Best Practices for Mobile Device Management
February 12, 2014
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
As an enterprise, it’s likely you’ve put a lot of thought into communications. You know you need lifelines to your customers, mobile capabilities for your employees and a unified approach for streamlining various channels. The challenge, however, is keeping all of these things working together correctly without compromising the integrity of the network. Mobile device management software is a great help, but you also need to follow some specific guidelines.
Craig Mathias, principal with wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group (News - Alert), recently offered some great insight into safeguarding mobile devices and data in an EdTech Magazine article. He boiled down effective mobile device management into a few basic guidelines, which you can put into practice in your own environment so that everyone can stay connected with minimal risk.
Set Guidelines for BYOD
It’s easy to assume that when you allow your employees to select their own mobile device to navigate the network that they can bring anything they want. In reality, BYOD needs to be a short list of supported devices. “Yes, you can bring your own personal device to use as long as it’s something we can support, like iOS or Android (News - Alert).” You can’t adequately support every conceivable model on the market and still protect the network.
Keep Robust Authentication
If you’re not going to allow a single sign-on, be sure the multiple levels or stages require different information. This is the only way to ensure that extra protection you want is actually there. Otherwise, allow authentication with PINs or passwords and require that they be changed on a consistent basis.
Understand the Limitations of Your Mobile Device Management Software
MDM can go a long way to enabling IT managers to monitor devices, manage what users are doing on the network and offer secure access to needed information. But it’s not a foolproof system. You can’t set aside common sense and smart policies just so employees don’t have to take the time to follow protocol when accessing the network. These guidelines are in place for a reason and you don’t want to have to implement damage control after the fact.
Secure Mobile Apps and Critical Data
Users have access to literally millions of different applications they could use on their smartphones to make life easier or just a little more fun. While some of these apps are good for business, others are a risk. Secure the approved list of apps to ensure your critical data is safe from hackers. Instruct your users on what they can and cannot access with their devices and follow up with blocking software.
To best balance performance and security, you have to establish a strategy that simultaneously supports the capabilities you need to be productive and the policies you must enforce to keep data safe. Put these practices and policies in writing and communicate clearly with all users. Only then can you hold everyone accountable.
Edited by Blaise McNamee