It hasn’t taken long for mobile devices to take over society and even some workplaces. It seems like someone is using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop everywhere you look. This is especially true for the employees at MSP technology centers. Though mobile devices certainly improve efficiency, they also bring forth plenty of new considerations in terms of privacy, security, and general management.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) Solutions
MSP technology experts are implementing MDM solutions in response to “bring your own device” policies. MDM solutions typically take shape in the form of software used by IT gurus to monitor and secure employees’ mobile devices. The bottom line is that allowing employees to bring their own mobile devices to the workplace poses an element of risk. Data and security breaches have the potential to expose sensitive information to wrongdoers, ruin client relationships, and significantly harm your business. Fine-tune your MDM solution so it becomes an essential component of your enterprise mobility management. Otherwise, a misplaced or stolen mobile device could lead to stolen data.
Mobile devices without MDM face a heightened risk of exposure to malware, as well as other nasty viruses that stand a good chance of compromising your internal data or clients’ confidential data. Once data is compromised, it becomes quite easy for a hack or data breach to occur.
What You Should Look for in an MDM Solution
There are several MDM solutions to choose from. Though their idiosyncrasies vary, the following basic fundamentals are considered must-haves:
- Around the clock monitoring
- Cloud compatibility so updates occur in an automatic and expedited fashion
- Use of blacklists, passwords, and a number of other security policies
- Geofencing for restricted access to certain data and applications according to location
- Remote monitoring and configuration
- Passcode enforcement and wiping of remote data to combat unauthorized access to mobile devices
- Reporting and logging for compliance purposes
- Rooting and jailbreaking alerts for those who try to bypass restrictions
- Backup and restore functions for corporate data protection
- Scalability to allow new users and increasingly high-tech devices to be accommodated without encumbrance
- The ability to disable unauthorized applications and devices
Pros and Cons of Allowing Employees to Bring Their Own Devices
A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy minimizes equipment costs and required office space, improves worker morale, and ramps up efficiency. BYOD also reduces the burden on your internal IT staff as employees will maintain their own mobile computing devices. Yet, the risks of BYOD are quite extensive. Employee devices can result in the exposure of security shortcomings that your in-house IT staff can’t directly analyze. Furthermore, company anti-virus software won’t be present on these devices to combat digital threats.
In general, smartphones and tablets are less secure than traditional desktop PCs and laptops that have pre-installed malware safeguards. Hackers have devised all sorts of ways to attack vulnerable tablets and smartphones such as SMS text message attacks. Though an all-out ban on such devices won’t win favor with employees, you should at least establish security protocols and utilize MDM software.
MDM solutions will only prove as effective as the manner in which they are implemented. Analyze potential MDM solutions to determine if they suit your company’s unique policies. Envision hypothetical situations such as an employee termination. Figure out ahead of time how their mobile devices will be handled. After all, these devices likely contain sensitive company information. Ponder what should happen to the mobile device’s cached data, saved data, access to your corporate system etc.
Perhaps, it is possible to implement a means of separating employee personal data from company data. Maybe you will implement a policy in which all data is wiped in such a situation. Make sure these policies have been thought out in-depth and implemented before selecting a specific MDM solution.
Approach Mobile Device Management with Care
Your MSP technology experts should be able to bring their own mobile devices to work. However, this does not mean employees should be able to use these devices without restrictions. Be prudent with your restrictions, guidelines, and protocols in the context of mobile devices. You will eventually achieve the delicate balance between employee flexibility and security.