With mobile devices becoming more popular, both private and public organizations are eagerly harnessing the mobility trend to connect with customers, clients, vendors and workers. This is because you can conduct a wide variety of transactions using mobility technology – from collecting credit card payments and implementing customer support services to remote data access opportunities and on-the-spot consultations.
However, mobile device management (MDM), as well as mobile device security, presents a serious concern for companies because of the possibility of sensitive corporate data, such as trade secrets and customer mailing lists, are at risk of being compromised. In fact, according to the Ponemon 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis, data breaches and other cyber-attacks cost businesses an average of $5.4 million to repair.
Here is what you need to know to make sure your company successfully avoids the disruption and reputation damage that can be caused by a data breach. Mobile devices can be a great asset to your organization, if you know how to manage them correctly.
Bring-Your-Own-Device Is Here To Stay
Both public and private companies are embracing the “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) trend – the preference for employees to use personal mobile devices for work – which has a strong impact on daily operations. Yes, employees will a have seamless integration between their job and personal life with their chosen device, but this trend has resulted in a greater risk in data security if a device is compromised, lost or stolen.
Though Gartner forecasts that 50 percent of all companies will require employees to supply their own device by 2017, there are organizations that provide their staff with mobile devices for company data access. But regardless as to who supplies the equipment – an organization or their employees – having a clear mobile device strategy will be critical.
Having a Strategy in Place Works
Securing a network and guaranteeing the proper access of data by employees can be a daunting task. But research shows companies that implement a formal mobile management strategy can not only avoid potential issues, but actually take advantage of the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace.
For example, a company can realize significant cost savings by including BYOD in their MDM strategy by adding provisions for personal devices and company-owned devices to an existing IT security or creating a policy from scratch.
It’s important to note that while your network and applications may not be accessible to everyone and every device, you should develop strategies that make business sense for the organization and make it easy for employees to comply.
Utilize Mobile Device Management Tools
With BYOD becoming an integral part of the workplace, one will not only need a plan in place, but will also need the proper platforms to control a large variety and number of devices that connect to their network.
The process starts with determining what devices, users, applications and operating systems that connect to the network. This will provide one with a baseline from which to make support decisions and devise strategic MDM policies. As an example, one of the most basic tools one can use to make mobile devices more secure for their company is the ability to remote wipe data.
To manage the mobile devices that connect to their network, one should also consider utilizing an MDM platform. Most MDM platforms can support multiple device types and operating systems, in addition to providing setup of baseline policy controls.
As with any policy one implements across their organization, employee compliance will depend on the quality of the training employees receive. The better training around company policies is, the easier it will be to ensure buy-in from staff, thus making data that much safer.