MDM policies for mobile devices are crucial in protecting against data breaches and security threats. MDM policies can be used to help employees identify mobile security risks and how they can mitigate them, regardless of whether the devices are company-owned or personal.
Let’s talk about the importance of a mobile device management strategy and best practices to keep mobile devices safe at work.
WHAT IS a MOBILE DEVICE-MANAGEMENT POLICY?
Mobile device management policies establish guidelines for how mobile devices will be used within your company. You expose your company to cyber threats, theft, and corporate espionage attempts by not having mobile usage guidelines.
Employees use mobile devices as one of the most dangerous and least protected tools. Your equipment and sensitive data are at risk if any tool leaves your office.
Devices such as:
- Notebook and laptop computers
- All smartphones (iPhone, Android)
- Portable media devices
MDM policies should be applied to all employees, contractors included, and anyone else who has access to company data via a mobile device. Contractors should be trained on MDM policies. If necessary, you can use NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) to protect their data.
There are three major categories of mobile device use:
- Bring your own device (BYOD).
- COBO: Company owned/Business only
- Personally Enabled (COPE), Company Owned
6 COMMON THREATS FOR MOBILE DEVICES IN THE WORKPLACE
Mobile device use in the workplace poses many risks.
1. THEFT AND LOSS
A loss or theft of mobile equipment poses a huge security risk. Remote employees must be extra cautious when leaving their mobile devices out in public, such as airports, coffee shops, or co-working spaces.
Malicious software or malware can infect mobile devices and infiltrate networks that connect or communicate with them. Spyware and ransomware as well as computer viruses, Trojans, and other security threats that can infect your mobile device, must be monitored.
3. PUBLIC WIFI
Users who use public WiFi to access their mobile devices from outside the company environment are exposed to security threats. Public WiFi connections are free and hackers can access your data to steal passwords, distribute malware, or gain access to your data.
4. BRING-YOUR-OWN-DEVICE (BYOD)
Most employers find bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios appealing, but they come with a number of risks. Multi-use devices could expose your business to greater vulnerabilities. Because you can control the installation of applications, company-owned devices are easier for security. Separate BYOD policies can be used to mitigate risks if company-owned mobile devices are not distributed.
5. CORPORATE ESPIONAGE
Competitors may attempt to seize sensitive data in a variety of ways. Third parties and employees can also participate in corporate spying attempts to steal data and sell it for profit.
You can protect your employees’ mobile devices and sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), if you are concerned about theft of company proprietary information.
6. REGULATORY NON COMPLIANCE
Mobile devices that are compromised can expose financial, personal, or confidential information. Non-compliance with regulatory requirements can lead to severe penalties that could endanger your company, brand, and reputation.
9 TOP PRACTICES TO MANAGE MOBILE DEVICES
Now that you know what threats you face, here are nine best practices to incorporate into your MDM strategy.
1. REQUIRE PASSCODES
Secure passwords and lock screen passcodes are a good first step to secure mobile devices. Many companies underestimate the importance of strong password policies, which increases their vulnerability to hacking and data theft.
These are some guidelines for password policy:
- Implement two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Prohibit password sharing
- To enforce complex passwords, use a password generator
- Minimum and maximum password age
- Limit the time you log in
Read Why you need to implement Password Policy Best Practices
2. ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE –
Anti-virus software is a vital tool in fighting cybercrime. Anti-virus software:
- Checks data and drives for virus infections
- Protects removable devices against infection with viruses and malware
- Maintains optimal operation of devices
- This tool will help you detect phishing email addresses
All mobile devices should be equipped with antivirus software that is updated regularly.
3. ENFORCE UPDATES
Effective patch management is essential to keep your software current. Software updates that aren’t enforced can cause instability in your IT environment. Hackers are skilled in identifying system vulnerabilities and can easily infiltrate networks with unpatched software.
4. RESTRICT ROOTED DEVICES
An root device Android tablet or smartphone that has been locked to modify settings or install unapproved applications is known as a rooted device . Rooting an iPhone can be like jailbreaking it. Malicious apps and pirated apps can be uploaded to the device. Rooted devices should not be used with company data.
5. ALLOW ONLY APPROVED SAMPLES
No matter whether you are using a COBO, BYOD or COPE strategy you will need a list with approved apps for your company. To ensure safety and compliance, you can set up company-owned equipment that blocks or disables unapproved apps. Make sure that approved apps meet compliance standards and are encrypted.
6. Avoid public WIFI and USB ports
For company business, public WiFi should be avoided. Unsecured networks can be a common route for malware to access company data and compromise devices.
Public USB ports are known to be malware delivery methods and should therefore be banned. Data can easily be stored online or in cloud storage, so it is worth considering banning USB use altogether to ensure maximum security.
7. FORCE BACKUP FILES
Although it should be obvious to perform regular backups, many businesses fail to implement backup plans. It is better to store data on mobile devices in the cloud than on local drives. Cloud backup can be used to save and restore data when needed.
8. Report Losses IMMEDIATELY
Management should be notified immediately if equipment is lost or stolen by employees. IT staff can remotely lock and erase equipment that is missing to protect data. You can use location services to track the movements of all devices at any time.
9. Regularly remind employees of best practices
For best results, employees must be reminded of your MDM policy once they are familiar with it. In your company manuals and new employee orientation training, you should include policies on mobile device management.
Your MDM doesn’t have to be a one-and-done proposition. As technology and security advances change, you should expect that your mobile device management policy may evolve.
Regularly review your MDM policies and remind employees to update as necessary.
HOW TO CREATE a STRONGER MDM Policy TODAY
To ensure data integrity, safety and compliance, it is important to have an effective and up-to-date MDM policy. It is not easy to create a mobile device management plan. This requires IT expertise.
Helixstorm will help you create a policy for managing mobile devices that protects your data and keeps your employees productive. We can also provide IT support 24/7, wherever and whenever you need it.
Call us today for more information about our managed IT service that will make your job and your life easier.