Organizations in every industry, from banking to retail, healthcare and more, are required to apply mobile data protection rules set by governments that impose massive fines in cases of noncompliance.

Until the early 2000s, it was simpler to control data flows because information was mostly accessed from computers. Since then, companies have digitized their frameworks and services, creating a cloud-first and mobile-first world — and greatly increasing the amount of data transiting between mobile devices, computers and servers. As a result, corporate and personal data is now commonly accessed by smartphones and tablets, leaving it highly exposed to attacks targeting mobile devices.

Due to these changes in the way clients and other collaborators consume data, organizations now face the challenge of ensuring that their mobile frameworks do not conflict with data protection regulations. This means data must be collected accurately and securely for limited, clearly stated purposes. Furthermore, it must be stored for no longer than is absolutely necessary.

Four Steps to Properly Secure Mobile Data

Below are four steps security leaders should take to ensure that enterprise mobility does not infringe upon the privacy of the personal data your collaborators and clients handle.

1. Evaluate Mobile Exposure and Risk Levels

Whether an organization handles personal data, has a mobile fleet, allows mobile workers to connect to hot spots or develops mobile applications will determine the extent to which its mobile framework exposes data. During the evaluation stage, security leaders should list all the data handled by collaborators and clients to determine whether any of it is personal. Then, they should define the width of the mobile framework to quantify the risk exposure.

2. Assess Security Measures

You may have set a mobile security policy forbidding your employees to download applications from third-party stores and implemented enterprise mobility management (EMM) to secure your mobile fleet. But are these measures enough to truly understand your data exposure level? This stage is about diagnosing your mobile framework to make sure the personal data handled by your mobile users is efficiently protected against leakage and theft.

3. Adapt Security Measures to Risk

If your organization’s current level of security is not commensurate to your risk and exposure, it is noncompliant with mobile data protection regulations. Security leaders must implement new measures to meet legal privacy standards.

An EMM solution provides a single platform to manage mobile devices, apps and data. From a security point of view, this allows IT leaders to:

  • Enforce top-down security policy on devices.
  • Activate mobile threat defense (MTD) capabilities to fully protect the managed fleet against mobile threats.

The MTD technology smoothly integrates with management platforms, adding the security capabilities they lack. This enables security teams to identify and block threats in real time on users’ devices, and automatically update devices and applications’ compliance status in the EMM solution.

Mobile application security testing solutions reveal behaviors and vulnerabilities that could jeopardize data privacy from within internal applications. This gives analysts a clear understanding of what data applications collect and handle.

To protect enterprise data against external threats, an application self-protection solution secures mobile apps from the inside out by adding the security layer in their source codes. This in-app module builds self-aware and self-protective applications.

4. Prepare for the Inevitability of a Breach

Some regulations, such as the European Union (EU)’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Australia’s Notifiable Data Breaches scheme, require organizations to keep track of events and actions performed on data in the event of a breach. To comply with these requirements, organizations should deploy a security information and event management (SIEM) solution and enrich it with mobile data.

Learn More About Mobile Data Protection

IBM and security firm Pradeo implemented several integrations to deliver complete, automatic management of mobile security and help organizations comply with mobile data protection regulations. Learn more here.

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