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Jason Parms

mobile security strategyThe striking phrase “Work from anywhere” is quickly becoming a standard for a lot of industries. We have entered into a mobile-first, cloud-first world where we work from anywhere and from any device is the current trend for consumers too. In that case, it is imperative for companies to establish a successful strategy for embracing a mobile workforce. Bring Your Own Device, that is, BYOD is the practice of employees bringing personal mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops to their workplace.

Smartphones are extensively used for multiple purposes and that is the main reason why they are prone to malware or viruses. Many consumers are not aware of these risks. These threats are not limited to illicit programs, but legitimate programs developed by reputed companies also collect and disseminate our personal information. Data privacy remains to be a serious concern for individuals as well as organizations.

The BYOD policy may need to contain a limitation of remote access for several categories of sensitive information. It is very important to notify the employees about the organization’s power to gain access to their personal data. They should disclose where the personal data will be stored if the organization has the facilities for device data backup. It is very important that users who are a part of the BYOD program abide by all the corporate policies. Employee consent or user acceptance of the BYOD policy is an important factor that helps in protection of the organization in the safety measures that are implemented.

Certain guidelines have to be followed to manage and secure mobile devices in the enterprise.

  1. Recognize the vulnerabilities and use trusted networks only

At the outset, make sure that you have a corporate network that allows usage of trusted applications only. Have a few employees who can responsibly handle the assessment of BYOD strategy and accomplish all the goals that can prove to be immensely beneficial for the progress of the organization. Appoint people who are from IT background and people who have enough know-how about the susceptibility of the information to malware. BYOD principle and the company motto are not two different entities, but they should be treated as one. It is inevitable to understand the tools that can enable companies to make effective use of BYOD. These tools include the following:

  • Mobile device management systems and services: The entire lifecycle of the smartphone deployment can be managed by an organization with the help of mobile device management systems and services. From initial configuration that includes the configuration of security policy to support, troubleshooting and reporting; all these steps can be effectively handled through these systems.
  • Enterprise endpoint security suites: Antivirus, anti-malware, firewall and intrusion detection are included in enterprise endpoint security suites. It is an effective and ever changing practical solution for organization endpoint security against the constant proliferation of viruses and mistakes. The real goal of this tool is to improve the detection and investigate the breaches whenever they take place.
  • Network access controls solutions: Network access control solutions can detect the unusual behavior of the devices on a network and mitigate threats based on signature and policy. NAC solutions have evolved greatly by making application access easier. They enable organizations to address regulatory compliance in the best possible way.
  • Endpoint virtualization solutions: Make use of secure endpoint virtualization solution before you plan for configuration and deployment. By doing so, the applications and data of the users are stored and secured. There will be a significant improvement in the security of user environment by the execution of endpoint virtualization solutions.
  • Enterprise-level mobile content management (MCM) and collaboration: Mobile Content Management Systems (MCMS) have become absolutely imperative because of the increasing demand for enterprise content management. In addition, mobile devices are becoming more and more sophisticated plus complex these days. MCMS can be individualized according to the device that is being used. Location-specific content like maps, news and advertisements can be accessed according to the user’s location at that time. A GPS navigation system works on this principle.
  • Virtual desktop infrastructure: Providing the end users with virtual desktops are the main usage of virtual desktop infrastructure. After the creation of the virtual desktop, it can be used to connect it to some form of remote control software such as Remote Desktop Protocol, which is reinforced into windows, VNC, or for that matter any remote control software. It was not long ago when the connection broker (a resource manager that handles a group of connections) was used to help determine which virtual desktop should an end user connect to. However, in today’s world, the connection broker can be deemed as an infrastructure access gateway by the end user. That connection broker can be provided to make virtual desktops more accessible. Apart from this, it can also be blade PC (the type of client computer), servers and even applications.
  1. Make use of malware protection

Malware protection is mandatory for every company. It is wise to have all the devices inaccessible to any vulnerability. Everyone, including the employees as well as the managers unanimously, believes in having threat protection. It is a good idea that companies offer malware protection for every device of the employees. Employees sometimes without awareness of security threats click on malicious links or download software that can be identified by malware protection applications.

  1. Develop security policies that are contextually aware

BYOD does not work well if the organization believes in implementing a single policy for users, and IT department because requirements of every user and IT department may vary and hence, “one size fits all”. It may happen that IT staff is less effective to apply the same policy for their devices outside the premises of the organization. Companies that wish to incorporate BYOD in their business should make use of effective security mechanisms according to the needs of the employees, their geographical location, their device of usage and their network.

  1. SSL VPN

SSL VPN is an ideal choice for BYOD as IT admin can have network access control through which they can limit the access to applications. SSL creates a secure encrypted channel to specific applications. In the case of mobile theft, attackers can access minimal applications rather than potential network access. When users are retrieving the network through VPNs, online portals, enterprise apps, SSL security is the most effectual technique to protect connections and corporate data. SSL VPN allows users to access resources on their own device while keeping the network safe.

  1. Have the facility of reporting mechanisms

Making use of principles according to real-time data obtained from each and every device goes a long way in having secure corporate networks. Reporting of real-time data of users and devices can help in maintaining effective security and policy control. Reporting tools can be used to recognize the effects of security controls on users, networks, employees and corporate infrastructure.

  1. Use operational tools to close the mobile app security gap

There are numerous applications available on the mobile device. There is a mobile app security gap that leads to users getting more prone to virus infected applications on mobile devices. Many applications allow IT department to block local applications to make BYOD safe. It is very important to close this gap with applications and operation tools so that BYOD works in a hassle free manner without a risk of losing information owing to virus attack.

Conclusion

BYOD is gradually becoming a trend. Without the implementation of a proper BYOD policy, organizations can face security dangers which can make the network or server infected or permanently dormant. By applying all the necessary safety measures, we can make it a successful standard for all the companies.