Is your portable device safe in the wrong hands?

What does your data mean to your organisation? And how far would you go to keep it safe?

Misplacing your laptop or phone is frustrating and in most cases, it’s not losing the actual device that’s going to cost you but the information that is stored on it.

You’ve heard it in the news and may have even done it yourself… It’s early morning, you’ve got 101 things spinning round in your head and you’re late for that important business meeting. You finally get to your destination and when it’s too late, you realise you’ve left your phone, laptop, tablet, maybe even your whole bag on the train in the rush and commotion.

The best way to protect yourself and your company from exposure is to encrypt your devices so the data can’t be used by those who shouldn’t have access to it. It is worth noting that encryption doesn’t prevent someone from accessing the device but denies them from seeing the content in its secure form, instead they will see nonsense.

So what is Encryption?

Simply put, encryption is the method of converting data (information, messages or files) into a specific code, which can only be viewed or read by someone with the ‘encryption key’. To anyone else, the message will be gibberish. You can view our Encryption fact sheet here.

Example: When you use your credit card online, your computer encrypts that personal data so that it can’t be stolen whilst it is being transferred. Or if you have a file on your device that you don’t want others to see, you can encrypt it so that a password needs to be used to access it; this is great for sending sensitive information or documents via email.

Some phones and tablets will have a system encryption feature that encrypts all the data and can only be accessed with a PIN or password. This is ideal for those employees on the go who carry devices containing sensitive data.

Data that should be protected include: Personally identifiable information and confidential business information or intellectual property.

Personal – Information that can be used to steal your identity: Name (full or partial), passport or driving licence number, financial records, credit card number, account information, home address, email addresses, DOB or place of birth.

Business – Information that can be used against your company or its customers: All customer records, financial reports, legal documents and even product releases or R&D developments.

What are the options?

Full Disk Encryption – Does exactly what it says on the tin! The whole drive will be completely encrypted from the operating system to the files, including the temporary ones. You will need to enter a password or PIN each time the device turns on.

File/Folder Encryption – This method can be used if you only want a certain file or folder to be encrypted. There are various ways to encrypt all types of files such as email, Gmail, Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013 documents, PDFs and Evernote notes.

Removable drive Encryption – This is the important one for those companies that allow employees to use removable drives, such as flash drives or laptops. This method allows the encrypted information to be accessible to a certain individual or group alone.

These three options can be offered separately, or together for your organisation to select the appropriate type for each situation. Learn more about the Encryption solutions that we provide.

Disadvantages of encrypting your devices:

Slows the Performance – Encrypting your device means that it could affect the speed that the device runs at. How much it affects it will depend on the device’s hardware and its ability to run the encryption.

No way back – If you decided you wanted to disable the encryption on your device, you may need to perform a factory reset. However, this will also erase all the data you have on the device. Meaning you’ll have to set it up all over again.

If you leave your device logged in you’re not protected – The data may be encrypted but if you walk away from your device and leave it logged in then of course someone can access your files, so always ensure to lock your device or switch off when you leave any device unattended.

How can Metaphor IT help?

With the popularity of BYOD (Bring your own device) programs increasing within the business environment, so have the risks associated with using the devices. Companies need to consider a reasonable solution to tackle the security risk of using such devices, whilst still enabling employees the freedom to work on what they need to in environments outside the office.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were solutions out there that allow business’ to secure and encrypt only the business data on a BYOD device, with a remote wipe functionality that can erase only the company data should the employee leave or lose the device. Well there is and we can assist.

If you have a requirement to encrypt and protect company data, roll out encryption across company wide mobile devices or indeed require a mobile device management solution then please call our expert team, even if it is just advice you are after. We are here to help.