mobile device management

Device management is an essential part of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. Like it or not, we now live in a world where employees are using their phones in the workplace, whether they are doing so for business or personal reasons. The pandemic only increased the likelihood of personal devices being used for work, as more people worked from home or outside the office in some capacity.

WHAT IS MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT?

Every time an employee uses a mobile device, whether it’s just to check work email or to connect to your network, they are creating a vulnerability through which hackers can attack. This becomes an even bigger threat when the device is connected to the internet outside of the office, where your organization’s firewall and secure Wi-Fi network are not offering at least some protection. Mobile device management is the set of policies, monitoring software, and employee best practice training that minimize the risk of mobile device usage. Mobile devices can include smartphones, tablets, public terminals, and personal laptops.

WHY IS DEVICE MANAGEMENT IMPORTANT TO YOUR CYBER SECURITY?

Why do we need to worry about device management? Because the threat landscape has never been more severe. According to the 2022 Global Mobile Threat Report from Zimperium, there has been a 466% increase in exploited, zero-day mobile vulnerabilities. The report also revealed that:

    • There have been 2,034,217+ new mobile malware samples detected in the wild in 2021
    • 42% of enterprises reported mobile devices and web apps led to a security incident
    • 75% of phishing sites specifically targeted mobile devices
    • 23% of mobile devices encountered malicious applications worldwide
    • 10,000,000+ mobile endpoints were impacted by threats

When a single mobile attack can crash an entire organization, device management becomes an essential piece of your cybersecurity puzzle.

WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF A PROPER DEVICE MANAGEMENT SOLUTION?

When considering your approach to mobile device management and device security, the first step is to establish use policies that everyone – from the CEO to the newest hire – must adhere to. And those policies must be not only established but enforced with zero tolerance for violations and no exceptions.

A solid mobile security strategy includes:

Mobile Device Management Security Policy

Mobile devices can pose a significant security risk for your organization.

Yet 95% of companies allow employees to use smartphones and tablets to access corporate resources – with good reason since it often improves productivity.

The first step in protecting your business is to establish policies about the use of mobile devices, whether they are issued by the company or owned by the employees.

It is not only reasonable but prudent to insist that employees who access your network to have the necessary security protection on their devices.

In conjunction with limiting sensitive information access to only those employees who must have it, the establishment of strictly enforced policies regarding the use of mobile devices can prevent some of the risks.

    • Require employees to access the network through secure means, whether that is the company network, a secure home Wi-Fi, or a VPN
    • Require all mobile devices to install recommended security to be used to access your network (even email)
    • Consider installing an app that allows you to wipe proprietary information from devices in case of a security breach, internal threat, or an employee who has left the organization

Utilize Mobile Device Management Tools

Nearly two-thirds – 63 % – of companies do not use mobile device management tools to ensure that sensitive company data is protected.

Mobile device management (MDM) is software that monitors and manages mobile devices – employee-owned and company-owned – that connect to your network.

These tools streamline the security management across service providers like TELUS, Bell, and Rogers, as well as across operating systems like Android and iOS.

Having a secure network that you then allow unsecured mobile devices to connect to is like leaving the front door of your house unlocked while you’re away. Anyone can get in.

Integrated Security Approach

As minimum requirements for comprehensive mobile device security, CSO recommends:

    • Centralized access management
    • Role-based permissions
    • Advanced encryption,
    • The capability to manage passwords and remote content wiping

If your company does not have mobile device management, your Calgary organization is at risk.

No business is completely protected without securing every endpoint, and the ubiquity of mobile is such that, without MDM, the risk of a data breach that results in lost client information is unallowably high.

THE BENEFITS OF HAVING IRONCLAD DEVICE MANAGEMENT

Modern businesses no longer have the luxury of ignoring mobile device security. Regardless of industry, proper device management minimizes risks for your organization. These varied industry examples demonstrate how ubiquitous mobile devices are and the devastation that can occur without proper device management in place.

  • Construction

    The construction industry relies on the ability to quickly submit bids, sign contracts, manage the supply chain, and work with contractors and suppliers quickly and efficiently. This work is most often done from the field, onsite at a project, or in the car. Mobile devices have become the lifeblood of construction industry efficiency. Lack of security on mobile devices at a construction site can introduce unpredictable risk and slow productivity. Implementing proper device management can minimize the risk. Without proper security in place, not only can the entire company be shut down from malware or ransomware, but data breaches could result in competitors gaining information about your bids and bidding process.

  • Dental and Medical

    In addition to all the regular threats that can be prevalent in the use of mobile devices, dental and medical offices also face regulatory requirements regarding patient data. Mobile devices must be secure if there is any possibility that they will be processing or accessing patient data. Yet the efficiencies gained by allowing the use of mobile devices makes it worth ensuring the appropriate security. Mobile device management can include automatic configuration, device-specific limitations, secure email profiles, and remote wipe capabilities.

  • Law Firms and Attorneys

    More often than ever, attorneys are working from home or at a client’s location, or they are in the courtroom. Mobile devices – laptops, cell phones, tablets – are par for the course. Yet attorneys often deal with the most sensitive information – information which, if obtained through a data breach or lost device, could do costly harm to both the clients and the firm. Mobile device management can lock down lost devices to prevent unauthorized access as well as sophisticated security to protect you and your clients.

  • Oil & Gas

    If you work in oil and gas, you’re as likely to be out in the field as you are in the office, and that kind of mobility requires mobile devices. But the energy sector has been one of the primary targets for hackers. Securing your mobile workforce is essential, and MDM helps you do that. With tools such as the ability to remove your organization’s data if a device is lost, stolen, or not used anymore to the ability to having the ability to block any device from your network that has been jailbroken, you can minimize the risk to your company while maximizing efficiency in the field.

  • SMEs

    There is no doubt that the last few years have demonstrated the benefit of mobile devices for Calgary small- and mid-sized businesses. Without these devices in play during the pandemic, productivity and business continuity would have been virtually impossible. However, now that we’re moving beyond the pandemic and can take thoughtful action about the future of these devices, it’s important to minimize risk wherever possible, from how users access the network to what apps they’re able to use. By securing the data on the device as well as the methods by which the device can connect to the network, you can achieve the efficiency of a mobile workforce without the risk.

Mobile devices offer an advantage in terms of efficiency and productivity, but they also introduce new risks. Organizations simply must consider how to integrate mobile device management as a part of their overall IT security strategy.

HOW THE ITEAM CAN HELP YOU WITH DEVICE MANAGEMENT

The ITeam can help you determine where you’re at risk and deliver the solutions you need to protect your data, your customers, and your organization. We provide both device and app management, providing the extra layer of security your organization needs to benefit from the efficiencies of mobile devices without all the risk.

Worried employees won’t want to grant you full access to their personal devices? Our service allows your employees to register their own phones. Once enrolled in mobile device management (MDM), which you can make a condition of using the device and accessing the network, you will be able to:

    • See the devices enrolled and get an inventory of devices accessing organization resources.
    • Configure devices, so they meet your security and health standards. For example, you probably want to block jailbroken devices.
    • Push certificates to devices so users can easily access your Wi-Fi network or use a VPN to connect to your network.
    • See reports on users and devices compliance.
    • Remove organization data if a device is lost, stolen, or not used anymore.

Through mobile app management (MAM), you can:

    • Add and assign mobile apps to user groups and devices, including users in specific groups, devices in specific groups, and more.
    • Configure apps to start or run with specific settings enabled and update existing apps already on the device.
    • See reports on which apps are used and track their usage.
    • Do a selective wipe by removing only organization data from apps.

Powered by Microsoft, MDM and MAM integrate with Azure Active Directory. As Microsoft explains, “You are able to control how your organization’s devices are used, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. You can also configure specific policies to control applications. For example, you can prevent emails from being sent to people outside your organization. Intune also allows people in your organization to use their personal devices for school or work. On personal devices, Intune helps make sure your organization’s data stays protected and can isolate organization data from personal data.”

Contact us today for more information.