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It is becoming standard practice for many IT users in companies or organizations to be based remotely, either working from home or traveling on a regular basis. Frequent periods of being disconnected from the corporate network represent a real problem in ensuring that data is backed up in a timely and safe manner. There are a number of steps that can be followed to improve mobile data security effectively and securely.
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- Encrypt backup data. Local backup software on mobile devices can back up over whatever network is available to use. This could mean public Wi-Fi networks at hotels, coffee shops or client offices. Open networks are inherently insecure, making it essential to ensure that any data sent to backup servers is encrypted. Encryption should protect mobile data in flight and at rest to ensure that any sensitive information isn't exposed if a mobile device is lost.
- Implement disk encryption. Encryption should improve mobile data security for information on the move across the network as well as mobile data stored on disk. It's not enough to rely on device passwords as a method of obfuscating access to data. Laptop drives can easily be removed and connected to other devices to extract their content.
Protection must consist of two processes: encryption of the data on the disk itself and boot basic input/output system (BIOS) protection. Encryption protects the data on the disk from being accessed while BIOS boot protection ensures the device can't be started without a password, protecting against network-based attacks.
- Apply updates when on a known network. Operating system vendors provide regular updates to their software to improve mobile data security against known security holes. It's important to apply any security-related patches in a timely fashion, either where recommended by the IT department for corporate devices or as a good practice for BYOD hardware. When making updates, they should be performed from a safe network, such as one in your home or office, to reduce the risk of any malicious code being introduced into the update stream.
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