Everywhere you look companies are hustling to adapt to a rapidly changing concept and definition of work and the workplace, from refocusing cultural efforts that improve engagement and employee retention, to restructuring the work week to provide employees with alternative ways to complete their weekly duties.
Mobile and remote working as a trend is bound to become more popular as millennials and younger generations flood the workforce. Beyond creating a flexible work plan to bolster your recruitment of upcoming and incoming talent, you need to have a mobile device management plan to protect your company while your employees are working remotely.
For everyone ready to check out because this blog post is about to get “techy,” I have already waded through the tech jargon so that you don’t have to, and have found that creating a mobile device management plan is as simple as it is necessary.
Further, if you don’t want to bother with building your own, there are a ton of products on the market that will build and implement one for you.
Hardware and Software
Not every organization is going to have the infrastructure or the financial ability to provide their employees with the most up-to-date mobile technology. Some do. Regardless of who bought and owns the device, it’s important that it is secure and its use is in compliance with the regulatory systems in your industry.
Any “Bring Your Own” device (BYOD) should be registered with the company, and “onboarded” to prepare the device for corporate access.
Registration can be handled by the employees themselves by facilitating a “self-serve” portal. This can alert the IT team of the existence of the device, and help them keep track of its health and security.
You should keep in mind when building your mobile device management plan that HIPAA, FINRA and PCI DSS (among others) require data be encrypted and capable of being destroyed should the device be compromised.
Since your data is mobile now, you want to monitor who is using the device and where it’s being used, be able to run patches or bug fixes, and run selective or remote wipes in the event the device is lost or otherwise compromised.
The self-serve portal can provide all of these functions and more, which keeps the cost of your mobile device management low, and the responsibility in the hands of the employees.
Onboarding can include but is not limited to loading Virtual Private Network (VPN) software and antivirus programs onto the device — some companies even have their own “app store” that provides a list of approved applications for the device.
You want any communication between mobile devices and your network to be as secure as possible. The easiest way to do this is to require strong passwords from your mobile device users. Additional authentication steps, such as fingerprint scanning, or one time automated passwords are also advisable.
Auto-lock and auto-wipe functions during periods of inactivity or multiple failed login attempts are also industry best practices.
Any and all communication between a mobile device (or any remote device) and company/cloud based system should be encrypted, and as mentioned earlier, is required by specific compliance legislation. Think of encryption as a lock and key for your users that keeps your network and proprietary resources safe while being accessed from remote locations.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are basic and proven encrypted access platforms that allow remote users to access data or resources on shared networks, and they’re extremely easy to set up.
It’s important to be realistic with your mobile device management policy – the goal is to keep your data secure while allowing your employees freedom from the cubicle. Lofty or strict policies may result in compliance failures. Keeping your goals realistic and attainable will keep your implementation and compliance plans from falling by the wayside.
While some companies build and devote entire teams to mobile device management, it’s definitely not necessary. Further, the responsibility shouldn’t be put solely on your IT team.
Self-serve portals, like we discussed earlier, put the responsibility on the employees to register their devices, but can also provide access to troubleshooting, the ability to lock or wipe lost/compromised devices, reset passcodes, locate lost devices etc.
If you already have a working program in place for the inventory of your organization’s devices you can use your existing infrastructure as a model for your mobile device management program.
With all of the challenges facing today’s workforce, mobile device security is definitely one of the largest concerns for organizations. You need to be able to adapt to a mobile workforce, and a large part of that is making sure you have a practical and functional plan for maintaining the health and security of all of the devices accessing your company’s system.
Being able to implement a realistic plan for mobile device management will help your organization stay safe while staying ahead of the curve, allowing your employees and prospects the flexibility they’re looking for from an employer.