One way that the office has changed dramatically in the last 15 years is through the use of mobile devices. Smartphones have gone from being something mainly used to get calls away from your desk to taking over a significant amount of workload from desktop and laptop computers.
The combination of more powerful smartphones and the growth of cloud computing that allows anywhere/any device access, have contributed to the rise of mobile devices being a vital part of business workflows and becoming part of any managed technology plan.
While mobile use at work is credited with improving efficiency by offering more flexibility in how employees access and use work applications, it hasn’t been without security challenges.
A wide majority of businesses in San Diego and the rest of the country rely on employees to use their own mobile devices at work (bring your own device/BYOD) but haven’t yet figured out how to properly secure them or their access to company data.
87% of companies rely on their employees using their own personal mobile devices to access business applications.
Unsecured access to company data by mobile devices represents a big security risk, which is why mobile device security has jumped to the top of the priority list for many companies looking at ways to improve their cybersecurity.
Problems Faced with BYOD Policies
Most companies use a BYOD policy for a couple of reasons. One being the expense involved with purchasing and paying for cell plans for multiple devices for all employees. The second one is that employees typically are more comfortable using their own smartphones instead of having to carry two of them (one for work and one for personal).
Problems with trying to administer a BYOD policy include the following.
Employee Leaves Abruptly
When your employee has company data on their personal mobile phone and access to company apps, there can be a big security problem if they leave abruptly without warning.
A company could be left vulnerable to malicious acts, like deleting files from company cloud storage or simply losing all the data (emails, photos, etc.) that the employee may have had on their device that wasn’t backed up anywhere.
Lost or Stolen Device
An unfortunate fact of life for small, portable devices is that they’re much more easily lost or stolen than a desktop computer. This means that someone could login and do serious damage by accessing your email and other accounts from a stolen phone.
Without a way to connect remotely to the phone to lock a user out or wipe the device clean, you’re at the mercy of whoever had the mobile device in their possession.
The growing use of mobile devices has caught the attention of hackers and mobile malware variants increased by 54% in 2018. Both iPhones and Android phones are targeted and not all users keep them properly updated.
One month after iOS 11 was released, only 55% of users had updated their phones.
Timely updates to the phone operating system and apps are just as important as they are for computers to ensure security patches are applied to seal up any found vulnerabilities.
Accidental Access by Family Member
It’s not unusual for a parent to hand their child their smartphone with a kid’s app to play with. But when business and personal are co-mingled on a phone, that can lead to a strange email being sent to a customer or missing data from a cloud application.
Using Mobile Device Management to Get a Handle on Your BYOD Policy
The best way to avoid the problems above and still gain all the benefits from implementing a BYOD plan is to use a mobile device management (MDM) application, such as Microsoft Intune or others.
An MDM app solves the problem of business data being on an employee’s personal mobile device, by separating the work from the personal. This also helps reduce the chance of data co-mingling or being accessible by accident.
Mobile device managers can address several challenges when it comes to your employees using their own phones for work. Here are several ways they do that.
Remote Wipe/Lock Capability
You can greatly reduce the risk of data being deleted or accessed by an unauthorized party when a phone is lost or stolen.
You can use a central control panel to remotely wipe the businesses data from a lost or stolen device or lock it with a passcode. This gives you control over the security when the device is not in the employee’s possession.
Remotely Add or Remove Device Access
An MDM app removes the security fear when an employee leaves out of the blue without warning because you can immediately revoke access to your company applications remotely.
It also makes setting up new users easy by making it just as simple to grant new users access as to remove access.
Back Up Data Remotely
You never have to worry about company data stored on an employee-owned phone or tablet from being lost because an MDM has the ability to remotely backup all your devices to a centralized cloud location to secure all company digital assets.
Automate Update/Patch Management
Through a mobile device manager, you can ensure that employee devices are getting those all-important security updates. The update process can be automated and controlled from a central admin panel.
Monitor Device Access of Business Apps
You gain important reporting insights through use of a mobile device management application. Such as, you can see which apps are being used (or not) by employees, helping you make better application buying decisions.
Get Mobile Security Help from Excedeo
Excedeo can help you take your BYOD mobile policy from fragmented to secure and efficient. Mobile use has become such as large part of a company’s workflow that it should also be incorporated into any endpoint protection strategies to reduce your risk.