How Should We Protect Mobile Devices from Data Sharing Apps Like TikTok?
Do you know all the mobile apps that are on employee devices? It’s not something that’s usually on the top of the IT priority list for business owners, but it should be.
Mobile devices are now taking on more of the workload at the office, which means that often business apps and data are on the same devices as an employee’s personal apps, like those used for social media.
Mobile devices now make up 60% of the average organization’s network endpoints.
Mobile app safety has been taking on a new priority recently due to the controversy surrounding TikTok. This video social media app has recently been banned in India and is facing a potential ban in the U.S.
The main risk with this particular app is that it’s owned by a Chinese company, which leads many to worry that the Chinese government can demand user data and use it for the purposes of spying on citizens in other countries.
But beyond the government connection, TikTok and other data sharing apps pose a significant risk to business networks because they can often be the cause of data leakage. Data leakage is the inadvertent oversharing of sensitive information.
As you’re reviewing your business solutions, cloud business apps are bound to be included in the productivity tools you use at your UK business. That’s why you need to be concerned about data leakage and mobile device security.
How to Better Secure Your Mobile Devices
You may not be surprised to hear that an app like TikTok collects user data like website visits, name, phone, and email, and even contacts (if given permission).
But you may be surprised to know that part of the device specific data the app collects includes:
- Names and types of files on the device
- Names of apps on the device
That’s the type of information that can result in a data compromise.
The problem is that these apps gather information about mobile devices that go beyond just what’s happening inside the app. Users often accidentally grant permissions to mobile apps when they first install them that they don’t fully understand.
For example, some apps will track location based upon GPS if the user opts in. Others can get location data from a smartphone’s sim card.
And most of us have encountered apps that want permission to access a person’s phone book or contacts application.
How do you protect your company from these types of oversharing apps and improve mobile device security overall? Here are several tips.
Use Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Data loss prevention software is designed to identify and protect sensitive data on a device. For example, you may set a policy that prevents a particular file or from being shared on social media, copied, or emailed.
With DLP, in a platform like Microsoft 365, you can automate classification of sensitive information and then set up security protocols that keep it from accidentally being shared through a mobile device.
Use a Mobile Device Manager
One of the issues companies face is not knowing exactly which devices are accessing their business app and which may be storing business files. They may rely on employees to be responsible, but not have any monitoring system in place.
With the growing use of mobile devices at work, it’s important for businesses to have a monitoring and security system that keeps track of all mobile devices accessing company data. The best way to do that is by using a mobile device manager, like Microsoft Intune.
With a mobile device manager, companies can:
- Know which devices are accessing and sharing company data
- Control the type of data that can be shared
- Apply security policies across all employee devices of different operating systems
- Remotely revoke data access to a device
- Remotely update devices
- Remotely lock/wipe a device if it’s lost or stolen
Use Encryption with a VPN
Mobile devices will often be using a nearby Wi-Fi hotspot that lacks proper security. For example, an employee could be commuting to work and using a public Wi-Fi to send and receive email, not realizing a hacker on the network is able to steal their data.
Using a business VPN encrypts all data communications, which protects any information being sent or received, even if it’s on an unsecure network.
VPNs can be used for mobile devices and computers alike, making them an excellent option for network security when it comes to remote workers as well as mobile devices.
Do You Have a Strong Mobile Security Strategy in Place?
Don’t leave mobile device security to chance. Mobile malware and data leakage are both very real threats. Enable Technology can help you put a solid mobile device security strategy in place to keep your data protected.