The world of business has certainly changed over the years. Now, more than ever, employees and clients alike depend on mobile devices to stay on top of services and utilize better what your company offers.
Whether it is employees performing some of their work functions over a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, or you offer customers very specific mobile features to improve their own business, your ability to quickly and effectively provide updates while staying secure is a must.
All of this is possible with mobile device security management. But what is mobile device management, and why is it something you need to utilize within your own business? Here are the ins and outs of the service and why your company absolutely needs to harness its potential.
WHAT IS MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT?
Your employees access company information all the time, and now it’s essential they do this using a mobile device. By using a cloud service, your employees and, in some instances, customers can access the necessary files and information wherever they are in the world.
However, your company network security is only as strong as the weakest link.
While the majority of hacks still originate on computers, cases involving mobile devices continue to climb each year. Eventually, you will see more hack attempts come from compromised mobile devices instead of computers.
One of the ways you can protect your company network is to utilize mobile device management.
Also known as MDM, this allows an IT department to monitor when applications are accessing sensitive data, who is accessing it, when, and even where (depending on phone settings). Essentially, it gives the IT department the same control in monitoring and securing a network as it has when someone attempts to access information via a computer.
With MDM, it is possible to select which devices can access content within the cloud network and which applications cannot by using a cloud access security broker.
With this capability, it is possible to block out certain mobile devices altogether, which is helpful in not only blocking out unwanted hackers but also when it comes to employees who are no longer with the company.
HOW DOES IT TYPICALLY WORK?
There are a few ways MDM can be implemented. Most often, an IT department will install MDM software, which works as a gatekeeper between the mobile device and the network.
When someone wants to access information, the request is sent through the software back to the network. The network can then check with the security clearance of the software or a cloud access security broker and either allow access or deny it.
There are various forms of MDM software that can be used on mobile devices.
The software used may depend on the IT department and their preferences, or it might depend on the kind of mobile devices most commonly used within the company. Some MDM solutions may not include an installed application right on the mobile device but can cover several applications a client or employee might use to access information or perform certain tasks.
A mobile registration method might be used where an external device is connected to the tablet or phone. This information is then transferred via the smartphone and a data/wireless connection back to the network.
The MDM solutions in place will give clearance to the phone/tablet and the connected device.
Because there are various MDM solution methods, the best way to select what works with your own business is to work with an IT service provider, such as Charlotte IT Solutions, to customize a solution/software method that works specifically with your business needs and mobile devices.
Beyond the obvious benefits of introducing mobile security best practices for the network, secondary benefits make mobile device security management beneficial.
One of these benefits is it’s easy to upgrade all applications worldwide, regardless of where a user is located. If a security patch is made and needs to go out right away, the update can be made available and then either sent out automatically to all users or a notification telling them to download and install the security solution when they can.
It is also possible to customize MDM software to fit any kind of mobile device.
It doesn’t matter if someone is using an Apple iOS device or an Android phone; they are logging in through a Chromebook, through macOS, they are on a Windows device, or they are on any other kind of operating system; all of this can be controlled right through the MDM software solution.
In terms of mobile security best practices and keeping everything up to date and running smoothly, there is simply nothing else like mobile device security management for your business.
So, if you want to stay on top of security updates, monitor who is accessing what sensitive data (and when), and you want to provide critical updates in the blink of an eye, nothing else can do what MDM is capable of for your mobile network.
WHY BUSINESSES NEED TO SECURE SMART DEVICES
Smart devices are access points to your business. At any given time, your company’s information could be accessed through a tablet, an employee’s phone, a point-of-sale system, or even your smart security system.
If every smart device on your network isn’t properly secured, your network isn’t properly secured. Your IT infrastructure is only as secure as the weakest link, and that’s why mobile device security is more important than ever.
For small businesses, it can become very difficult to manage and maintain smart mobile devices.
As the business grows larger, more smart devices are added. Smart devices need to be continuously upgraded and patched to remain secure, and proper authentication and password protocols have to be adhered to.
This is a continual challenge for a small business owner.
But when devices aren’t secure, a sensitive data security breach can occur. Data breaches can cost companies millions of dollars. Not only are there the direct costs of addressing the security issues, but there are also indirect costs: loss of customer faith, poor reputation, and business interruption.
Companies need to protect themselves against data breaches from mobile devices in order to protect their bottom line.
THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING
There are two major issues when it comes to smart devices: technology and training.
Many smart devices and IoT devices are not well-secured and don’t follow mobile security best practices. The technology has to be updated and modernized to protect it.
It may need to be properly configured to be secured. There are endpoint management solutions that can automatically protect your network from IoT devices, but these also need to be managed. IoT device security isn’t as simple as “set and forget,” as there are new vulnerabilities through malicious mobile apps being discovered all the time.
Apart from technology, there are also issues related to training.
Employees frequently keep their devices unlocked or share their passwords with others. Most system breaches will occur not due to technology but due to employee negligence.
An employee may lose their unlocked phone and consequently expose the company’s financial information. These are things that training can help with, but ultimately, any employee can make a mistake.
The right IT security protocols need to be in place to protect from employee mistakes, such as requiring multi-factor authentication.
THE BIGGEST RISKS TO IOT DEVICE SECURITY
To secure smart devices, you need to understand the risks. Some of the biggest risks to IoT device security include the following.
FAILING TO UPDATE AND PATCH SOFTWARE
Vulnerabilities are discovered all the time. If they aren’t patched out, then any cybercriminal can use these vulnerabilities to gain access. A common example is cloud security systems. A vulnerability can be found in a security camera that allows a cybercriminal to control the camera remotely. If that vulnerability isn’t patched out with security measures, the cybercriminal can manipulate the security camera at will.
NOT CONFIGURING THE SOFTWARE UPON INSTALLATION
Consider system routers; by default, older routers came with the same login name and password. A cybercriminal who knew the router type and knew the name and password would easily be able to log into the router and cause havoc. IoT devices have to be properly configured when added to the network, and this requires some level of expertise in security best practices.
As mentioned above, employee negligence contributes to a significant number of problems. Employees could fall for a “phishing” attempt and send information directly to criminals through their own email addresses. Employees could log into the company’s financial accounts on their mobile devices and then lose their phones. When employees don’t take mobile security seriously, the business as a whole is vulnerable.
OUTDATED OR LEGACY SOLUTIONS
If older systems are still logged into the network, it will reduce the security of the network as a whole. Outdated, legacy solutions are often poorly maintained. Even when mobile device security vulnerabilities are discovered, they may not be patched.
Companies that are still holding on to outdated operating systems, outdated servers, or outdated smartphone technology may be at risk. Often, this happens because companies are reliant upon technology that is now discontinued.
Companies can protect their smart devices from data breaches and intrusion, but in order to do so, they need to create a comprehensive security plan and follow mobile security best practices.
IMPLEMENT MOBILE DEVICE SECURITY
With customers, clients, and employees all scattered in different locations, you need the ability to provide information to these individuals at a moment’s notice.
From employees needing to access critical files while on the go to customers requiring specific features on the mobile application and connected devices, all of this is handled and kept secure with mobile device security management.
However, such security solutions can be difficult to implement on your own, all while keeping users safe and data secure from online sleuths and hackers.
All of this is possible with the help of our team here at Charlotte IT Solutions. No matter how large of a mobile network you have or the kind of business you run, we have security solutions designed to fit your company like a glove when it comes to mobile device security management.
Give us a call today, and we’ll show you exactly what a difference the right mobile device security solution makes.