By Omer Faiyaz

At the basic level, the most grave security threat small businesses face today is that most small business leaders are unaware of how serious the risks really are. Even those who do know how vulnerable they are have difficulty finding the time, money and expertise needed to strengthen their security position. Here’s a brief description of two top threats and advice on how to counter them.

1.    Lack of a BYOD policy: The BYOD – bring your own device – trend is here to stay as employees increasingly use the devices they carry everywhere to conduct business. Some small business owners even encourage it because it means they don’t have to provide devices out of company funds.

But every company should create a BYOD policy, establishing simple ground rules for company data storage, app downloads and access. At the very least, make sure employees password-protect their devices, control access to company data, avoid malicious or risky apps and do not accumulate data silos on their personal devices. Otherwise, you’re unnecessarily putting your business at risk.

  • 2.    Loss of devices with sensitive data: The very thing that makes mobile devices so handy for business and personal use – their portability – is also the trait that puts confidential data most at risk. It’s easy to misplace a smartphone or tablet, and theft of mobile devices is at near-epidemic levels. If your company has a BYOD policy, compliant employees will have password-protected the data on the device, which can slow a hacker down.

But unless you have a way to manage that device remotely, you won’t be able to wipe sensitive information from it or remove access to cloud-based information to which downloaded apps serve as a gateway. There are cloud-based device management solutions available that can address this – and protect customer and business information.

Many small business owners are unaware of the security risks they face every day – vulnerabilities that are increasing with the use of devices and cloud storage. Some will learn the hard way by experiencing a major data breach. But the good news is that the threats can be countered. By implementing a simple BYOD policy and using a multi-device management strategy to monitor and control the use of apps and enable remote management of company data, small business owners can do a better job of protecting sensitive information – and their companies.

Omer Faiyaz is the CEO of Remo Software, Makers of Remo MORE, cloud-based multidevice management.