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Whether it's simply to take calls on the go or to send and receive important information while away from the desk, mobile devices are part of every business’s workflow — and are part of the transition into the hyperconnected, technological future.
These powerful devices have significant challenges for any business, however. These challenges are incredibly common, but need to be addressed anyway — some of these issues can be high-level vulnerabilities if left unchecked.
In this article, we’re going to explore these issues — and explain how your organisation can solve these challenges with ease.
By nature, mobile devices can be a risk for any company. This is because of the inherent use of mobile devices to take information outside of the workplace’s system and infrastructure — this can potentially lead to a breach of important information.
This is why it’s crucial to develop thorough security measures to ensure that mobile devices are safe:
· Restricted access: Restrict important information behind biometrics or other forms of authentication.
· Mobile Device Management (MDM): Implement Mobile Device management (MDM) software to ensure that all devices have the same security features.
· Compliance: Ensure that each employee is compliant with the rules and requirements set for mobile device use.
Shadow IT is the use of an application or software that’s unauthorised for use within your organisation, and that’s been installed on a device. This can be a major security issue for any company, as it ushers in the ability to install harmful software onto work devices.
Using your MDM solution, blacklist non-essential applications to ensure that no malicious applications are installed onto devices that could be harmful to your organisation. After all, your institution’s mobile devices should only have work-essential apps on them.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs allow employees to use their own devices at work. While this has productivity benefits, it also comes with a host of challenges of its own:
· Security Risks: Both with the device and the user, BYOD creates many risk factors. Bad password management, operating system vulnerabilities, and unauthorised applications are just some of the issues that can arise from this.
· Compliance Issues: Even if the device is secure, BYOD has compliance issues. Due to the personal nature of the device, it’s not unusual for BYOD employees to break security compliance due to having control over their own devices.
· Vulnerability to attacks and malware: Unlike a managed device issued by your organisation, an external BYOD device can be vulnerable to external threats such as malware and other attacks, due to lower security.
· Lack of device management/control: It’s unreasonable and unrealistic to expect BYOD employees to give you full control of their personal devices, which means that you’ll never get the same level of security as on work-issued devices.
However, implementing hard restrictions on your employees’ personal devices with MDM software isn’t a good thing either. Instead, utilising an MDM solution that can distinguish different rules between work-issued devices and BYOD devices is a great way to ensure that this isn’t an issue.
Software can — and often will — have vulnerabilities that need to be patched by the developers. This is a vulnerability that isn’t exactly in your control, but it’s vital that you ensure to install patches and fixes as soon as they become available for your organisation.
It can be easy to delay or forget to install patches throughout your organisation, but this is crucial to patch up any vulnerabilities and exploits within the software that you’re using.
Using MDM software to manage and deploy patches throughout your organisation means that you can easily stop powerful vulnerabilities from being exploited. If you don’t make sure to keep on top of this, you’re putting your organisation at risk.
Mobile devices are incredibly vulnerable to being misplaced or stolen, which has a few consequences for your organisation:
· Security: If a device is stolen while not being properly secured, it can cause a security vulnerability and become a breach point for your data.
· Cost: Replacing stolen and lost devices can get quite expensive, especially if it’s a regular occurrence.
· Management: Having to remotely remove a device from your organisation without having access to it can be a pain when using some MDM solutions.
Internal data breaches are becoming more and more common with the implementation of mobile devices into the business infrastructure. Network access control will mitigate this, and minimise the risk of an internal breach.
The most commonly used control technique is the principle of least privilege (PoLP). This is ensuring that people only have access to the data that they need to be able to work, restricting unrequired access throughout your organisation. With this, you can ensure that data is only available to those who need it.
Privileged access management (PAM) will also help ensure that you can outline the restrictions and authorisations for each unique device on your network. This means that you can ensure that only the devices that are authorised to access said data can access it, instantaneously blocking other connections.
Mobile devices can create some of the worst vulnerabilities and challenges for modern businesses. Ensuring that your organisation is prepared and equipped to deal with these challenges will save significant amounts of time and mitigate stress and strain on your business’s resources and IT infrastructure for the long term.
By implementing the aforementioned security and management solutions that are necessary for your network, and ensuring that the importance of compliance is emphasised throughout your team, the struggles and challenges of utilising mobile devices throughout your organisation will be greatly reduced.