Protecting Sensitive Data when Using Mobile Devices

Aug 4, 2020

Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops have added incredible convenience for businesses, allowing for ongoing operations even when employees travel or work remotely.  With non-stop connectivity, international operations are made easier, and instant communication greases the wheels of industry.

Of course, the implementation of new technologies is not without drawbacks, and when it comes to mobile devices, the risks for your South Dakota business could be significant.  What can you do to protect sensitive data on mobile devices, in keeping with legal and ethical standards?

Train Employees

You most likely already provide employees with training regarding safe behavior when using company resources like computers and networks.  You don’t want anyone sharing their passwords with coworkers or downloading suspicious files that could infect your entire network.

You need to take the same approach with mobile devices, training employees to avoid using public Wi-Fi, for example, where data could be compromised, or failing to use passwords on devices that could be accessed in the home or even stolen.  There are several security measures you can put in place to protect devices, but without employee understanding and assistance, these measures could be for naught.

Control Company Devices

Some companies feel comfortable allowing employees to use their personal cell phones and other devices for work purposes, but if you want the best opportunity to protect sensitive data, you really need to control devices and manage the chain of custody.  This means providing employees with devices (for work purposes only) that have proper security features such as password protection (or biometrics), encryption, and a remote wipe feature that allows all data to be removed if a device is lost or stolen, just for example.

Safeguard Permissions

It can be tempting to share programs with partners as a way to cut costs.  There’s no denying that all of the software and digital resources needed to conduct ongoing operations can cost a pretty penny.  However, this type of sharing is ill-advised not only because it could lead to data being compromised, but because you could be left in a lurch if you lose access to programs or if the software provider discovers the activity.

Understand Downstream Partners

Whether you’re working with software providers or seeking a partner for IT asset disposition, you need to make sure you understand who, exactly, has their hands in the pie.  Just because you’re working with a well-known company doesn’t mean they don’t have other partners who may not meet your standards for security.

For example, plenty of U.S. companies outsource programming needs to other countries that don’t have the same high standards for data protection.  They may retain rights to collect and use data in a variety of ways, or they may do so nefariously.  In terms of disposition, partners that claim to responsibly destroy and recycle devices may actually be dumping them wholesale or shipping them overseas intact, increasing risks for data theft.

It’s extremely important to understand who you’re doing business with, and that means demanding transparency about downstream partners so you can make an informed decision that protects your company and the sensitive data entrusted to you.

If you’re looking for a reliable ITAD service provider, contact the certified professionals at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote and learn more.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.