Securing your enterprise data on the move
Securing your enterprise data on the move
More and more, we are moving to the music of a mobile world. A lot has changed in a very short space of time. We now consume most of our media on-the-go: we get our news from apps, we share gossip as well as insight over social networks, we view TV and other media via our phones.
The same goes for how we work. Increasingly, both employers and employees are using mobile devices to get ahead of their workload. Mobile technology has given us the freedom to get work done whenever and wherever we need to. We can edit a report, compile a spreadsheet, or send an email while picking the kids up from school or waiting for our dental appointment. With mobile technology and cloud services like Office 365 combining to significantly enhance our collaboration capabilities, the potential for what we can do seems endless.
With great power comes great responsibility
As with any new way of working, a method of managing the work for optimal success needs to be devised and cultivated. Mobile Device Management (MDM) is important for getting the best out of your employees; to ensure a continuing level of productivity, and, importantly, for security reasons. 70% of IT professionals believe the use of unauthorised programmes resulted in as many as half of their companies’ data loss incidents.
To ensure proper monitoring and enforcement of corporate policy – along with securing emails, documents on device, and data segregation – many businesses use MDM products and services that bring together and manage the mobile devices of their employees, whether on-premises or in the cloud. This introduction of MDM policy for enterprise has evolved from ‘good practice’ to essential practice.
The benefits of good MDM policy in the workplace
When employees are accessing company information from anywhere, such as storing it on their tablets and smartphones, preserving its safekeeping and monitoring the control of important data becomes much more nuanced than in days gone by.
Good Mobile Device Management policy:
- Protects both employer and employee from breaching company or legal data regulations
- Ensures both parties know where they stand in relation to mobile devices and access to corporate information
- Access can be restricted to certain apps and devices
- User agreements can be entered into, between employer and employees over the remote wiping of devices to protect sensitive information
Practical steps for implementation
Company device vs Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
The decision needs to be made to either allow employees to use their own personal device for mobile working (BYOD) or provide them with company-owned devices. Both have their positives and negatives. Company-provided devices can be configured specifically to the security needs of the employer, but will tend to cost more than allowing employees to use their own existing devices. Personal devices are readily available but are more difficult to secure.
Training and information
This will allow your business to move to mobile working smoothly. In-depth knowledge of employer policies regarding the security of data, the protocol of declaring devices, and the policy on wiping (personal or business) devices if lost or stolen is essential.
Without explicit regulations on the use and access of mobile devices in and out of the office, companies leave themselves open to data breaches and fines. Competitors may also use leaked data to their advantage, or possibly even steal customers.
Know your needs
As mentioned, different companies will have different needs: small companies may get away with more of an ad hoc approach, where larger companies run the risk of losing track of devices etc. Whatever your needs when it comes to mobile device management, know them inside out.
Get a head start on Office 365
Those who rely on Office 365 for their day-to-day work have a helping hand when it comes to securing and managing mobile devices for their business.
- Allow your Office admins to apply policies that will help control access to your company’s documents and emails via mobile apps and devices.
- Remotely wipe a device if it is lost, stolen, or an employee leaves the company.
Control settings for mobile access to Office 365
Users will be prompted to enrol in MDM policy for Office 365 when they access specific apps on their devices. If a user’s device doesn’t comply with your policy, they may be blocked from accessing Office 365 resources, or if they do gain access a policy violation will be reported.
- Access control supported on: Windows Phone 8.1; iOS 7.1+; Android 4+
- Exchange ActiveSync runs native email and third-party apps (TouchDown), that use Exchange ActiveSync
Office/One Drive for Business
Access control for: Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
Supported on: iOS 7.1+ and Android 4+ (all devices)
Be aware: Management of Blackberry devices is not supported by MDM for Office 365. Instead, use Blackberry Business Cloud Services to manage Blackberry devices.
Remotely wipe a device
Sometimes the worst does happen; an employee’s device gets lost or stolen. You needn’t lose sleep over this, however. You can easily remove sensitive company data by selectively wiping certain information, or perform a full wipe to delete all information from an enrolled device, restoring it to its factory settings. It’s as simple as going to the Office 365 admin centre and navigating to Mobile management.
Office 365 Mobile Device Management is available to use on the following types of devices:
- Windows Phone 8.1
- iOS 7.1 or later versions
- Android 4 or later versions
Access control for Windows 8.1 & 8.1 RT devices is limited to Exchange ActiveSync.
With the continued move to a more mobile experience in all aspects of our lives, companies – as well as platforms – have to keep up. Soon, any enterprise technology will only be as good as its mobile experience and your business needs to stay ahead of the curve. In fact, you need to be making decisions about the implementation of technology for your company that may not even exist yet.
At Content and Code, we know the value of keeping out in front of new innovations. If you have Office 365 and would like to get the most out of managing it, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
CEO and Founder
Tim is the CEO of Content and Code and founded the company in 2001. As CEO of Content and Code, Tim focuses on corporate strategy, client and partner relationships, and has overall responsibility for driving the growth of the company. Tim founded Content and Code so he could help transform organisations to be more responsive, more competitive and engage their employees to better realise business goals.