Here's how you can ensure your 'bring your own device' work culture does not compromise security
Data is the new oil, and by implementing a robust enterprise mobility management policy can help businesses ensure better security of their network and critical business data, while reaping the maximum benefits of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model.Sanjay Katkar
Fast-accelerating digital advancements have transformed the global business landscape. More and more organisations are now leveraging tech-led tools to enhance and optimise their operations and productivity. The most prominent example of this willingness to use technology as a business enabler is the growing adoption of the bring your own device (BYOD)-led work culture amongst enterprises. And – as with so many things – emerging businesses are leading the charge of this new-age transformation of traditional workplaces.
With limited infrastructural, capital, and human resources available at their disposal, emerging businesses value seamless interoperability and business agility above all else. As such, it is hardly surprising that these business ventures encourage the use of personal devices to access enterprise networks and resources. While employees enjoy unparalleled convenience and flexibility, businesses benefit from the enhanced productivity, efficiency, and cost-savings that the BYOD-led work culture enables.
Sounds like a win-win all around, right? However, once we look beyond the surface, the picture isn’t as rosy as it seems. BYOD adoption comes with some major security risks.
The EMM strategy
Smartphone users typically do not install security applications on their mobile phones. Most are not even aware about the need for robust mobile security, or what the best security practices are. As a result, they often download unverified apps from third-party app stores, visit unsecured websites, and click on suspicious links received through emails and text messages. This puts the mobile device at considerable risk.
What complicates the matter is the fact that these unsecured devices are constantly connected to enterprise networks, data, and resources. This jeopardises the security of users sitting at enterprise endpoints and increases the risk to all of the organisation’s business-critical data, network, and processes.
Allowing employees to have business data stored or accessible on their personal devices also makes it difficult for IT managers to maintain control over what is being transmitted and received.
However, not adopting BYOD is not an option for business, as it hinders the business agility and operational flexibility that make them competitive. Cybercriminals actively exploit this vulnerable situation by targeting personal devices connected to the IT infrastructure.
How cloud-based enterprise mobility management can address the BYOD challenge
Given the risk, it is imperative for businesses to implement a well-defined BYOD policy. This is where cloud-based enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions step in to provide end-to-end management and security to BYOD devices. EMM can help new-age businesses manage the security risks inherent to a BYOD workplace in the following ways:
- Mobile Device Management – MDM remains an integral aspect of EMM. Device management is still required because devices can often get lost, corrupted or stolen. Businesses must have the feature to wipe data on these devices, reset, and mobile software management.
- Mobile Application Management (MAM) – EMM solution allows support over-the-air installation, update, and removal of public enterprise applications. It is also important to ensure that these apps are running in a secure environment or updated when required, i.e. an iOS update is pushed out when it is required.
- Anti-malware: Businesses should look for an EMM solution with anti-malware capabilities that enables IT teams to remotely schedule a security scan on enrolled devices to identify risks and infections.
- Mobile Content Management (MCM) – Business data loss and leakage can be tackled by Mobile Content Management (MCM) which prohibits business users from copy/pasting, screen capturing, or syncing secure files and information stored on the device.
- Secure workspace - The secure workspace provides separation of enterprise and personal data to manage application and data on mobile devices. These workspaces can be linked to SharePoint or the enterprise cloud.
Data, today, has become a most essential enterprise resource that no organisation – regardless of its size – can thrive without. Businesses need data, perhaps more so than their established counterparts, in order to remain competitive, to create market differentiation, and to achieve growth and scale. Implementing a robust EMM policy help businesses ensure better security of their network and critical business data, while reaping the maximum benefits of the BYOD model.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)