Business mobile devices – how to secure them?

The way we work has changed completely in recent years. Smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable devices have become standard equipment for employees. The security of all these devices has become a lot more complex. With the growing popularity of ‘Bring Your Own Device’, employees often bring these devices home with them and also use them outside of working hours.

EMM: Improve security and mitigate risk

In order to be able to do our work as efficiently as possible, we prefer to have access to the same business applications everywhere. This increases the chance that sensitive information or data will end up in the wrong hands. Anyone connecting to an insecure Wi-Fi hotspot is already in serious danger.
The risks can be contained with Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions. EMM offers one central environment in which the devices themselves, the applications that run on them and access to data can be configured, secured and managed.

Tools to secure and manage

EMM starts with an inventory and the composition of a company policy. It’s important to determine which devices are employees currently using? What data do they now have access to? And where are the greatest risks? These questions regularly provide the necessary eye-openers. For example, the handhelds that warehouse employees use unintentionally turn out to be able to do much more than expected. Or it could be discovered that employees place company applications on their private smartphones without additional security.

By creating a clear cybersecurity policy, it’s possible to frame what is and isn’t allowed. EMM software then provides the appropriate tools to enforce and monitor this policy. A ‘container’ is installed on each BYOD device, a protected environment in which all company apps and data are placed. It is possible to determine at a personal or profile level which access rights someone is given and which important security measures are in force. Think of two-factor authentication and the obligation to email via a VPN connection. And if someone leaves the company or if the phone turns out to have fallen into the hands of malicious parties, that access can be revoked remotely.

Balance security and ease of use

What companies often forget is that security is also about workability. Shortly after the arrival of the smartphone in the workplace, Mobile Device Management (MDM) was introduced and the aim seemed to be to block the mobile devices completely. It resulted in employees who worked around the measures and who, for example, worked against the rules with their own mobile devices. Everyone knows better now.
New technological developments have fortunately resulted in safety and user-friendliness now being combined. The separation between private and business matters that Enterprise Mobility Management provides is an example of this. Just like the smart integrations with additional tools. With the addition of Mobile Threat Defense (MTD), a special security application monitors all network traffic. If there are signs that indicate a man-in-the-middle attack, the app can pass this on to the EMM software, after which it activates a policy that blocks the use of e-mail, for example. Another option is for the MTD solution itself to block access to the network until the threat is removed.

Hackers are watching

In recent years, businesses have increased their attention to mobility management and security. At the same time, hackers have also been getting more interested in the topic. While it is sometimes assumed that a mobile operating system such as iOS is virus and malware-proof, it is not always the case.
The protection of mobile devices increasingly means recognizing risks both in internal use and handling of data and in possible advanced attacks from the outside.

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    Vitaly is a principal consultant at Hackcontrol as wall as aa business and IT thought leader. He has over 15 years of experience in consulting, account management and is a specialist in cybersecurity.