Mobile devices make it easy to access information from almost anywhere and to share it with just about everyone on earth. However, by their nature as small and highly portable, mobile devices are also more easily lost or stolen—and with them—the data they contain. For businesses, governments, militaries and other organizations that create and deal with sensitive information, mobile devices pose a huge security risk. While there are many solutions designed to protect data on mobile devices, what if you could delete sensitive data from the device before it is put at risk?
The use of cellular triangulation and Global Positioning System (GPS) makes it possible for mobile apps to trigger events or actions when the virtual “fence” is crossed. While the most common uses of geofencing are for marketing purposes (such as sending coupons or specials to your mobile device when near your favorite stores or restaurants) geofencing can also be used for data security. By configuring a geofencing security policy, sensitive business data could be deleted from a mobile device based on its physical location.
User errors are one of the biggest threats to the security of data and mobile devices exasperate this problem for the aforementioned reasons of easy device loss and theft. For example, a doctor may be accessing patient information from a hospital owned tablet as she makes her rounds. After a long shift, she accidentally packs the tablet into her bag thinking it is her personal device. By taking the work tablet with her, the doctor has put all the patient data that was downloaded to that device at risk. However, if geofencing was enabled, the patient data could be deleted from the device as soon as the device is transported 100 yards away from the hospital, or across the virtual “fence”.
Not only can geofencing delete data from the device, but it can also restrict access to data while outside of the approved geographies. By using geofencing policies it is possible to dramatically reduce accidental insider leaks, comply with export control regulations, and protect data on mobile devices.