It used to be that employing a remote workforce was a bit of an anomaly. Today, it’s the norm in dozens of industries around the world. However, just because it’s normal, doesn’t mean it’s free of risk. Your business needs to take a proactive approach to securing mobile devices, otherwise you’re going to be a moving target for hackers and cyber criminals.

4 Security Tips Worth Implementing

When it comes to small businesses, mobile devices represent some of the more vulnerable access points. All it takes is one employee to get lazy and make a bad decision and a hacker has an opportunity to compromise the entire network.

In a world where mobile devices and people are virtually inseparable, you don’t have a whole lot of leeway with security. You either step up and take a proactive approach to the issue, or you wait for something to happen. Assuming the former strategy sounds more attractive than the latter, here are a few proactive security tips you can implement.

1. Provide Secure/Optimized Network Access

When it comes to mobile access to cloud applications, some network setups disrupt the user experience, motivating users to ditch the IT-approved mobile access solution in favor of going direct to the Internet. The result: IT loses visibility and control, and users are left exposed to the threats of the public Internet. .

“In these kinds of setups, mobile users are either connected directly, bypassing corporate network security policies, or they are forced through a specific network location, which affects performance,” Dave Greenfield writes for Cato Networks. “Given how widespread mobile adoption is, and its continued and rapid growth, enterprises should consider solutions that offer mobile users secure and optimized access from anywhere.”

2. Encourage Stronger Authentication

If you were to poll your employees on their mobile device security practices, you’d probably be shocked by how weak they are. This is especially problematic when it comes to passwords and authentication methods.

For example, most people use the same password and pin code across multiple accounts. This creates a domino effect where one compromised passcode can give a hacker access to dozens of accounts.

Not only should you encourage better password habits for employees, but it’s also smart to require two-factor authentication for any device that has access to your company’s network (or confidential data).

3. Have a Strategy for Every Scenario

You need to think ahead and have a strategy for any scenario that could emerge. One of the more common issues occurs when remote employees misplace or lose mobile devices.

In this scenario, the best thing is to have a “lose it, lock it, wipe it” strategy. This allows you to lock a stolen device and then wipe all of its data (including text messages, emails, and files) so that prying eyes can’t access confidential information.

4. Educate Employees

Finally, make sure you aren’t just throwing a bunch of rules and requirements at your employees and asking them to follow suit. If you truly want to get buy-in from your employees, take the time to educate them on security issues and the importance of mitigating risk. The more they know, the less friction there will be.

Keep Your Mobile Workforce Safe

When it comes to enhancing security protocols, small businesses are often reluctant to invest too much time and money. This is typically because of two key factors: (1) they’re afraid they’ll never get a positive ROI, and (2) they don’t want to overwhelm employees and make them feel restricted.

While these concerns are normal, they aren’t excuses for maintaining a lax approach to mobile security. In today’s hostile environment, you must be proactive. Implementing the tips highlighted in this article will cost you something up front—and employees may not be excited about stricter policies—but that’s the price of keeping your organization safe over the long haul.

AuthorJenna Cyprus is a freelance writer from Renton, WA who regularly covers tech, business, marketing, and social media. Follow her on Twitter.

Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer and business consultant who covers business, technology, and entrepreneurship. She's lectured for several universities, and worked with over 100 businesses over the course of the last 15 years. She's a mother of two kids, and loves to go camping, hiking, and skiing with her family.