More and more businesses are using tablets and smartphones for business transactions. It’s commonly believed that smartphones have all the same security measures that a computer has, which makes them just as safe. But that’s where companies may be wrong. Using a smartphone or tablet for professional dealings could mean risking the security of your entire business.
Businesses use smartphones for multiple purposes. Some uses are innocent, such as for product management or time tracking. This logistical use is not likely to bring repercussions.
However, many businesses have seen the benefits of using mobile devices to run card transactions, store sensitive information, and manage their inventory. The overhead cost for this use is significantly less than the cost of desktop software, but is it worth the risk?
Using a smartphone for business transactions can meld personal information with business transactions.
If you own a smartphone, you should know that you’ve basically given up a good chunk of your privacy. Your cellular carrier already has a record of every number you’ve dialed, every SMS you’ve sent, every website you’ve visited, and every place you’ve ever been too. Most, if not all, of the apps available on the market access your data for various reasons.
Thanks to big data collections, nothing stored on your smartphone is private, particularly if you use your device for both personal and business purposes. Eighty-four percent of smartphone users conduct business and personal affairs using the same device, according to a study featured on Business News Daily. The crossover of business and personal usages means much more sensitive and confidential data is at risk and suggests that users keep their smartphones with them most of the time.
Furthermore, the study showed that 90 percent of businesses that mixed personal and business devices were unaware that such a risk existed. This shows a significant need for the education of business owners on the mobile device front.
Ditch the Smartphone
The best solution for this issue is to ditch the smartphone altogether and use encrypted desktop software and equipment designed with security in mind for business dealings. The cost will seem high in comparison, but if you take into account the fact that 80 percent of small businesses fail within the first 18 months, and a large reason for that failure is inadequate security, you’ll soon recognize that the cost is worth it.
Not sure you can make the upgrade just yet? Do the next best thing and take protective measures. Here are a few things you can do to secure your smartphone for business purposes until you can upgrade your software:
- Don’t mix business with pleasure. Mixing your personal life with business transactions puts you at a greater risk of identity theft and security breaches.
- Disable automatic WiFi and Bluetooth connections. When your business device can automatically connect to any nearby network, it opens the door for hackers. Switch the device to the mode where it asks your permission before connecting to any network. That way you can rely on your network security measures to protect the device and any sensitive information.
- Store your sensitive data elsewhere. Your mobile device is no place to store sensitive data. Find a secure network on the cloud, invest in a hard drive, or relocate the files to a secure desktop devoted to that purpose. This is a small step to take, but it will help you to protect your files from the fragility of smartphone security.
It may be more convenient to sync business applications up with your personal cell phone, but is the security of your professional work worth the cost of that convenience? Your boss would probably say it’s not.
Take the simple steps above to protect yourself and your business immediately, then start planning for integration of desktop software and equipment that’s made to protect you from security threats—unlike your mobile phone.