By Fred Mitchell, Security Business Unit Manager at DCC
The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, which sees individuals bring their own mobile devices into the workplace, is part of a new business paradigm. It allows business to be conducted remotely, from anywhere, at any time. It drives productivity and competitiveness. But BYOD also poses a significant challenge to organisations, from the large corporate to the Small Medium Enterprise (SME). As we enter the era of mobile computing, a composite security solution that addresses device management, application management, and threat protection has become vital.
More people own mobile devices and use them as personal productivity tools in their private and business lives. To refuse to allow employees to use these tools for work purposes would strategically disadvantage the business. However, if these devices are allowed to connect to the corporate network and access precious business data, the organisation is opening itself up to considerable security risks.
Besides basic protection from viruses or corruption of data, the organisation needs to be in a position to remove or ‘wipe’ corporate data from a device that is lost or stolen, and prevent access of company data by anyone no longer employed by the organisation. There are also privacy issues to consider. The owner of the device is unlikely to want the organisation to be able to access his or her private data or have any control over it. Finding a way to split access and control over personal and business data is thus important.
The answer lies in finding a solution that will assist the business to secure all mobile devices within the organisation, enforce organisational policy and maintain control of the IT environment. The solution should ideally address security of devices, applications and data across personal and corporate devices.
The right management software will ensure the company is positioned for mobility. It should:
- Enable devices for use in corporate environment by providing access to key corporate assets, such as email, calendars, critical mobile applications, documents, and media content.
- Secure devices and data on all devices, including activating appropriate password and access controls, and maintaining separation of corporate data and personal data.
- Manage all devices in the enterprise from a single centralised solution. This includes visibility and control over all phases of device lifecycle with needed administrative and helpdesk options.
The range of tools available to control information and devices is quite large and implementing these tools is becoming a trend throughout business as corporates realise that they are at risk and that people will use their own devices whether they want them to or not.
Enable, secure, manage – the key features
There are some key features to look out for in the solution you select. In terms of enablement, enterprise enrolment will help prevent unauthorised shadow enrolments and provide a standard and automated provisioning process, while self-service activation will reduce IT handholding. A business email feature should include automatic configuration for native and third-party email clients that connect to various mail servers. An in-house enterprise application store will provide the ability to distribute internal or public applications. An enablement solution should also facilitate access to corporate network resources like Wi-Fi and VPN with support for all protocols and authentication methods. A mobile collaboration feature is also vital to makes content available on an end user device of choice.
When it comes to security, ensure the solution’s policy management feature can drive corporate compliance by enabling advanced security settings on devices. All policy options including passwords, remote wipe, and resource and application restrictions should be available and should be able to target specific users, devices, OS’ or groups. Strong authentication, secure email access, data separation and compliance and remediation features are also crucial.
Effective and efficient management of devices is going to be essential. The management features that will make the biggest difference are: centralised management for all mobile devices; integrated management of all the computing devices in the enterprise; management of all enterprise applications through the lifecycle phases with over-the-air (OTA) control; application curation to keep the enterprise mobile ecosystem safe with policy driven blacklisting; dashboards and reports to provide exact details of enterprise mobile assets at all times as well as comprehensive user, device, app, and profile details; and automation of administrative and operational tasks.
The message to corporates is: if you are using mobile devices in your organisation, you are at risk. Leverage the advantage the BYOD trend offers by investing in the software you need to better manage the devices and protect the organisation.