Mobile devices are integrated in the operation, function and performance of SMBs. Thus mobile management options have become a hot topic for employers looking to keep up and continual innovative.
With a continually evolving and remote workforce, we don’t see this slowing down anytime soon. Hence it’s more important than ever for SMBs to take notice of their mobile devices and tackle the fundamentals of accommodating and having them in the workplace.
We at Quartet have identified the top 5 mobile management concerns you should fix and stop asking.
1. Do I do use BYOD or COPE policies?
One of the primary concerns of SMBs has been whether to introduce bring your own devices (BYOD) or corporately owned personally enabled devices (COPE) policies in the workforce. This debate has plagued and bogged down IT departments for years. Time has shown that neither option is completely right.
We have actually seen that a mixture of both options to be a better fit and properly accommodates every workforce.
In any workforce you will have a division of employees; those who need a mobile devices for their role and those who use mobile devices to enhance business performance. In the former, you want to manually issue corporate devices as they will be in need of this mobile devices to ensure they’re adequately have the resources to do their job.
Roles such as executives, managers or CEOs fall within this category. The latter would be employees such as staffs, remote workers or interns who use their mobile devices to enhance their performance but aren’t necessarily required, in this case they should be allowed to bring in their own devices.
This would allow you focus your time on more pressing concerns and with the help of your IT department you can figure out the best mobile devices for your security plan and needs, and set that as the standard for your team.
Any technological decision should keep in pace with your SMBs business objectives and contribute to the growth and expansion of your organization. This should be the metric of any new adopting of technology.
Following this framework will also ensure you won’t have any security issues and everyone will be running the same operating system, mitigating security risks and ensuring uniformity.
The problem lies in the fact that the majority of SMBs see the cost saving effects of allowing BYOD policies without considering the downsides of security or the vast number of available mobile devices, which is a bad place to come from.
You should be making decision according to your businesses specific needs and objectives and not just to save money, as this approach could cost SMBs a lot more in the case of lost, exploited or hacked mobile devices because they didn’t clarify or set the standard of allowable mobile devices.
This also fluctuates according to various regulations and compliance issues with each industry, as a law firm or hospital would be more likely to insist on the use of COPE devices for the simple fact that it needs to maintain their data, security and source of control. Whereas a publisher or University would be more flexible about device use and give their staff more control over BYOD.
We have to remember that regardless, this decision shouldn’t be based around which is more or less costly, but rather which one offers your company more value in the long-term and which one you’re IT department is comfortable.
For more information on this topic checkout our “Is your IT department built for 2016 or 2001?” whitepaper.
2. Should I setup an internal app store?
Unless you’re a large corporation with thousands of employees, you probably shouldn’t be thinking of running an internal app store. Creating, running and maintaining an internal app store is probably overkill and wouldn’t be necessary for the large majority of SMBs whose main focus isn’t app development or coding. The energy and resources you would put aside towards an internal app store would probably be of better use towards pushing your business objectives forward or accomplishing business goals.
The motivation of using an internal app store would be to have the power to configure and control which specific applications are installed on a device, but with options such as using an MDM server, this makes the internal app store obsolete. Using an MDM allows you to control which apps are installed, updated and managed by users by your IT department. It also lets you blacklist or whitelist specific apps, so you can prevent employees from installing apps that have been known to cause issues or security issues on devices.
Additionally with solutions such as Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) for their business app store and Google’s private channel for their play store, you can buy licenses in bulk for apps that you use within your organization and manage their distribution as well as manage your own homegrown app straight from each store.
These pre-existing solutions to running an internal app store are already available and can offer additional use for companies who want the benefits without any of the additional costs.
3. How do I keep mobile devices from leaking my corporate data?
There is a lot of hype and confusion regarding the security of corporate data through mobile devices.
Research has shown that stolen laptops and misplaced USB drives make up the majority of the ways corporate data is leaked with mobile devices showing little or no threat of leaking corporate data.
According to the 2015 Verizon Data Breach Report, approximately 0.03% of smartphones per week were infected with annoying malware. While phishing attempts shows a 10% victim rate per 100 emails sent. Additionally 17% of total data breaches were the result if internal actors.
So here we can see the disparity in the figures. Mobile devices are statistically safer to use then other piece of tech.
This data also shows that PC are where the majority of security risks occurs, but we have seen that the majority of SMBs are less inclined to offer the same level of security and detail to their PCs as they do for their mobile devices.
The issue is security on mobile devices isn’t that hard to enforce. It takes very little to ensure encryption and password usage on a device, and if a device is lost or stolen you can do a data wipe of the device remotely and not worry about your corporate data falling into the wrong hands. Which actually makes mobile devices more secure than your pc, as they are less inclined to be targeted for an attacked.
The majority of SMBs need to reconsider their entire security plan. They need to understand that focusing on one source of data is problematic and they need to manage data access from the source. To ensure safety and security of their data SMBs need to develop a risk assessment strategy and implement it instead of focusing on one particular aspect such as mobile devices, pcs or insider intruders. Developing a broad risk assessment strategy ensures all your bases are covered in the case of emergency.
For more information checkout our security services page.
4. Are my mobile devices all updated and running the latest software?
Running the most updated operating system and software on your devices is a no brainer, this ensures your mobile devices are up to speed and will run as expected. This is one of the easily mitigated things an SMB can do to ensure productivity and efficiency. With weekly vulnerably and update announcements, patch management is a continual something you want to be aware off and ensure you’re doing.
This should be part of your IT department’s mobile devices plan and having automatic universal wide roll-outs during off times could be paramount to avoiding any issues down the line with faulty running mobile devices or security exploits. Figuring out an updating plan, means your IT department can spend their time doing something more productive.
These updates are not just for your mobile devices, but also any third-party apps they are running such as Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Flash, or Java.
Something to further consider is what applications you want to be able to run on your mobile devices, as these applications can impart and affect your whole device, as they may not have as many updates or be maintained as some of your enterprise software and can bog down your mobile devices memory and ram.
5. Do my employees know how to use their devices?
Buying and investing in technology is useless if your end-users don’t know how to use it. This can be extremely problematic not only for your SMB, but can lead to a lower return on investment and technology issues down the line.
This plays on the generalists vs. specialist trend, as the majority of employees today have a very specific sets of skills and are completely to other ways of working with technology.
Assuming your workforce knows how to use their mobile devices is the wrong train of thinking, as it alienates a large part of your workforce and adds additional work which will make them hesitant to adopt new technologies.
Not to mention that each department and specific roles will have different requirements and demands from their mobile devices and therefore assigning a one fit model is problematic and can lead to communication issues and silos of information.
This is why it’s paramount to make sure your employees know how to use their technology.
You can ensure this by running monthly workshops and training session on how to effectively use and maintain mobile devices in the workplace. This will make sure they know how to use their mobile devices according to their role and teach them new tricks and setups to make them more productive and efficient.
As we enter the New Year, it’s important you continue to look for new ways to innovate and adapt in the technological world. Focusing on pre-existing solutions will only bog you down and eat up resources. Make sure you have the top 5 mobile devices fundamentals down so you can focus on more important matters today.