Many Smartphones and Tablet computers have access to corporate applications and their data through Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and corporate-sponsored mobility strategies.  Mobile Security has become a popular topic for good reason.  According to CIO Insights, mobile data traffic is expected to increase eleven-fold by 2018. Because of increasing data traffic on mobile devices, some government agencies are looking at legislation to require manufacturers to add a smartphone kill switch to remotely wipe a mobile device if it is lost or stolen.

Keeping in mind that a four-digit iPhone passcode could be hacked in minutes, this begs the question:

Does your Smartphone Need a Kill Switch?

Having a smartphone Kill Switch may give a sense of false security.  Adding a kill switch to protect your privacy and corporate information is reactive, rather than proactive.  If not done properly, you could wipe your employees’ irreplaceable information, such as family photos.  A Kill Switch may also make the phone entirely unrecoverable.  This means you will surely need to replace the device once the remote kill switch is invoked.

Proactive Mobile Security

Before you hit the Kill Switch consider proactive mobile-security measures. Smartphones and Tablets are great innovations that allow your employees to stay in touch and work anywhere.  Access to email, operational data, financial information, and customer information through a mobile device can empower your employees and increase their productivity.  Access to this information should be password-protected at all times.  Additionally, any corporate data should be encrypted in transit and at rest. Only approved applications should be allowed on the mobile device and personal data should be stored in a separate “container” from company information.

Beyond Mobile-Device Management

In addition to protecting the information stored on and accessed by a mobile device, you should take the time to train employees on your mobile-security policy.  Your mobile security policies and training should touch on topics such as what is an acceptable use of a Mobile Device in the workplace, why mobile security is important, and how to report a mobile-security incident.

Requiring manufacturers to include a Kill Switch in a mobile device does not go far enough to protect your company information assets.  Having a comprehensive mobile security plan, however, will go further to prevent data loss in the long run.

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