By Roger Mitan
Mobility doesn’t just apply to the workforce. There has been an increasing use of IoT (Internet of Things) devices in people’s homes. These include alarm systems, cameras, refrigerators, thermostats, and many more. Home users are accessing these devices remotely when away from home, whether just out shopping or traveling on vacation.
We have all heard about the cybersecurity issues plaguing companies and home users alike. This is most likely only going to get worse as hacking tools become more sophisticated, allowing less-sophisticated hackers to join the game without needing much technical skill. If the big companies can’t keep their data safe, how can the home user or small and medium business owner keep their data safe?
Luckily there are many tools out there available to help with these issues. One of these, which has been around for a long time on the corporate side, has become less expensive and has been introduced to the average home user over the past couple of years. This solution is called a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Simply speaking, this is a way for you to create your own secure, virtual network within the public internet. Most business level firewalls can utilize this technology and now many home routers also have this technology built-in.
For business users, this will involve having all users always have their devices connected to the corporate VPN. This secures all traffic and allows the company to maintain the security of their networks. So, if a user is on a public wifi hotspot in a coffee shop, his or her network traffic is as secure as if he or she were sitting in the office.
For the home user, there are many public VPN providers available that will allow you to always have your device network traffic encrypted and secured no matter whose network you are on. These services range from free to a few dollars a month. Many large and small cloud providers, such as Amazon, Azure, Digital Ocean, Vultr, and have templates available to easily configure this service.
Another key element is having a good antivirus/antimalware solution for your mobile devices. Everybody knows they need this on their computer, but many of these providers offer their products for Apple and Android mobile devices. Some examples are Symantec, TrendMicro, and Lookout. Many of the same providers who offer VPN services can also offer inexpensive antivirus solutions and may even bundle them together in a security solution.
Lastly, more for business users but also for home users, especially parents who need to keep an eye on their children’s devices, there are many tools which fall under the category of Mobile Device Management (MDM). These solutions allow administrators to manage and monitor the software installed on these devices, locate them when they are lost or stolen, and even remotely lock and erase these devices. Some of this functionality is built-in to services, such as Apple’s ICloud, Samsung’s Find My Phone service, and Microsoft Office 365. For businesses, there are more sophisticated offerings, such as Airwatch, MobileIron, Symantec Mobile Management, Dell Mobile Management, and many more. These tools will allow very granular control of all aspects of a mobile device.
Mobility and security should always be paired together in today’s cybersecurity landscape. Spending a few dollars per month for your mobile devices could mean the difference between being in the news for the next big cybersecurity breach and being in the news for innovation and adaptability in the workplace. As always, remember you don’t have to go it alone. Reach out to a trusted service provider in your area and let them help you tailor a mobile security solution which fits within your budget and your security needs.
Roger Mitan is the director of engineering with BlueBridge Networks, a downtown Cleveland-headquartered data-center and cloud computing business. He can be reached at (216) 621-2583 and firstname.lastname@example.org.