Mobile devices have become integral to our lives in today’s digital age, used for communication, entertainment, and access to information on the go. According to the Pew Research Center, 15% of American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users and do not have traditional home internet service. In addition, the average time spent using mobile devices daily continues to climb, with numbers ranging from 3.5 to 5 hours per day, while time spent engaging with other media declined. With the rise of remote work and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, mobile devices are also increasingly used in the workplace. While this has brought greater flexibility and convenience, it has also introduced new security risks for enterprises. This article will explore the importance of mobile security and BYOD for enterprises.
Mobile Security & BYOD
It is essential to understand that mobile devices are vulnerable to security threats. These threats can come in the form of malware, phishing attacks, and even physical theft or loss of the device. Given the sensitive nature of the data stored on mobile devices, such as login credentials, corporate documents, and financial information, a security breach can seriously affect an enterprise. Therefore, implementing robust mobile security measures is essential for protecting sensitive data and preventing cyber-attacks.
With the rise of BYOD policies, employees use their devices to access corporate resources such as email, documents, and databases. Unfortunately, this usage has blurred the line between personal and professional use of mobile devices, making it difficult for enterprises to control access to sensitive data. For instance, an employee may accidentally download a malicious app on their device, which can then access and steal corporate data. Therefore, enterprises must implement BYOD policies that outline acceptable usage and security standards for personal devices used in the workplace and be aware of essential mobile security solutions.
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Because it is so difficult to accurately monitor how employees use their mobile devices, primarily personally owned devices, mobile device management is vital to maintain your organization’s mobile security. This can be easier said than done since it could violate employees’ privacy rights. However, several viable systems and applications can help improve mobile enterprise security and offer effective mobile management and support.
Mobile Application Management (MAM)
While the ever-increasing access to mobile apps is excellent, managing those apps can be a severe security issue for your organization when you operate in a BYOD environment. This makes robust mobile application management (MAM) more critical than ever. MAM is the delivery and administration of enterprise software to the end users’ personal and corporate mobile devices. Implementing effective MAM helps with software delivery and application life cycle management and tracks usage. Furthermore, many MAMs can match mobile devices and their owners to specific IT policies and better control how company data is shared via mobile applications.
MDM Versus MAM
MDM and MAM are both solutions for mobile enterprise security, but they differ in their approach and focus. The main differences between MDM and MAM are summarized below:
- Focus: MDM focuses on device-level control, while MAM focuses on app-level management.
- Installation: MDM solutions typically require the installation of an agent on the device, while MAM solutions do not.
- Scope: MDM solutions are typically broader, covering a wide range of device-level controls, while MAM solutions are more narrowly focused on securing specific apps.
- Compatibility: MDM solutions can be platform-specific, while MAM solutions can be platform-agnostic and work across different devices and operating systems.
- Flexibility: MAM solutions can be more flexible in allowing users to bring their own devices and use their preferred apps, while MDM solutions may be more restrictive.
Antivirus for Devices
In addition to mobile device and app management, companies and organizations must implement the appropriate level of malware and antivirus protection. Hackers and malware are constant threats. Therefore, employees using the internet on a personal mobile device must properly install and update the latest patches and antivirus and anti-malware software supported by the hardware to maintain device security.
An essential part of any organization’s security plan must include encryption, which is converting information or data into an unreadable form to prevent unauthorized access. Companies should also encrypt mobile device network communication to prevent outside snooping. You can take various steps to implement proper encryption, including requiring all mobile devices to use approved encryption protocols (TLS 1.3) and requiring corporate VPN use or an approved personal VPN before access is granted to corporate email accounts and files. In addition, utilizing device or file and disk encryption can protect from unauthorized access if lost or stolen.
Additional Mobile Device Security Steps
To help you improve your company’s mobile device security even more, here are some additional measures to consider.
- Create a Mobile Security or Mobile Device Management Policy. Every company should create and enforce a mobility security policy. This policy will differ for each company but should include primary guiding principles and best practices, align with your company culture, and provide flexibility without compromising security.
- Be Transparent with Employees. As with any company policy, employees appreciate transparency. Therefore, your mobile security policy should be open and transparent, without hidden features and rules. Let your employees know up front what they can and cannot do with their devices, whether company or personally owned. A clear policy will also help eliminate confusion and enhance the effectiveness of your company’s security policy. In addition, the mobile device policy extends the employee’s acceptable use policy.
- Mixing Personal and Professional Use. When employees use their devices for business, your mobile security policies must be clear and flexible. But, more importantly, it must protect your company’s and customers’ private information. Therefore, you must balance your employees, company, and customers’ security and privacy.
Secure Your Mobility
Mobile security and BYOD policies can improve overall productivity and efficiency in the workplace. As a result, employees using their devices are more likely to work outside traditional office hours and be more productive. However, this also means that employees must be able to access corporate resources from anywhere and at any time securely. BYOD policies help to protect sensitive data from security threats, prevent compliance violations, and improve overall productivity in the workplace. Therefore, enterprises should implement robust mobile security measures and BYOD policies tailored to their needs and requirements. This approach may include device encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular software updates. By prioritizing mobile security and BYOD policies, enterprises can ensure they are well-equipped to handle the challenges of the modern workplace.
Want to learn more about our mobile security solutions? Please contact New Era Technoloy for more information and discover how we can help manage and protect your BYOD environment from hackers and other security threats.