attack: Data Defense for Your Mobile Office

In the information economy, tools like the iPad, WiFi and smartphones have shifted the competitive landscape in favor of mobile-savvy businesses. But are you in control of your information, or are you being controlled? Learn how to be in control of your critical information while protecting your business’ mobile-digital assets.

This Webinar series, sponsored by Deluxe®, is a multi-part interactive Webinar series designed to address these topics and provide simple, actionable tools to protect and enhance the efficiency with which you run your business.

In this class, Cyber Attack: Data Defense for your Mobile Office, you will learn how to:

  • Protect smartphones and tablets from common attacks, including app hijacking, Wi-fi Sniffing, Link Jacking and other criminal tools.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of cloud-computing model (Gmail, SalesForce, online billing).
  • Lock down Wi-Fi data leakage in the office and on the road.
  • Protect your traveling office in hotel rooms, airports and off-site offices

Interactive Q & A to follow. All registrants will receive a FREE Whitepaper after the webinar.

Tuesday, January 31, 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CST | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PST

iPad & Tablet Users Asking for Identity Theft

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The identity theft and corporate data risk problem isn’t limited to iPad users – it affects all Tablets – but iPads are leading the way. With the rapid increase in highly powerful tablet computers, including the Motorola Xoon and Samsung Galaxy, a new survey is urging users to beware of the risks. Harris Interactive just released a study showing that tablet users transmit more sensitive information than they do on smartphones and are considerably less confident of the security protecting those tablets.

The survey shows that 48% of tablet users transfer sensitive data using the device while only 30% of smart phone users transfer sensitive information. The types of sensitive data included credit card, financial, personal and even proprietary business information. Many factors contribute to the increased risk:

  • Users initially bought tablets as book readers and web browsers, but have increasingly added to their functionality with new Apps.
  • Tablet computers are in their infancy and haven’t been equipped with the same security features as laptops and desktops.
  • Corporate users haven’t yet been trained on securing the data on tablets.
  • Tablets are more capable than smartphones, making it a natural laptop replacement, but without the robust, time-tested security.
  • Indiscriminate App downloading (covered in detail in the Smartphone Survival Guide) greatly increases chances of accidentally loading malware to your tablet.
  • Many companies buy their employees tablets rather than laptops because they are less expensive, more mobile, and have similar capabilities. Unfortunately, they are failing to consider the increased risk posed by the trendy computers.

If you are using your tablet like a laptop (email, accessing bank accounts, transmitting business documents), take the following minimum steps:

  1. Turn on password protection to get into the device.
  2. Enable remote tracking and wiping capabilities in case the device is lost or stolen.
  3. Utilize secure wireless connections only (not free WiFi hotspots in cafes, airports and hotels) to eliminate signal sniffing.
  4. Limit the data you store and transmit on your tablet until the security features have caught up with the functionality.
  5. Physically lock up the device when not in use. Never leave it on the table at Starbucks like someone did in the photo to the right.

Tablets are a slippery slope – they make computing so user friendly that you start to think it’s a friendly computing world out there. Unfortunately, cyber criminals and your competitors have a different idea. Don’t wait to find out what they can do with your private data.

John Sileo trains organizations to protect sensitive data, including that exposed on tablets, smartphones, laptops and social networking sites. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, Homeland Security and organizations of all sizes. Learn more about bringing in a Data Security Speaker or contact John directly on 800.258.8076.