Think You’re Secure? Why Apps Put You More At Risk and What You Can Do

It’s easy to do. You’re bored. You head over to the app store and browse. You find something that looks interesting, download it, and start using it.

Rinse. Repeat. Until your phone is filled with a variety of applications you may or may not use. The average person uses nine mobile apps on a daily basis, 30 apps every month. They have more than 80 apps installed on their phone.

Think all of those apps sitting there are safe, and not leaving you at risk?

There’s also the problem of what’s considered risky. Many enterprises consider WhatsApp to be a bad app, yet a lot of organizations use it for secure, encrypted messenger communication. Who’s correct?

Now add in the fact that when employees select apps, they do so with their own needs and goals in mind. Shadow IT is a big part of the bring-your-own-device culture, where employees download and use apps they are familiar with for their own productivity. IT isn’t always aware of these downloads, especially when you have a large, mobile staff. That can be detrimental, especially in the healthcare industry.

Creating a security policy for your employees to follow can help you keep your data safe. Things you can include are:

Use a password manager

A password manager app is a handy way to keep all passwords encrypted and protected. They generate random strings of characters that are less likely to be guessed. While there are apps like Google Chrome that offer to save passwords for you, it’s always better to rely on a well-known password manager.

Use a VPN

If you use public wifi, it’s important to use a VPN. A virtual private network can keep your data from being viewed by other people lurking on the public network. VPNs can also make data transmissions, avoid filtering and censorship, and give you a wider variety of content from around the world.

Know your app permissions

Every app you download is set up with default permissions. In most cases, people accept apps as they come. Double check your apps for permissions, and ask yourself if they make sense. Do they ask for access to data that isn’t relevant to its function? That can be a major warning sign that it’s putting you at risk.

Do a quick search for the app and company

Instead of hitting download on an app that looks interesting, head over and do a little research first. Google the app and company name. You can also add words like “scam” to find out if either are having trouble. This can alert you to potential problems and save you before you download it to your phone.

Patch, patch, patch

It can be a bit annoying how frequently you’re asked to update your apps. But this simple process will ensure that you have the latest versions of every app on your phone. There’s also a phone setting that allows this to take place automatically, to ensure you’re always up to date.

When was the last time you spoke to your employees about app security? Make today the day you incorporate app training into your security policy.

For IT Strategy, Cloud Conversion, or Help Desk Services reach out to us at Silver Linings Technology 360-450-4759.