How to quickly and easily secure data on iOS, Android, and other mobile devices
Right from its inception, Stellar Library has had its roots set firmly down in the mobile world.
When my friends and I were at university, we wanted to quickly and easily access and share information on our iPads, but we also understood that this sharing had to take place in a controlled manner in a secure environment.
While the administration of Stellar was always set to take place online, this online world has now morphed into “The Cloud”, a much more all-encompassing world. And mobile security has become a much bigger challenge and complex beast.
A much larger portion of the IT budget is being allocated to data mobilisation, using the power of the cloud to integrate information. Of necessity the amounts devoted to data security are also on the rise.
Striking the security vs accessibility sweet spot
The move away from paper to mobile is beyond just having a device to take with you on the road. Some government departments in New Zealand, for example, are doing away with desktop computers altogether, with all staff “hot-desking” and using powerful tablets from Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, Dell and others as the basis for workstations.
In the corporate world, high level network security tools can be used to secure the growing number of mobile access points — many of them potentially unverified and unsecured — that arise when enterprises make volumes of company data accessible via the cloud.
In these large organisations, striking a balance between access and security remains a struggle but they are better equipped than many small and medium-sized (SMEs) enterprises to manage this process.
For SMEs, there are mobile device management tools available, but for a lot of New Zealand organisations, these can be overkill.
Keeping sensitive information secure is easy with these 10 steps
One organisation devoted to protecting privacy, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, has provided some basic suggestions for protecting your mobile data:
- Password-protect your device (or use another means of authentication) and configure the device to automatically lock after a set period of time. This is a really important point. Stellar strongly recommends that all devices are secured in this manner, even ones at home. If you lose the device or it is stolen, this could buy you some time to remotely wipe the device via our administration system.
- Use strong, unique passwords and change them often.
- Turn off Bluetooth when you aren’t using it. If your device is always Bluetooth-discoverable, you expose yourself to added risk.
- Use trusted security software. It is a myth that mobile devices are immune to risk.
- Only download apps you trust. Beware of downloading an app that puts malware on your device.
- Install software updates. This includes both the device operating system software and your apps. In addition, staying up to date helps the functionality and stability of Stellar.
- Err on the side of caution when someone messages or emails you a link or attachment. Don’t blindly click or download.
- Be VERY cautious when using public Wi-Fi networks. Yes, I know they are convenient and save you on your data plan, but you should assume that anything you do on an open network can be seen by others on the network (unless you encrypt your communications as is the case with Stellar).
- Check your device’s privacy and security settings, as well as app permissions. Settings will vary by device and operating system, but keep up to date on security issues related to how your device is configured.
- Back up important data. I can’t emphasise this tip enough, even with Stellar, the files on your devices are copies of those on your organisation’s central repository.
Securing mobile data is simple with Stellar
Stellar takes security very seriously and we encrypt data in the cloud, both during transmission and on the device itself.
We’ve come a long way in the five plus years we’ve been working with Stellar. The Stellar suite of applications now works across Apple, Android and Windows devices, with administration still being managed in the cloud.
As we’ve progressed, security of our data in the cloud while being transmitted and on our devices has remained a powerful focus. But data security is a journey, not a destination and it will always continue to be at the center of our development programme.
We’d love to hear your comments and feedback about how your organisation manages mobile security in your organisation.