Protecting Mobile Data Privacy in the Enterprise

by VPNHaus | 01/17/2018

The workplace today is dominated by mobile devices.

Employee interaction via smartphone or tablet has become second nature.  They will very likely use them to check work emails, download files containing customer information or access privileged network content remotely without a second thought.

Unfortunately, accessing information in this way is inherently insecure. Whether it’s Internet snoopers at the airport, a stolen or lost device or state-sponsored surveillance company, confidential information can all too easily fall into the wrong hands.

For this reason implementing secure business communication techniques that protect the privacy of mobile data – on the device, in transit and at rest – has become essential. The answer lies in a combination of security best-practices and encryption-based technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs).

Privacy in Peril

Privacy is a basic human right. Physical privacy is something that most people take for granted but don’t really value until something happens to expose them to unwelcome public scrutiny.

The same is true for Internet privacy. Internet surveillance by hackers and Government spies is a part of life and becoming more and more invasive. Huge amounts of sensitive information concerning businesses and their customers is communicated over the public Internet every day. People’s private information is valuable.

On the Dark Web, a whole industry has developed around trading personal data harvested in breaches. Whenever an employee uses the Internet to send company information without secure communications there will always be a risk of infection or data breach.

To counter this, companies need a mobile strategy that secures business communications on the device, in transit and when stored.

Device Security

Mobile device security is very often the hardest area for companies to control.  This is especially true for bring your own device (BYOD) environments where security is down to the choice of the individual device owners themselves.

Employees should be instructed in security best-practice such as avoid downloading apps from untrustworthy sources. Many such apps carry embedded malware and spyware that infringe privacy and share device data with unauthorized parties.

Other privacy best-practices for mobile devices are two-factor authentication and remote wiping capability.

Measures like keeping software up-to-date, staying away from unsecured Wi-Fi connections, disabling Bluetooth discovery mode, encrypting corporate data and always connecting to company networks via VPN are also recommended.

End-to-End Encryption

Certain industries have always been heavily regulated. Healthcare, retail, legal and financial organizations, for example, have to comply with regular checks to prove the privacy of the customer data handled has not been put at risk.

The most popular way for these organizations to privately share sensitive data is to use end-to-end encryption (E2EE). E2EE protects data in transit by encrypting it to make the content unintelligible. Only the sender and legitimate recipient of the message possess the unique keys to unlock the information. 

The introduction of new compliance standards, like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, is driving the need for businesses of all industries and sizes to embrace E2EE for their communications. It’s an approach that ensures mobile communications stays private and reduces the risk of a data breach dramatically.

Safe Data Storage

With Cloud technologies maturing and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices tipped to undergo phenomenal growth, companies will seek to profit from big data applications. In consequence the amount of data organizations must store and manage is set to explode.

Businesses must successfully rise to the complexity and cost challenges of keeping all this data while simultaneously dealing with pressures from cyber threats and regulatory scrutiny. In these circumstances it is no longer sufficient simply to secure the privacy of mobile communications data while travelling over the public Internet. It must also be kept safe when it reaches its destination.

For these reasons industry observers anticipate the widespread increase of storage encryption for data at rest. Critical factors in the success of such solutions are ease-of-management and end-user transparency.

Mobile Data Privacy with VPN

An effective means of protecting the privacy of mobile data sent over the Internet while away from the office is with a remote access VPN. A VPN can be used to encrypt a user’s web browsing activity and mask the IP address to prevent tracking and snooping.

A professional VPN automatically opens up an end-to-end encrypted tunnel between mobile device and company network that maintains the integrity of all data communications – keeping it private and secure.

In summary, the answer to protecting mobile data privacy in the enterprise is to use a professional VPN.

The most secure path is to provide employees with a company-managed professional remote access VPN that automatically encrypts data communications and shields web browsing activity and IP information from the unwanted attentions of hackers and snoopers.

In an increasingly regulated, threat filled business environment it surely cannot be long before companies decide to encrypt absolutely everything.