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Security Threats In Mobile Learning And Ways to Overcome Them

January 11, 2023 No Comments

By Eada Hudes

Introduction

Mobile Learning is becoming essential to an organization’s training and development program. Thus, mobile devices are now converting into “critical IT infrastructure” for most organizations. 

Mobile learning allows employees to train on the go, making it more convenient and flexible than other learning techniques and strategies for continued professional development. However, mobile learning may carry significant security and privacy risks owing to the vulnerability of mobile devices to threats such as viruses/malware, data security, user privacy, copyright issues, etc. 

Organizations need to be aware of the security concerns of mobile learning and implement appropriate controls to ensure that the employees can safely access the training resources. 

But don’t let the security threats keep you from investing in mobile learning, as organizations can easily overcome the challenges. If you are still not convinced, let us help you understand the many benefits of mobile learning. We will also discuss potential security threats and ways to overcome them.

Benefits of Mobile Learning

It is well-known that organizations that invest in the training and development of their employees are more likely to grow and sustain in the modern, fast-paced economy. Employees who get an opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge at the workplace feel happier and more productive and stay with the organization for a more extended period.   

Mobile learning opportunities are popular among the current workforce owing to the easy accessibility, affordability, and availability of mobile devices. Further, the availability of training modules on the phone allows the employee to be ever-ready for any issues they may face on the job – whether on or off the site,  while traveling, or working from the office or remotely.

Security Threats In Mobile Learning

With growing dependencies on mobile devices, the increased importance of mobiles, and limited security controls, mobile technology is attracting several cyber criminals. Consequently, cyber threats against mobile devices continue to multiply diversely.

1. Incompatibility Between Mobile OS and Security Software

While cybercriminals attack the top layers of the software, lower layers may also be vulnerable and exposed. Often, the operating systems of mobile devices are not compatible with the IT security systems that are already in place and may lead to the infiltration of unsecured files or malware into the organization’s network.    

2. Third-Party Mobile Apps

It is well-known that many third-party mobile applications use unsecured internet connections to access data, thus exposing the organization’s confidential data and personal information to cybercriminals. 

Mobile Privacy devices are easy to lose or be stolen. It is a potential threat as all data and personal information becomes accessible to a third person, even if one uses a secure lock.

Ways To Overcome Security Threats

There is a significant difference between traditional IT security and mobile security. Hence, organizations must be aware of how to overcome security threats, as discussed below:

1. Implement Network Security 

The first step in ensuring mobile security is implementing network security by adopting a multi-layered approach and application control. An efficient network security system would enable easy monitoring of the data flow and user behavior while connected to the network.

2. Secure Browsing

There are several ways to ensure secure browsing. To begin with, one must not connect to unencrypted, open wireless networks as there may be a chance that a cybercriminal has set it up to attack the data of unsuspecting users. One may also ensure secure browsing by not modifying the default browser settings on mobile devices. 

3. Use Effective Passwords And Biometrics

Organizations can secure mobile learning resources by authorizing access using authentication IDs and passwords. Providing biometrics access can further strengthen mobile security. Other methods to prevent cyber threats include standardization of password-setting procedures and automatic logout from the mobile learning app after a set timeframe of inactivity.

4. Malware Protection Mechanisms

Organizations must also invest in genuine malware protection mechanisms such as anti-virus software and firewall activation for their employees’ mobile devices. Remote wiping application is another helpful feature in case the mobile device is lost or stolen. Ensuring regular backing up of data and maintenance of mobile learning servers are also effective means to avoid security breaches. 

5. Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)

It is a practice to monitor the entire lifecycle of the Mobile Application, starting from its inception and planning to its retirement. It also implies track record and documentation are available of all the changes and updates made to the App through the years, including the evolution of its security features.   

6. Restricted User Privileges

Organizations can ensure mobile security by restricting access to unauthorized data and file sharing via WhatsApp, Bluetooth, WeTransfer, ShareIT, and other apps. They can also block inappropriate websites and chat rooms and prevent the download of unknown apps while the mobile learning app is running. It would also enable the organization to protect the content’s copyrights and intellectual property rights. 

Training managers can allow a safe exchange of comments and ideas between colleagues to tap into the peer learning potential. 

Security Awareness Training

Organizations must also equip their employees with prior knowledge and awareness of potential risks and threats associated with mobile learning. A blended learning approach is the most effective way to conduct security awareness training. Training managers can organize a virtual classroom session to disperse the information on the importance of mobile security through video conferencing. 

Practical security awareness training can enable the employees to take enough precautions, such as setting strong passwords, not allowing someone else to access their mobile devices, using the device’s inbuilt security features, etc. 

Conclusion

Mobile learning is an effective tool for imparting professional training to employees. However, before the organization incorporates mobile learning in its training and development program, it is vital to address all security challenges and concerns related to all mobile traffic. Security and privacy threats related to mobile devices can extensively hamper the benefits of mobile learning, including its convenience and flexibility. 

The organization can quickly achieve the desired mobile security by implementing stringent security mechanisms and imparting security awareness training to ensure that employees are taking enough prevention measures to secure their mobile devices.

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