Imagine this: all of the endpoints that the IT team is responsible for in one place all day long doing the same thing over and over. How much easier it would be to ensure security if this was the case! But, it’s been a long time since the devices connected to an organization’s network were in a single location and all behaved the same.
The pandemic has evolved mobile devices from cool consumer technology into critical enterprise tools that are sustaining our remote workforce. The rise in remote work has also increased the adoption of bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) and where devices live as workers brought their laptops home and continued using their personal devices in their new home offices. When it comes to productivity, employees were forced to “make it work,” and use what was available to them in order to get their jobs done, including using both personal and company-issued devices to access their enterprise network.
For nimble IT teams, managing and securing myriad disparate devices is no easy feat. To support this critical task, here are three ways to improve security of mobile applications for the new remote and hybrid (in and out of office) workforce:
1. Remotely manage apps and content on mobile devices
As cyber threats continue to become more sophisticated and dangerous, it’s even more critical that IT act vigilantly to defend against them. With an increasingly mobile and distributed workforce and IoT further expanding, organizations need full visibility into their environments to protect their data and users.
Secure remote inventory, distribution and management of applications and content enable IT to keep corporate mobile devices provisioned with the applications that users need according to their job responsibilities. Additionally, it’s important to maintain that all applications are up to date with appropriate patches and security fixes; and that applications and content deemed risky to security are quickly removed. This mobile management also includes computers that run Windows and Mac operating systems.
2. Know where each device is geographically
Giving access to too many users to systems with sensitive corporate data can lead to security breaches. Users should only get access to what they need to do their work, but often administrators can’t even keep track of who’s accessing what because they lack visibility.
Keeping tabs on each device’s geo-location will help alert IT to possible instances of loss or theft, so the appropriate action can be taken to quickly protect corporate data. Tracking the ownership and status of all company-known devices through asset management lifecycle — ordered, shipped, delivered, in use, in maintenance, securely disposed of — ensures maximized efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the assets throughout their lifespan.
3. Protect users’ and corporate data
To ensure user and corporate data stays protected, and specifically that data privacy regulations are being met, it’s important to ensure multi-factor authentication is enabled and enforced to access sensitive data on corporate and BYOD devices and their applications. Enabling user self-service can also support protection of user and corporate data. Having some form of a policy-driven, self-service portal allows users to perform tasks based on their individual roles or group memberships. For example, users could view their current devices and register new devices; reset their own passwords; locate, lock and wipe their devices without waiting for help from IT; and view and request changes to their access permissions. This enables users to be more proactive in securing their individual mobile endpoints and active applications versus having to rely on IT availability. At the same time, it enables IT to be more focused on items that add business value.
As organizations continue to focus on ensuring the strongest security posture across the business to support today’s global remote workforce, increased pressure is put on the IT team to better manage and secure changing environments. Ensuring management of not just applications on mobile devices but also of the devices themselves as endpoints is a critical component to securing remote working organizations. On top of this, to manage everything, IT should not only be aware of their mobile devices and applications, but also their computers, servers, and non-computers such as printers to ensure that focus is on the business versus maintaining management systems.
With this approach to mobile security, IT can better stay ahead of the changing environment and address cyber threats as soon as they emerge.