Apple, The FBI and Your Business: Why Encryption Is Important

security lock on keyboardThe Federal Bureau of Investigation recovered the iPhone of one of the terrorists who responsible for the San Bernardino mass shooting that took place in late 2015. The FBI took Apple to court to get it’s help in decrypting the phone so the FBI could read the messages of the terrorists. Of course as recently reported the FBI might have a way to decrypt the phone without Apple’s help.

Many technology companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Snapchat, have publicly sided with Apple.

In fact, many of these companies have announced their intentions to make their products more secure.

For example, WhatsApp hopes to encrypt both the text messaging and voice calling feature of its mobile app.

Therefore, the FBI’s decision to make this issue public may make it more difficult for the organization to recover users’ data in the future.

So what does all of this mean for your business?

Mobile Security for Businesses

CompTia conducted a study about a year ago on the importance of mobile security for businesses. According to the resulting report, 28 percent of businesses believe that security is far more important today than it was just two years ago. A high percentage of the businesses involved in the study believe that security will rise even more in importance by 2017.

The Importance of Mobile Security

The battle between Apple and the FBI is clear evidence that many technology companies consider mobile security to be a very serious matter.

However, the importance of mobile security is not initially evident to many business owners.

This is especially true when it comes to the owners of small businesses, because they tend to be relatively new to the business world. There are two main reasons why it is necessary for all businesses to make mobile security a top priority:

1. A lack of mobile security could make your business’ data and info vulnerable to breaches from hackers.

2. Customers will not have much confidence in a brand that does not value or provide mobile security and/or security overall.

Every business has information and data that is of vital essence to its operations. In many cases, it is essential that this information and data is kept secure and private. For example, no business wants hackers to get their hands on sensitive customer information, such as credit card numbers. If you have a mobile app that allows users to pay for your products and services, mobile security is necessary to avoid financial identity theft.

Customers will be hesitant to use the mobile apps of a company that does not value mobile security. Apple values mobile security because it value having the trust of its customers. In fact, this case served to strengthen the trust Apple’s customers have in the brand. Just a few cases of financial identity theft is enough to cause your customers to swear off using your mobile apps or doing business with you at all.

Common Types of Mobile Security Breaches

CompTia’s study states that a whopping 55 percent of security breaches are the result of human error. The other 45 percent of security breaches are caused by technology error. Bring Your Own Device policies are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. However, this phenomena has led to more security threats, because most employees don’t have the knowledge necessary to recognize these threats. As a business owner, you need to consider the role of your employees in the vulnerability of sensitive data.

Mobile malware, the disabling of security features by employees, and lost/stolen devices are the main reasons for mobile security breaches. Mobile malware has become much more prevalent in the past few years. One major reason for this is that mobile devices tend to be more closed in nature. This prevents IT departments from placing safeguards on mobile devices.

Many businesses make the mistake of putting flexibility and productivity over mobile security. These businesses view mobile security as the last priority until an incident occurs that convinces them otherwise.

How to Develop a Mobile Security Plan

As a business owner, you should think about developing a mobile security plan for the sake of both your business and your customers. Fortunately, you don’t need to focus on technical improvement. Instead, you need to focus on educating your employees. In order for your mobile security plan to be effective, you need to make this education ongoing and interactive. You should make the education measurable, so that you can identify which aspects of mobile security your employees still need to work on.

Besides education, you should encrypt sensitive data on mobile devices. Both apps and operating systems should be kept up to date, as mobile malware tends to be more effective on older versions of apps and operating systems. While you may not want to eliminate the Bring Your Own Device policies in your workplace completely, you should ban the use of jail broken smartphones. You should also ask your employees to keep a password on their mobile devices.

The case between Apple and the FBI only serves to highlight the importance of mobile security for all businesses, from small mom-and-pop companies to massive businesses like Apple and Google. it is up to you to put a mobile security plan in to place to protect your business and your customers from security breaches. Don’t make the mistake of considering mobile security to be your last priority. Many businesses have had to learn this lesson the hard way after suffering a major mobile security incident.


About Ramon Ray

Ramon Ray, Marketing & Technology Evangelist, & Infusionsoft. Full bio at . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook