The days of employees being tied to a conventional desk phone are now a distant memory. Now most employees are fully equipped to work remotely with the latest smart phone; however, modern technology means criminals now have more opportunity than ever to target personal information and access company data. From hacking and harassment to theft and viruses, the risks are real, but there are a few ways you can protect company phones.

1. Practice prevention

Always better than seeking a cure after the fact, preventing your employees’ phones from being targeted by cyber-crime before it strikes is the best form of defense. Mobile phones have become more like PC’s so installing mobile security apps is a necessity if you are to stay ahead of the game.

2. Back to basics

Loss and theft of mobile phones remains common. Not only does the actual handset have resale value, the data contained within it can be used and sold. Issuing simple reminders to staff to protect company property, and to remain vigilant in public places can be enough to prevent problems.

3. Password protection

Setting a password or swipe pattern on a phone is easy, yet so many phone users fail to do so. Unprotected phones offer unlimited access to voicemail, text messages, emails and other important information. Provide individual passwords at the time of issuing a phone, or insist your employees set their own as soon as they start using their phone.

4. Trusted texts

Text messages may appear to be coming from a trusted colleague or friend; however, networks don’t confirm the sender’s identity. There are websites specifically set up to send hoax texts that appear to come from a recognizable number. Employees should be made aware of the risks and advised not to share sensitive information, contacts, or make negotiations by text message.

5. Viral vigilance

Phones can be compromised in a matter of minutes if exposed to a virus. Whether they have been physically planted in the phone by a criminal, or accidentally downloaded from a bad hyperlink, viruses can scrape your contacts, call logs, images and messages. Warning signs that a phone has been hacked include high data charges and unusually fast battery-drain, so ensure employees are aware of the warning signs and act quickly if they have suspicions.

6. Hackers and hoaxers

Phone hacking is big business and is becoming more sophisticated than ever. Hackers can easily access a phone’s operating system and reroute data via a hoax page in order to skim your information before sending it on to its legitimate destination. This information can then be used to listen to calls, track your internet activity and pinpoint your location as well as instruct your phone to transmit audio, video and data.

Whatever plans you put in place to keep your employees’ phones safe, the battle to keep cyber-crime at bay does not look likely to go away any time soon. All you can do is be prepared and continue to review your procedures regularly to ensure your company and employees remain abreast of the latest developments.a