4 Important Warnings from Verizon’s 2021 Report on Mobile Security

4 Important Warnings from Verizon's 2021 Report on Mobile Security

The rise of mobile use at the office is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the use of mobile devices has risen rapidly because people find it an easier workflow, thus increasing productivity.

On the other hand, many companies have not kept up with mobile device security. So, now all types of devices are accessing company apps and data, leaving company networks more vulnerable.

47% of people prefer checking email on a mobile application, with just 26.9% preferring a desktop app. 

A recent report that came out from Verizon called “Mobile Security Index 2021” looked at the mobile security incidents and behaviors as noted by 856 professionals responsible for procurement, management, and security for mobile devices and 13 security and law enforcement agencies. 

It found that several factors have catapulted mobile security to becoming a top threat to business continuity. Some of the factors include:

  • Lax user behavior
  • Companies not having mobile security policies
  • Increased attacks on mobile devices
  • Lack of attention to security by mobile app developers

Following, are some of the important warnings from the report that companies need to pay attention to.

Mobile Devices Are Being Attacked in Growing Numbers

Of the professionals surveyed, 53% stated that their organization had suffered a major security breach due to a lack of mobile device security.

Forty percent of them put mobile devices in the top spot when asked to name their company’s biggest IT security threat.

In 2020, 97% of global organizations faced severe mobile threats, and 46% reported at least one employee downloading a malicious app.

Because mobile devices are being used for more work tasks, they’ve become a prime target for hackers.

App Developers Need to Do a Better Job 

The Verizon report found that 1 in 25 apps was found to leak the user’s credentials. This isn’t malware apps, which is an entirely different threat, it’s legitimate apps that are developed and pushed out with serious security flaws.

Companies can’t simply trust that all legitimate business apps will be secure. They need to employ account safeguards such as multi-factor authentication and possibly the use of a cloud access security broker (CASB) that manages app security across several tools.

Companies Have Let Down Their Guard During COVID

Nearly of third of companies admit to relaxing their restrictions on the types of apps employees can install on work devices due to the pandemic. This is happening even as 75% state that their reliance on cloud-based apps is increasing.

Other problems with mobile security are due to companies not properly enforcing policies. For example: 

  • 45% of companies that prohibit social media use on company devices, knew employees did it anyway.
  • 27% of companies banned (but didn’t block) the use of public Wi-Fi and knew employees still connected to unsecured hotspots. 

Another big lapse in company mobile security is the fact that 92% aren’t taking any technological measures to secure connections and keep employees from risking a breach by using public Wi-Fi.

Employees Also Aren’t Taking Mobile Security Seriously Enough

Because mobile devices used for work are largely in the possession of employees, if they don’t take securing mobile devices seriously or have guardrails in place through policies, it can leave a company at risk.

The Verizon report found that 49% of employees allow friends or family to use their work devices. There was also a 600% increase during the pandemic of visits to adult content sites (which are typically risky) from mobile devices used for work. 

It looks like many employees also aren’t keeping devices properly updated and patched. It was found that 93% of Android devices were running outdated versions of the operating system. 

How to Get Started with a Mobile Device Management Plan

There are several precautions you can take to get a handle on mobile device security before it results in a breach of your network data.

Monitor All Endpoints

It’s important to monitor all endpoints connecting to business data, which includes mobile devices.

According to Microsoft, mobile devices now make up 60% of the average company’s network endpoints. 

Use a Mobile Device Management Application

The easiest way to accomplish several mobile device security layers is to use a mobile device management app, such as Intune in Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

Using this type of app allows you to deploy security policies on both company-owned and employee-owned devices. It also enables remote management for:

  • Applying updates and patches
  • Adding new software
  • Granting or revoking business data access
  • Monitoring device access to business apps and data 

Treat Mobile Security as You Do Computer Security

With mobile devices now being used more in some offices than computers, companies need to treat them similarly when it comes to security.

That means enforcing standard best practices, such as screen locks, anti-malware, DNS filtering, and more.

Need Help With a Mobile Device Security Plan?

Haxxess can help your Northern Ontario business put a meaningful strategy together that allows you to benefit from the flexibility of mobile use at work without risking your network security. 

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation! Call 705-222-8324 or reach out online.

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