From paper shredders to employee swipe cards to anti-virus software, you go to great lengths to secure and protect proprietary company information. Yet many companies provide BlackBerry devices, HTC phones or other smartphones to employees without a second thought about security threats. Unfortunately, that’s a mistake that could cost you.

According to a report by research group Juniper Networks, hackers are targeting smartphones and other mobile devices in growing numbers. Using malware similar to that used to hack computers, these criminals are gaining access to personal and business information, posting a substantial legal threat and cost to companies, and potentially exposing private customer data. While the threat to smartphones is not as great as it is to computers (yet), it is still a big enough threat not to be ignored.  Utilizing a well-designed IT strategy is one method of minimizing the problem.

Additionally, there are a number of apps available that you can use to keep employee smartphones secure such as those offered by many IT support providers. Here are four of the top mobile security apps available:

1. Lookout

Lookout is a free mobile security app that works by identifying emerging threats as well as preventing fraud and guarding against cyber-crime. The app is available for tablets and mobile phones using iOS and Android platforms. The company also offers an integrated approach to protecting company data by making its Lookout security platform available for businesses that are looking for a way to protect their entire infrastructure.

2. Avast

Avast Mobile Security is another free app available to protect company mobile devices running the Android platform. It provides a number of services, including antivirus protection, warnings about infected websites, filters for incoming calls and messages, a firewall to block hackers and tracking for lost or stolen devices. In addition, Avast provides tracking of data and Wi-Fi usage, auto-corrects website URLs and monitors mobile security.

3. BlackBerry Secure Workspace

The recently announced BlackBerry Secure Workspace allows iOS and Android users the ability to toggle between corporate and personal modes. BlackBerry Secure Workspace lets businesses segment off corporate email, calendars, customer data and intranet, while not intruding on employee personal information. Cost will run approximately $99 per year for Workspace, on top of the cost of the necessary licenses for BES10 v10.1.(3)(4).

4. McAfree Mobile Security

From a name familiar in computer anti-virus circles, the McAfree Mobile Security app offers a comprehensive mobile security suite that includes text and voice blocking features, app auditing, and anti-virus and anti-theft protection. Cost of the service is $30. Although a bit more complicated to configure so that it is not obtrusive, McAfree is a trusted anti-virus company that has now moved its services to the mobile world.