How to avoid the security bear-trap of enabling employee mobility

Mobility is no longer simply a consideration for most modern businesses, it’s a necessity. Of course mobility is hugely enabling, but it also comes with its own risks, particularly with regard to security.

However, there’s no reason for businesses to run scared from mobile applications and services, particularly when there are a number of software packages that provide the kind of flexibility required by digital businesses, without compromising on security.

Mobile device management, or MDM, is certainly one way of protecting company data in light of an increasingly mobile workforce. In particular, this software recognises that security techniques used for more traditional devices like laptops and PCs cannot simply be applied “as is” to mobile devices.

Considering the benefits of mobile working, including increased collaboration and greater productivity, businesses can’t afford to let security concerns disrupt their workflow. Organisations should embrace mobility, and if they follow these simple tips, they can do just that while ensuring they remain as secure as possible.

Use MDM software

The implementation of a mobile device management solution provides organisations with increased control over their data and applications, without limiting their employees’ flexibility.

MDM enables firms to encrypt sensitive data, control who has access to specific assets, and enforce security standards across the board, no matter how many devices are part of their organisation. It also lets IT leaders distribute and track applications, ensuring that they are in the hands of the relevant individuals and remain regularly updated.

Mobile device management is particularly useful for companies that are utilising a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. It enables firms to control the separation between corporate and personal data, something beneficial to businesses and employees alike.

Have a defined BYOD policy

Whether companies opt for BYOD, choose your own device (CYOD), or COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled), they need to outline the security protocols being implemented. Corporate data will remain at risk if employees are not given clear guidelines and procedures to follow.

Firstly, businesses need to outline what devices are permitted and then implement a stringent security policy for all these devices, which may include complex passwords or anti-malware software.

Companies should also specify who owns the data and applications stored on any mobile devices, and if they have the ability to remotely wipe any information stored upon it.

Employee and company transparency should be encouraged at all times and having a well thought out and visible BYOD policy can help solve a number of security problems.

Take an application-centric approach

The rise of cloud computing and BYOD means that companies are increasingly tasked with protecting data, despite not owning the device that it is stored upon. Gartner security analyst Dionisio Zumerle believes that this leaves a device-centric approach to security largely redundant.

Instead, businesses need to have an awareness of which apps and services can access their company data and how secure they are. This means that businesses need to undertake regular self-assessment of their applications and decide whether they are as secure as they need to be.

Industry thought leaders and some of the most up-to-date mobility management solutions will be on display at this year’s UC Expo, taking place on the 21-22 April at Olympia, London.

Register to attend UC EXPO 2015 FREE today