Despite the fact 33 percent of employees use only their smartphones to do work, 75 percent of employees say that mobile security is lax in their workplace, according to a report by HackSurfer. In other words: mobile devices are the perfect storm for data breaches. After all…
- Businesses rely heavily on smartphones.
- Businesses don't take the necessary security precautions to keep those devices (and the data stored on them) safe.
In case you think you're dodging a bullet by virtue of being a small-business owner, you should know those stats hold true for small businesses, too. But don't take our word for it. Keep reading to get the facts about your smartphone vulnerabilities.
Smartphones: Ease, Convenience, and Data Breaches
Smartphones can help you and your employees stay connected and work from virtually anywhere, but that convenience comes at a cost. For instance…
- Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplaces have been linked to a rise in data breaches.
- Smartphone users may fall prey to phishing email scams and malicious website or app attacks.
- Connecting devices to unsecure WiFi networks increases the risk of data exposure.
- Worker smartphones can be vulnerable to visual hackers – i.e., those who peer over shoulders to swipe sensitive data.
Considering that small-business data breaches are more common than big-business breaches, these risks are no small matter. To hackers, small businesses are a lucrative target and an easy hit, thanks to their lack of cyber security, which is why about 44 percent of small businesses report being hacked.
As far as real-world consequences, what do these risks amount to? Well, according to a report by Experian, 60 percent of small businesses that are hacked go out of business within six months. It makes sense when you think about it: small businesses distinguish themselves from corporate competitors by building trust and customer loyalty. When you suffer a data breach, your credibility gets called into question pretty quickly.
As for the cost, data breaches run small businesses nearly $8,699.48 on average. If your business's bank account is hacked, expect to lose an average of $6,927.50 – all stolen money that your bank has no obligation to return. Banks aren't legally required to insure business accounts against cyber theft like they are with personal accounts.
What Can You Do to Protect Work Smartphones from Data Breaches?
In short, you can do the following three things to reduce your small business's mobile cyber liability exposures:
- Educate your employees. It's time to make cyber security a priority rather than an afterthought. Inform your employees on the latest cyber threats so they are better equipped to avoid common pitfalls, such as phishing email scams and malicious apps. Require that employees connect to a secure WiFi network before they use their phones for business activities.
- Invest in security measures. It's never a bad idea to invest in software that automatically encrypts data before transmitting it to other devices. There's also antivirus and antispyware software available for smartphones. Do some research, and if you're stuck, consider consulting with an IT security professional for help.
- Carry Cyber Liability Insurance. This policy can help you pay for the costs associated with a data breach, no matter if it originated on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can easily add this policy on to your Business Owner's Policy as a rider, which can be as little as $50 extra.
For more smartphone security tips, read the post, "What Does the Blackberry Classic Have to Do with Your Business Insurance?"