Security Questions To Ask Before Allowing Employees to Install Work Email on Personal Phones

By Laura Baker, CyberWyoming

In the 2020 State of the Phish annual report, Proofpoint looked at email on cell phones and found that 10% of people who had email on cell phones didn’t lock their phone at all and 24% only used a 4 digit pin. 

This is an interesting statistic for employers. 

Why?

Most companies I’ve talked to allow their employees to have work email on their personal cell phones.  It is a pretty common practice.

But have we thought this all the way through?

Let’s ask some security questions.

1. Are those cell phones password, face or fingerprint secured?

If you Google “how fast can a 4 digit PIN be hacked”, most articles say between 4 and 7 minutes.  The old 4 digit PINs are not secure.

Photo by PxHere

2. Who else has access to the cell phone?  Do you need to add a rule to your company’s email policy?

I’ll admit it, my kids have known my cell phone password before.  When they were younger and I was driving, I would hand them my phone and tell them to send a text for me.

Photo by PxHere

3. Have your employees been educated about accessing work emails on free or public wifi networks?

Do your employees know about the dangers of using public wifi? 
Are they signing into work email at a crowded coffee shop, possibly giving away the user ID and password?

Photo by mohamed hassan form PxHere

4. What is your plan if someone loses their cell phone and it has work email on it? 

Can the phone be remotely wiped? 
How fast can you change the email password? 
Is there a requirement in your policies for the employee to report that their personal cell phone was lost? 
Is there a requirement in your policies to make sure that employees don’t take screen prints of emails on their phone? 

Photo by Markus Winkler form PxHere

5. What about keeping work and personal contacts separate? 

Some phones blend the two sets of contacts together.  So, if the cell is compromised, work contacts could be affected.

Photo by PxHere

These are a lot of questions, but if you really want to secure your company’s email you have to think them through.

CyberWyoming can help! Contact us today at info@cyberwyoming.org and we will tell you about our free programs for small business education.

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