If your company works primarily online, then many of your employees probably work from home at least some of the time. How many devices do they work from on the go?
It’s unfortunate, but the more devices, the more risk for data breaches at your company. That’s not to say your employees shouldn’t work on the go—you just need to be mindful that Company Equipment is a Data Security Risk.
Here’s some basic actions to help protect your company from a data breach.
Keep an Inventory of Company Equipment
Of course you keep track of the number of devices you issue, but it’s important to keep a close eye on those devices. Make sure you know exactly when and to which employees company cell phones, tablets, and laptops are issued, and have employees report immediately if the device is lost or stolen.
Make sure to document any changes in the status of each device, as a solid chain of custody (documenting responsibility for the equipment) is vital to avoiding a data breach.
Use up-to-date anti-virus software. This is especially important for Android devices, which are more susceptible to malware than other operating systems.
Implement a wipe feature that allows you to delete all secure information on the device remotely.
Limit Extracurricular Use
You probably know that most people don’t use their mobile work devices strictly for business. A draconian policy on extracurricular use of company devices probably isn’t the best plan, but you should try to have your employees limit their non-work use of your devices, for security reasons.
Above all, educate your employees. Many data security leaks that involve mobile devices happen because people didn’t know the risks or got careless.
Educate Your Employees – Company Equipment is a Data Security Risk
Here are a few things your employees can learn to help prevent a data breach:
Password protection – is essential for company-controlled mobile devices. Set passwords yourself, if possible, and change them regularly. This is more difficult the larger your company, but employees should be required to keep their passcodes/passwords up to date regardless of the size of your company.
Updates – are important for more than just getting the latest features. They also patch security holes, and employees need to be aware of the potential consequences of tapping the “update later” button.
Have employees use caution on public wi-fi networks – as you can be sure that these are less secure than password-protected work or home networks. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) program can help scramble data for outside parties, making data theft more difficult for hackers. Hotspot Shield is one VPN available in free and paid versions.
Implement Protocols for Disposing of Old Equipment
Once phones, tablets, and laptops have reached the end of their (very short) lives, you’ll be faced with the task of disposing of them. Data security is a real issue for end-of-life electronics, and you’ll want to work with a compliant IT asset disposition (ITAD) company to wipe your devices safely and recycle them or resell them. The best way to ensure devices don’t slip through the cracks is to implement formal policies for disposing of broken or outdated equipment.
On old equipment’s last journey to a recycling facility for data destruction, there’s still a chance that something could go wrong. Securis explains why it’s important to work with a certified provider:
“As your data is in transit with an non-certified partner, equipment can be lost, accessed, or even stolen. A weak chain-of-custody can lead to big risks when your hardware goes missing.”
Working with a trusted company will give you peace of mind that your data is safe and equipment will be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.
Want to learn more about working with an ITAD provider? Let us know!
Author Bio: Ronnie is the Marketing Manager for ICT Asset Recovery. He loves swing dancing, wine, responsible recycling and adventuring around the world. A recent transplant from Texas, he’s been soaking in the Boston scene and diligently working with ICT to promote the message of responsible e-waste recycling.