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Security issues in enterprise mobility development and how to overcome it

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(Image credit: Image Credit: Perfectlab / Shutterstock)

The average cost of a data breach is around $3.86 million according to IBM’s cost of data breach report 2020.

The combination of various technologies like cloud, mobile applications, process and management software form the core IT infrastructure in any modern-day organization. The primary objective of enterprise mobility solutions is to leverage the power of various technologies by allowing the employees access to company’s data and information through their smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices. Enterprise mobility solutions play a key role in

  • Facilitating quicker decisions
  • Allowing the proper functioning of remote teams
  • Helping the company in building an Agile working environment

With the increased use of enterprise mobility solutions, there has been a rise in the frequency and magnitude of cybercrimes. Hackers have stolen information from large organizations like eBay, Target and Home Depot. Below mentioned are the top security threats that need to be tacked by any organization looking to implement enterprise mobility systems.

Challenges of enterprise mobility

Device loss or theft

Mobile devices like laptops, smartphones, and USB drives are helping businesses in decreasing their costs in a wide number of ways. But these same devices can increase the costs if due care is not taken. According to an estimate, organizations end up replacing around 10 percent of their devices due to breakage and loss every year.

A lost mobile device can cost the organization up to $50,000 in terms of lost productivity and downtime. These costs do not take into account the loss of reputation, cost of penalties and the wasted employee time in repairing the damage.

Solution

Remote lock/wiping

In case of theft or loss of a mobile device, controlling access to data stored in the device is critical. Remote lock and remote wiping are some solutions that can help an enterprise in ensuring data security. Whenever a device gets stolen or lost the mobility solutions should be able to remove passwords from systems having access to these devices. This way, unauthorized access can be prevented.

Mobile applications

Employees install many mobile apps on their smartphones. These apps require certain sensitive permissions like

  • The permission to access a user’s camera
  • Address book
  • Messaging
  • Email contacts
  • Location

Hackers can use any of these permissions to hack into the enterprise mobility system through a backdoor and steal valuable information.

Malicious actors can also inject malware into a company’s network through an unsuspecting mobile app.

Solution

Control and manage access to apps

There is a BYOD (bring your own device) policy in many organizations. Today, enterprise mobility solutions rely heavily on cloud solutions. This poses a security threat as the employee’s access data through cloud solutions.

Every organization must have strict BYOD rules for employees accessing data through their own devices. Apart from that, the organizations must make multi-factor authentication compulsory for employees accessing sensitive data. Suspicious sign-ins should be immediately notified to the concerned employees and authorities.

Adhere to security standards

By implementing security standards, an organization can minimize the risk of data breaches. Security standards like GDPR (general data protection regulations) should be strictly adhered to ensure robust data security. These security standards not only help in data protection, but also provide legal protection to the organization in case of a mishap.

EMM integration with apps

Enterprise mobility management integration with apps can help the organization in

  • Preventing data transfer
  • Blocking screen capture functions
  • Manage password policies
  • Data encryption
  • Integration authentication

Access control

Due to the multiplicity of devices that each employee uses, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for organizations to keep track of all the devices that access the company’s network.

Solution

Determine permission levels to data access

The companies need to be vigilant in monitoring who accesses what kind of data. The organization can determine the permission levels to access data according to the role that the user has within an organization.

Data is normally classified into

  • Public data
  • Classified data
  • Restricted data

It isn’t necessary to apply security gateways to public data as this data is non-sensitive and can be viewed by all users on all devices.

Classified data is the kind of data that comes with a low to medium risk profile. Universal access is denied and only authorized personnel are allowed to access such data.

Restricted data is that kind of data whose leak can prove to be detrimental to the fortunes of the company. Restricted data comes with additional layers of security and should be controlled with a high level of security. The access should only be allowed to high-level personnel and only within the premises of the organization.

Engage in advanced security protocols

An organization must follow security protocols like

  • Verifying the digital signature of each file
  • In case of unauthorized access, the digital signature is altered and authorities are notified
  • Encrypting all data
  • Authentication mechanism to restrict access
  • Implementing Blockchain-based mobile solutions for enterprises
  • AI-based authentication mechanism that changes privileges based upon the conditions

By following these protocols, the company will ensure a much secure work environment.

Securing the underlying infrastructure

An organization must put the focus on including smarter networks, intelligent wireless access points and a strong MDM solution to control mobility and data generated by mobile devices.

Smart network

By installing a smart network, an organization can control how certain specific apps behave. Smart networks allow organizations to monitor how apps behave by tracking data leaks, unsafe traffic and malicious devices. Using smart networks, the company can also keep a close watch on the social media activities of its employees.

Installing a robust MDM solution

Mobile device management is a software tool used to protect critical data which is easily accessible through smartphones. It continuously monitors the mobile devices to ensure consistent security.

MDM comes with loads of features like app management, data security, device support and file synchronization.

An ideal MDM solution must be compatible with a wide array of devices like tablets, wearables and smartphones. The system should be able to cut off specific devices from the network seamlessly, without affecting other users.

Lethargic attitude towards security

One of the major hurdles in ensuring a water-tight enterprise mobility security is the lethargic attitude of employees towards security. State-of-the-art security systems won’t help if people are not involved in the process.

Build a security culture

A bottom-up approach is critical for ensuring a secure enterprise mobility management.

A strong security culture provides the best protection against security threats that can sabotage mobility in an enterprise. The companies should take special efforts in training and re-training employees regarding the security threats posed in the digital domain.

For instance, if a company does not want its employees to access public Wi-Fi networks, then it should show them how hackers can steal their credentials, data and cause irreparable damage to the organization. By educating and sensitizing the employees towards security issues, an organization can encourage the employees to take simple measures like using VPNs.

Security culture should be simple; otherwise the employees will find workarounds. For example, if the systems require the employees to use complex and different passwords every time they login, then friction is bound to happen. Instead, the company could opt to go with OTP authentication or use a SSO (single sign on). This way, the organization would be able to combine simplicity with security. 

Companies need to educate their employees that security isn’t the responsibility of the IT department alone. Employees across the organization need to implement relevant security policies and be vigilant to plug in any security loopholes.

Conclusion

In this changed world, where work from home culture is gaining traction, enterprise mobility security is facing new challenges. Enterprise mobility developers now need to move beyond securing access to cloud apps, mobile devices and enterprise data and focus more on the end-user and build customized security policies which are relevant and simple to practice.

Security standards must be strictly followed and the employees must be made responsible stakeholders in ensuring enterprise mobility security.

Avantika Shergil, Operations Manager, TopDevelopers.co

Avantika Shergil, Operations Manager, TopDevelopers.co.