Mobile communication is a fundamental element of business operations today. It seems strange to think that just a few years ago companies were debating whether they should even permit employees to use mobile devices at work.
The term “bring your own device (BYOD)” entered the corporate lexicon around 2010 as organizations began to evaluate how to deal with growing employee use of personal mobile devices for work-related tasks. At the time, IT departments were ill-equipped to manage, secure and support the vast numbers of devices being brought into their organizations.
Of course, there is no longer any debate. Mobile phones are now the preferred business communication tool, with studies finding that more than 90 percent of workers use one for work every day. The shift to remote work models has further intensive the use of mobile devices, with many employees relying on them instead of company-issued PCs and laptops.
Nevertheless, businesses need to exercise control over the mobile device environment. Malware, data leakage and insecure apps remain significant security concerns. Additionally, studies regularly show that users fail to take even the most basic precautions to protect their devices and data. There are legal, regulatory and privacy concerns as well.
Organizations can use several strategies to overcome these challenges. The following five suggestions can help organizations minimize risk in order to reap the productivity benefits of BYOD.
- Know what devices are being used. It’s a good idea to have an end-user device registration policy so IT teams can understand what devices are accessing company resources. Because there’s still a good chance that employees will forget to register, organizations should implement an endpoint detection tool that will automatically detect, profile, assess and control mobile devices accessing the network.
- Limit data on devices. Because mobile devices are easily lost or stolen, it is important to restrict how much data can live on these devices. Organizations can eliminate that vulnerability with Virtual Mobile Infrastructure (VMI), a mobile-centric technology like desktop virtualization. With VMI, a lightweight client app is loaded onto mobile devices, allowing secure access to apps and an operating system running on a virtual machine in a remote data center. Any data associated with the application is stored there as well, thus eliminating the vulnerability of having data at rest on the device.
- Create zero-trust access. Use identity and access management, multifactor authentication, real-time user verification and device validation tools to create a zero-trust access model. This assumes that everyone and every device accessing network resources is a threat until their identity has been verified and validated.
- Don’t rely on users to manage their devices. Studies show that almost half of smartphone users never update their devices. Assume responsibility for keeping devices current by using over-the-air programming techniques to distribute software updates, configuration changes, user profiles and credentials.
- Implement unified endpoint management. UEM software creates a single interface for securing, managing and provisioning mobile phones, tablets and laptops. UEM enables full lifecycle management, from automatic onboarding to device retirement. Many solutions also enable single sign-on capabilities, self-service password reset, remote wipe capabilities and more. UEM also helps ensure that the user’s personal apps and data remain separate from company resources.
Although it started as a grassroots effort by employees, mobile devices are now part of business DNA. With remote and mobile work styles now the norm, there’s no longer any debate about whether IT organizations should support personal mobile devices — only about the best way to go about it. As a global provider of edge-to-edge IT solutions and services, Technologent is here to help you improve your mobile management capabilities.