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4 Critical Steps to Mobile Security (iPhones, iPads, Laptops)

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Is your favorite gadget burning your bottom line?

No, I’m not referring to the unproductive hours you spend on Angry Birds. I’m talking about mobile security.

Why is Mobile Security So Vital?

Think about the most indispensible gadget you use for work – the one without which you cannot survive. I’m taking a calculated guess here, but I bet your list doesn’t include a photocopier, fax or even a desktop computer. Business people have become highly dependent on digital devices that keep them connected, efficient, flexible and independent no matter where they are. In other words, we are addicted to our mobile gadgets: iPhones, Droids, BlackBerrys, iPads, tablets, laptops and the corresponding Wi-Fi connections that link us to the business world.

To stay nimble and ahead of the game, we must be able to respond to any request (a call, email, social media post, text message), research anything (a client’s background, solutions to a problem) and stay current on what’s happening in our field of influence (breaking news, tweets) even when we are out of the office.

But the same gadgets that give us a distinct competitive advantage, if left unprotected, can give data thieves and unethical competitors a huge and unfair criminal advantage. The net result of organizational data theft can be devastating to your job security, your bottom line, and your long-term reputation. The solution, of course, is to proactively protect your mobile office, whether it’s digital, physical or both. Mobile security is not optional.

Data Thieves Target Mobile Offices

What is a mobile office? If you own any of the gadgets listed above and use them even in minor ways for work (checking email, surfing, social media), you have a mobile office. Smartphones and tablets are more powerful than the desktops of just three years ago. Laptops are the bull’s eye for data thieves, though their attention is quickly moving to smaller, easier-to-steal gadgets. If you work out of your car, travel for your company or have a home office in addition to your regular workplace, you are a mobile worker.

Ignoring the call to protect these devices is no different than operating your office computer without virus protection, passwords, security patches or even the most basic physical protection.  If you do nothing about the risk, you will get stung, and in the process, may lose your job, your profits and potentially even your company. The threat isn’t idle – I lost my business because I refused to acknowledge the power of information and the importance of protecting it like gold.

To protect yourself and your company from becoming victims of mobile data theft, start with the 4 Critical Steps to Defend Your Mobile Gadgets:

  1. Make sure that employees aren’t installing data hijacking apps (like the Chess app that was pulled from the Android Marketplace because it was siphoning bank account logins off of users’ smartphones) on their smartphones and tablets thinking that they are harmless games.
  2. Implement basic mobile security on all mobile devices, including: secure passwords, remote tracking and wiping, auto-lock, auto-wipe and call-in account protection.
  3. Only utilize protected Wi-Fi connections to access the web. Free hotspots are constantly monitored by data sniffers looking to piggyback into your corporate website.
  4. Don’t ignore non-digital data theft risks like client files left in cars, hotel rooms and off-site offices. The tendency to over-focus on digital threats leaves your physical flank (documents, files, paper trash, etc.) exposed.

John Sileo is an award-winning author and international speaker on the dark art of deception (identity theft, data privacy, social media manipulation) and its polar opposite, the powerful use of trust, to achieve success. He is CEO of The Sileo Group, which advises teams on how to multiply performance by building a culture of deep trust. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, the FDIC, and Homeland Security. Sample his Keynote Presentation (he shares how he lost $300,000, 2 years and his business to data breach) or watch him on Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes or Fox Business. 1.800.258.8076.

Mobile Security Webinar: Defending SmartPhones, iPads, Laptops Against Cyber Attacks

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Cyber Attack Webinar - John Sileo

  • Are iPhones, Droids and BlackBerry mobile phones secure enough to be used for sensitive business?
  • What is App Hijacking and how do I keep it from stealing all of my GPS coordinates, contacts, logins and emails?
  • Given that laptops account for almost 50% of workplace data theft, how do I protect myself and my company?
  • Are Wi-Fi Hot Spots a recipie for data hijacking disaster and what is the alternative?
  • How do I protect my personal and professional files that live in the cloud (Gmail, DropBox)?

Free Webinar – Cyber Attack: Data Defense for Your Mobile Office

In the information economy, tools like the iPad, WiFi and smartphones have shifted the competitive landscape in favor of mobile-savvy businesses. But are you in control of your information, or are you being controlled? Learn how to be in control of your critical information while protecting your business’ mobile-digital assets.

This Webinar series, sponsored by Deluxe®, is a multi-part interactive Webinar series designed to address these topics and provide simple, actionable tools to protect and enhance the efficiency with which you run your business.

In this class, Cyber Attack: Data Defense for your Mobile Office, you will learn how to:

  • Protect smartphones and tablets from common attacks, including app hijacking, Wi-fi Sniffing, Link Jacking and other criminal tools.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of cloud-computing model (Gmail, SalesForce, online billing).
  • Lock down Wi-Fi data leakage in the office and on the road.
  • Protect your traveling office in hotel rooms, airports and off-site offices

Interactive Q & A to follow. All registrants will receive a FREE Whitepaper after the webinar.

Tuesday, January 31, 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST | 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CST | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PST

Are You Begging to Get Fired?

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We’ve all done it before – left the table to get a coffee refill or go to the bathroom and left our laptop, iPad, smartphone or purse sitting on the table. We justify it by telling ourselves that we are in a friendly place and will only be gone a second. Our tendency is to blame technology for information theft, but the heart of the problem is almost always a human error, like leaving our devices unattended. Realizing that carelessness is the source of most laptop theft makes it a fairly easy problem to solve.

My office is directly above a Starbucks, so I spend way too much time there. And EVERY time I’m there, I watch someone head off to the restroom (see video) or refill their coffee and leave their laptop, iPad, iPhone, briefcase, purse, client files and just about everything else lying around on their table like a self-service gadget buffet for criminals and opportunists alike.

I trust deeply in the honesty and integrity of the people I know well, but if you are trusting your Starbucks crowd with this amazingly valuable data, you are going to get a steaming hot lap full of trouble. Data thieves target places like this because it is an upscale, trusting clientele. Just ask Ben Bernake, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose wife got taken at a Starbucks.

Just about 50% of major corporate data breaches are caused by the theft of a laptop computer. They don’t want the computer, they want the data on it, and it can cost your business millions. The average breach recovery cost, according to the highly respected Ponemon Institute, is $6.75 million dollars.

It’s one thing if you leave a personal computer and it gets stolen – you aren’t harming anyone other than you and your family. But when it’s a company computer, or has work files on it, you are putting your employer at risk for lawsuits, government compliance fines, reputation damage and months of headaches.

The answer is simple: train your employees first on personal responsibility with their data-bearing gadgets. If they understand the selfish reasons not to abandon their laptop or iPad in a cafe (the data on it is worth a mint, they could lose their job, etc.), the chances of them applying what they have learned strengthens. Additional points of training can include:

  • Proper usage guidelines including what data can be loaded to the laptop and what cannot.
  • Good password habits and a strong login password that is shared with no one.
  • Proper use of WiFi (not the free hotspots at the cafe, airport or hotel)
  • Tethering, remote tracking and remote wiping techniques to minimize risk.
  • Encryption, especially simple PDF password encryption to email private files.
  • Proper physical security while traveling with the laptop.

If you are going to expose yourself and your company while getting another cup of coffee, you might as well apply for a job as a Barista while you are there. Don’t endanger the health of your company (or the safety of your own personal data) for the sake of convenience. Next time, you might be the one caught on video.

Award-winning author and identity theft keynote speaker John Sileo trains executives and employees to respect and protect the data that makes their company profitable. His clients included the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, FDIC, Pfizer, Blue Cross and organizations of all sizes. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076 or watch him deliver an Identity Theft Speech.

Identity Theft Prevention in a Hotel

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I just finished giving an identity theft prevention and data privacy speech for Pfizer and one of the questions I received was how to protect your laptop, passports, client files, etc. when you leave them behind in your hotel room. I’ve blogged on this before, but thought that I would post a quick video reminder on protecting your identity in a hotel room. We are at such a greater risk of identity theft when we are traveling that it is worth taking a second look at your habits.

For more tips of this type, please visit my YouTube Identity Theft Expert Video Channel at www.YouTube.com/JohnSileo. It is relatively new, but my office is working diligently to add content every week. Some people like to read, some like to watch, so I will continue to add blogs of both types. Travel wisely this summer.

John Sileo
Motivational Identity Theft Speaker