November 22nd, 2021 Read Time: 6 minutes
Jessica is a content writer with more than 8 years of experience covering SaaS and the tech industry. She has worked with both B2B and B2C publications across North America, Europe, and APAC and currently writes about IT Solutions for Electric.
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The way we work has shifted dramatically from the traditional office setup to a remote and hybrid approach. Employees now need access to business systems from multiple devices across different locations, and as a result, MDM (or Mobile Device Management) has become a much greater priority for businesses. To tackle the security threats and privacy issues associated with distributed work on mobile devices, it’s essential that organizations also create a mobile device management policy for employees to follow.
A Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy is a set of rules that establish how employees can and should securely use mobile devices. The policy covers securing data in laptops, smartphones (either iOS or Android), tablets, and portable media devices.
MDM policies apply to employees, contractors, part-time staff, or other personnel who access company data. The key features of MDM policies include clauses that govern productivity, inventory, security, and compliance.
If you regularly engage contractors, it's vital to create a sound MDM policy, conduct regular training, and use non-disclosure agreements (NDA) whenever necessary to protect sensitive business data. Let's explore the benefits of MDM policies.
Companies may need to implement a variety of device policies, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Company Owned Business Only (COBO), or Company Owned/Personally Enabled (COPE). Regardless of the approach you take, all companies should assess risks around employee devices to establish sound policies and control.
Some of the critical activities that companies must engage in include updating security configuration and security updates on firmware and applications. The remote management of mobile devices allocates an administrator's powers to quarantine, disable, restrict access, or manage users, for instance, who've left the firm.
A mobile device management policy ensures systems are frequently patched to seal security vulnerabilities. The role of an MDM policy is to run the updates from a central point to enhance security and adhere to government regulations.
Similarly, applications carry an aspect of risk, which necessitates controls. Your policy should cover the configuration and use of apps, as well as prohibited apps. There's also a need to create role-based permissions that further segment control and use to enhance security.
Remote work sometimes involves recruiting workers from distant locations, emphasizing the need for their own devices. Additionally, 67% of employees say they use their own devices at work. Although BYOD increases productivity and cost savings, you'll need to create a sound policy to eliminate the vulnerabilities associated with personal devices. BYOD policies play an essential role in safeguarding against mobile malware and data loss.
A mobile device management policy also covers automated device management with configurations that deliver time and money savings for your organization. Essentially, you're in a position to securely update multiple devices at once, which increases speed and eliminates the chance of human error.
Timely and automatic updates mean minimal disruptions to a working day. In addition, employees are more productive because they are no longer required to make physical trips to the IT department.
Public Wi-Fi is a common loophole that hackers use to access company data. Moreover, public Wi-Fi is an unsecured network, making businesses more vulnerable to attacks from malware. Your organization should always advise employees against using public Wi-Fi to minimize attacks.
In addition, a USB device is a gateway for malware, putting your systems at risk. Luckily, the evolution of cloud-based storage eliminates the need to transfer or store data using removable devices.
Software loses its stability and effectiveness over time, creating an opportunity for the emergence of bugs. Consequently, experienced hackers exploit vulnerabilities and patches to infiltrate your network. Enforcing updates ensures you've got a stable IT environment that’s less likely to attract attacks.
Passcodes or passwords for screen access are critical facets in the access control of remote devices. Although passwords seem like an obvious requirement, some companies overlook them, enhancing the risk of data loss and theft.
Your mobile device management policy should promote secure guidelines like 2-FA (Two-factor Authentication), password complexity, minimum and maximum password age limit, and time limits for login sessions.
In a remote work environment, regular back-ups are an essential process to ensure data from applications like email servers or users' files are copied externally to enhance recoverability in case of an accidental deletion or data loss.
Employees or contractors using mobile devices should be advised to back-up data on the cloud instead of local drives. Equally, IT admins should set systems to make periodic back-ups on cloud storage daily, weekly, or per system demands.
In remote or hybrid workforces, you have very little control of employees’ work environments, which means your business can lose data through device theft, malware or malicious apps, or accidental sharing. In the BYOD situation, it's even more tricky to maintain or enhance protection.
Here are a few tips to safeguard your data:
Data Classification: Businesses can take a page out of military institutions’ books by classifying data into either Top Secret, Secret, or Confidential. The different classifications involve labeling and access protocols to enhance security.
Monitoring Mobile Users: Create a system to closely monitor mobile users more prone to breaches and infractions of data policies.
Conduct Regular Training: Educate your staff on the importance of data integrity to protect the company from data loss.
Microsoft 365 is a vital system for simplifying IT operations. Its admin center lets you create users and manage groups. Microsoft 365 utilizes Intune to push policies, like backing up to iCloud or access to the app store, for devices with iOS.
Windows 10 MDM has various features, including a Windows defender aimed at protecting mobile devices. Its security policy touches on crucial factors like restricting remote access to devices, setting credential requirements for PINS and passwords, and limiting the use of legacy technology.
Third-party MDM software like Jamf for Macs or Kaseya for PCs can also automate processes that keep your devices healthy, secure, and up-to-date.
There's no hiding from today’s dynamic work environment and the need to securely manage mobile devices remotely. By implementing a mobile device management policy, companies can enhance their data integrity, ensure compliance, and reduce the risk of cyber attacks. Electric is the ideal partner for all your MDM needs. We absorb the high acquisition cost of MDM software and apply our pool of experts to manage mobile devices effectively. Contact us today to learn more.