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It’s difficult to judge whether or not an app can expose your business to risk without first downloading it. Despite their best efforts, Google Play and the iTunes store can’t possibly identify every single malicious application out there. Unfortunately, you’re charged with taking the security of your mobile devices into your own hands, but thanks to Google Play Protect, this responsibility is a bit more mild.

Google Play Protect is a new way to help users protect themselves from dangerous smartphone applications. It’s not necessarily an app on your device, but is instead a feature of the Google Play store itself. It’s found on Google Play Services v.11 or higher. Essentially, Google Play Protect scans your apps in the background and looks for anything sketchy going on behind your back. It can also manually scan your device for threats, as well as improve the detection of harmful apps that haven’t been installed through the Google Play store.

One of the major downfalls of Google Play Protect is that it can’t immediately scan an app that you install. Instead, you have to scan the app before you open it for the first time. We recommend that you always approach any new application with caution long before you download it from the Google Play store.

Even with Google Play Protect handling some of the dirty work behind the scenes to keep your devices safe, there are still measures that you can take to augment its approach. Here are just a few of them.

  • Only download apps from trustworthy sources: You might run into links that allow you to download an app to your device. By default, your device won’t let you download apps from external sources, and this is for a good reason. There is a greater chance that your organization could run into a malicious app while outside of the Google Play store. To be safe, only trust those that you find in the store itself.
  • Be wary of app permissions before downloading: Depending on the app you’re downloading, you might find that apps will require permissions to specific information on your device. An easy giveaway that an app isn’t the most secure is when it’s asking for too many permissions than you’re comfortable with. A great example is a flashlight app–why would it need access to your calls or text messages?
  • Consider Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): If each of your employees has a smartphone, a tablet, and a laptop, that’s three devices per user that are accessing important data. Therefore, it makes sense that in order to minimize risk, you implement some type of BYOD strategy that blacklists apps, remotely wipes compromised devices, and enhances mobile security.

Does your business need a way to ensure mobile security? NTConnections can hook you up with a great mobile device strategy that can help your organization minimize risk. To learn more, reach out to us at (703) 288-9767.