As it becomes easier for users to access the web, businesses are demanding that their employees work outside the regular 9-5. To avoid purchasing mobile devices, many small businesses are letting employees use their own phones and tablets.
In fact, a survey conducted by MarketsAndMarkets found that BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies were in place in nearly 40% of American businesses, and we can vouch that companies all over Detroit and Grand Rapids are no different.
As convenient as BYOD can be for businesses, it is not without its drawbacks. Companies cede some level of control when allowing employees to use their own tablets and mobile devices, which is why a strong MDM (Mobile Device Management) policy is so crucial.
An MDM policy enforces IT security policies for employee- and company-owned devices alike, offering protection from the following five threats.
Bugs and Viruses
Away from the safety of your network, tablets and mobile devices are exposed to any number of threats. It’d be one thing if the employee was simply infecting their home laptop with a virus while trying to download the latest Game of Thrones episode illegally. However, it’s totally different when that laptop is also used to access your network and process company or client information. Think of a computer virus like any other virus -- they're contagious. One employee’s carelessness could spread to every device on your network.
To counteract this, your MDM policy must automate antivirus checks, system upgrades, and app patches.
Lost / Stolen Devices
While not unique to BYOD businesses, the scenario where lost or stolen devices contain company information is much more common than it was a decade ago. It was easier when IT-related work devices never left the office. Now, tablets and mobile devices are going home, on vacation, out to dinner, and countless other places.
Lost or stolen devices not only threaten productivity, but they also provide thieves easy access to your sensitive company information. Any comprehensive MDM policy should include a protocol for deactivating or wiping clean a lost or stolen device.
Candy Crush doesn't have the same security programming that Office 365 does, and most of your employees' devices probably have both. According to MarketWired, the average enterprise business has more than 2,000 unsafe mobile apps installed on employee devices.
These include apps with embedded threats such as spyware or backdoors that can be used to access your company data. Ideally, your MDM will only allow apps to be installed that you have specifically allowed. Additionally, your IT support team can help employees manage their apps remotely to reduce vulnerability.
Most mobile operating systems, such as iOS, have built-in security features that prevent or discourage the use of unsafe or unapproved applications, and MDM solutions make it possible to enable these settings on several devices at once.
Third-Party Operating Systems
Installing OS software that wasn't released by the device vendor allows users to bypass protocols that some find restrictive. In practice, it’s typically done to allow individuals to download apps and programs without having to purchase them directly.
However, this process also requires bypassing security, and often it opens the device up to intrusion from malicious programs, spyware, and even direct attacks.
Any MDM solution should recognize unregistered OSs and prohibit compromised devices from being used for business activities.
A Bad or Non-Existent MDM Policy
It is often said that the best defense is a good offense. When it comes to mobile device management, this is especially true. Many companies hastily allow employees to use their personal devices, either putting off security optimizations for later or scrapping them altogether.
Considering all the threats looming around, a mobile device management policy is crucial to any company that allows employees to use their own devices. By taking proactive steps, which includes setting up and enforcing guidelines, businesses can reduce or eliminate their risks.
Ready to Secure Your Mobile Devices?
GRIT Technologies was founded to help businesses like yours manage and maintain your technology needs. With a host of managed IT services, including mobile management and virtualization, our team has the tools you need to keep your business’s IT on point.
Contact us today to learn how GRIT Technologies can help secure your network and manage your mobile devices.