Maintaining the overall security of personal and organisational devices is crucial for every organisation. IT managers and leaders are constantly researching newer and improved methods of protecting company data and information. This is done through the installation of advanced systems for the security and safety of devices including personal and shared equipment.
The popularity of flexible working has contributed to the investment of IT staff in effective device management solutions. This is because many user devices are being operated off-premises simultaneously, therefore increasing the need for secure systems to be installed for effective monitoring and management.
This piece will address various device management solutions and the benefits they offer.
Finding the right mix for success
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
This is the overall management of employee devices including computers, laptops and tablets, with the intent of protecting them from cyber security hazards or breaches. The protection also extends to personally owned devices of employees such as mobile and smart phones. This is to ensure the maximum security of all devices with critical data and sensitive information.
MDM systems are made up of built-in device management and security features which are used to monitor and enforce actions to manage applications and devices across an entire organisation.
Mobile Application Management (MAM)
Similarly, MAM involves the implementation of systems to protect installed applications within a business. It gives IT administrators control over applications on company smartphones, laptops, PCs and tablets. MAM policies are put in place to safeguard the data of organisations across all applications; examples including bespoke or Microsoft applications in use.
Policies are enforced to refrain users from downloading restricted applications. With this measure in place, shared and personal devices are effectively managed.
MAM can be used as a secure method of allowing personal devices (not company owned or enrolled devices to access company data securely using predetermined applications. MAM allows IT administrators to define what actions can be made in these apps. For example, not allowing users to copy data to other apps, preventing downloads, printing and many others. IT Administrators can also securely remove company data from these apps without affecting personal devices in any other way.
Additionally, it is an effective tool of managing company data without having to worry about enrolling a personal device into your MDM solution, thereby giving users the peace of mind that information collected is relevant company data.
Bring Your Own Device Management (BYOD)
BYOD is an economically efficient means of allowing employees to use their personal devices from home to access work-related files. Through key software such as Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S) applications, businesses can empower large numbers of their staff to work freely on their own IT equipment from any location.
EM+S is a specialist BYOD solution which allows IT consultants to closely monitor equipment; subsequently leading to encryption and identity control via cloud infrastructure.
Additionally, BYOD creates convenience for flexible, hybrid and modern workforces. It also enhances productivity and satisfaction amongst employees.
Intune is a cloud-based application from EM+S, that incorporates MAM and MDM systems to allow your organisation gain control over all forms of devices and applications in use. Intune integrates with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and Azure Information Protection to enforce controls and data protection respectively.
Through this, administrators can install authentication policies, example Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) steps for advanced threat protection.
Dangers of security loopholes
Companies who do not enforce MDM and MAM stand the risk of having online attacks include phishing, malware, password theft and ransomware. Unsecured devices are a major threat to businesses and as a result, IT staff ought to act proactively to prevent the above. With device management policies in place, the general security of mobile devices is guaranteed.
Benefits of device management solutions
Remote access to devices
With the growing increase in remote working, device management solutions position IT administrators to take control of user devices across board. According to a report, 16% of companies in the world are 100% remote, this is an indication of the future of work. Therefore, mobile devices can be made secure and accessible to flexible workforces through device management.
MDM adds an additional layer of security to devices, thereby reducing looming cyber security risks. Critical data and information on gadgets are therefore kept secure and do not get lost. In addition, common online risks including phishing and malware are also prevented.
The proper management of mobile devices ensures the overall maintenance of IT infrastructure. This in turn leads to cost savings since less money will be spent on purchasing equipment on a regular basis.
Controlled device updates
Once device management is centralised, IT administrators can control all important updates across mobile devices. This will ensure that all devices are kept up to date and compliant with organisational policies.
Securing Apple devices in a Windows environment
Remote staff using Apple devices such as MacBook’s, iPads and iPhones have increased. There is a common misconception that Apple devices are difficult to manage. This is however not the case due to simplified MDM solutions that are available to support such devices. At Infinity Group, we can successfully integrate these devices in any business environment, using secure Apple MDM solutions. This brings systems including iOS, iPadOS, macOS under a unified IT management.
Companies can utilise Apple Business Manager and an MDM solution to not only prevent devices from being inundated with forgotten personal Apple IDs, e.g. users who leave organisations without removing the ‘Find My Device’ setting’. Unless an administrator reaches out to that user to remove the device, Apple may not respond to removal requests that are without the user’s consent.
Apple Business Manager prevents this situation by confirming the devices are owned by the company and should a device be lost or stolen it can be locked or securely wiped.
When connecting Apple Business Manager with an MDM solution, devices can be purchased directly from Apple and sent to a remote user. The device would then automatically install all security settings and applications required without complicated setups. This allows your IT team to speed up deployments and reduce the time needed to get users set up.
Apple Push Notification Server (APNs)
This is a cloud component private to an organisation which is used in securing a device certificate from Apple. This is then used to maintain a secure connection across devices for a seamless workflow. With APNs, a trusted relationship is created between mobile Apple devices and the local source from which they are being managed. As a result, a secure connection and configuration is maintained across devices and applications.
Mobile Device Management Best Practices
Now let’s explore some best practices for any mobile device management solution:
Never Trust, Always Verify
By verifying every account thoroughly, systems are kept secure from hazards beyond the perimeters of your organisation. This zero-trust rule should be instilled to all systems.
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
Two-factor authentication methods are essential in protecting devices from external invasions. By implementing this, mobile devices are secure from attackers.
All employees within an organisation should be advised to pick strong passwords across accounts. This will ensure that attackers are unable to predict or steal them in the event of a hack.
Compliance policies ensure devices meet the criteria required by your company and allow actions to be set for non-compliant devices.
Compliance policies could include:
- Require Bitlocker
- Require 8 or more-digit passwords
- Require firewall
- Require the latest OS version
In conjunction with Conditional Access Policies, non-compliant devices can be blocked or restricted from accessing company resources.
Keeping a simple yet secure system is the key to a secure and integrated workforce.
Infinity Group’s expert device management consultants are available to guide you towards safeguarding your business. Get in touch today.
Read our other blog on Mobile Device Management here.