The rise of mobility in businesses is an inevitable development, as evidenced by the increasing prevalence of shadow IT — the practice of using smartphones and other personal devices for work purposes. A survey by Cisco even found that managers are in favor of employees bringing their own gadgets, finding it a helpful addition to boosting productivity.
However, this new trend poses security risks. Let’s say that one of your employees is working on a top-secret Do not use top secret use “sensitive” project through an unauthorized laptop connected to a public Wi-Fi network. These networks are infamous for having weak security protocols, so this opens up the possibility for hackers to view, copy, and modify sensitive information. Cybercriminals also take advantage of software vulnerabilities, as they are well-aware that end-users typically neglect to install critical patches.
Mobile device management (MDM) can be a viable solution to this problem. This involves monitoring, managing, and securing employees’ mobile devices that are deployed across multiple service providers and operating systems.
For instance, if you have employees accessing data via a company-provided laptop, an office copier, and a personal smartphone, your IT administrators can install an application on each device to enforce a set of rules in a centralized fashion.
What should MDM software cover? Here are a few essential features:
#1. Policy management and enforcement
To protect your organization’s confidential data from unauthorized access, policy enforcement is a must. You need to have policies such as access control and acceptable use to secure your information.
Access control policies include high-level requirements that specify how access is managed and who may access information under what circumstances. These may pertain to resource usage across an organization, such as controlling the use of confidential files and downloading them to a device or whitelisting MAC addresses.
A good practice that your company can use is geofencing. This makes use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to define geographical boundaries when accessing data. For instance, once your employees step outside the walls of your office, they won't be able to access certain applications, protecting sensitive information within a secure area.
An alternative is the use of the corporate-owned, personally enabled (COPE) model, in which employees choose a device and have your company purchase it. While the gadget is provided for them, your business owns it and has the legal right to manage it. This is much more secure than implementing a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, which can make you less capable of controlling devices. To make things worse, it can conflict with consumer privacy laws in some areas.
On the other hand, an acceptable use policy specifies which apps and operating systems can be used for business operations. For example, a smartphone can be set to only run apps such as Skype for Business, Evernote, Hootsuite, and LinkedIn. This lessens the possibility of any data breaches in the future via malware-riddled apps.
Most MDM solutions make it possible for your company to have a corporate app catalog that enables you to push helpful apps to your employees. This is an effective solution as this helps you have a bird’s-eye view of what programs are running on your mobile devices. It separates personal from corporate apps, so an employee will be less likely to accidentally mishandle confidential data.
#2. Inventory management
Aside from enforcing policies to protect your data, MDM also helps you with the inventory of mobile devices. This includes registration, assigning users to groups, centralized dashboard reporting, and billing tracking.
Inventory reports provide a comprehensive summary of your MDM operations and compliance. This should include a list of all the mobile hardware and software connected to your network for easier monitoring.
#3. Security management
Ensuring the integrity of your business’s information should always be a top priority. MDM software must include security features such as the ability to set password guidelines, configure virtual private networks (VPNs), install authentication certificates, disable features such as the camera and GPS, remotely wipe devices, and detect jailbroken or rooted handsets, detect missing patches, enforce encryption, enforce robust password and access policies and so much more. .
Let’s say you’re providing tablets for your employees, and they can take it anywhere outside the office. MDM software can disable some of the features that are normally available to on-premises end users and leave out only the ones needed by your company. And in case a device is lost or stolen, it can be reformatted easily, mitigating any risks of data theft.
What’s more, MDM software can also provide remote patches and software distribution. This makes it possible for security updates to be installed to devices registered on your network wherever they may be. If a new malware strain is likely to affect your business, you can easily push out updates that will protect your data from any potential breaches.
Want to ensure the security of your data? F1 Solutions offers a mobile device management solution that will help secure your mobile devices while allowing your employees the freedom to work in an environment that is most productive to them. a Contact F1 today to know more.