In today’s highly mobile, agile workforce the proliferation of both personal and corporate devices has created a new paradigm for security. IT teams must balance the need to provide seamless access for users, on the devices of their choosing, while developing and maintaining appropriate security policies to keep their organizations protected. Each new device has the potential to weaken the networking perimeter as the cyber threat surface expands. With so many devices accessing the network, the strategies to mitigate these risks must evolve. That’s why secure application access management is becoming critical for organizations, and why they are making great efforts to develop policies to support it.
Why Companies Need to Get on Board
For many companies these days, having some degree of mobile workforce is the rule rather than the exception. As the millennial generation becomes prominent in the workplace, and as many businesses expand their presence geographically, it is increasingly important to support highly valued, mobile workers. These users demand seamless access to corporate applications from the devices of their choice, often limiting their use of inflexible locked down corporate devices and applications. IT decision makers are taking note, and 69% now believe that BYOD is positive for their business.1 And perhaps more importantly, the adoption of BYOD has also shown to boost efficiency, saving employees 81 minutes of per week when they can use their own device.2 This trend can have a positive impact on the bottom line which is why mobile security has become a priority for many businesses.
Learn why it may be time to rethink your weakest link
So how does IT effectively grant the proper access to employees, wherever they are with their own device, while securing applications and data at the same time? It comes down to implementing a strong enterprise mobility management (EMM) strategy. Because it is a strategic mix of state-of-the-art technology and services, and cutting-edge mobile tools, EMM can be custom designed to support any company’s requirements and objectives. This approach offers both the security and flexibility required to enable a successful mobile workforce.
The EMM tools available to support secure access include mobility application management (MAM), mobile device management (MDM) and contextual-based security. These tools work together to enhance user experiences by delivering the necessary applications and data they need to do their jobs and respond to customers at the speed to which they are accustomed —without compromising security. Aside from efficiency gains, the untethered freedom that end users experience can help raise morale which creates a more pleasant workplace environment.
The Tools That Make EMM Tick
MAM: This tool allows companies to protect their data without having to take over and lock down the personal devices of employees. Instead it gives IT the ability to remove applications from devices as needed. It also enables technology teams to apply stricter security policies on applications containing sensitive information.
MDM: With the ability to create user-specific profiles, IT can control, encrypt and enforce policies on an individual basis, as well as remotely activate devices, automatically configure third-party apps and provision hardware on an as needed basis.
Contextual-based access: This form of adaptive security allows for specific measures to be taken based on the situation. For example, two-factor authentication can be required if the employee is using an open, public Wi-Fi network such as a coffee shop or an airport lounge. Contextual-based access also allows network access from a mobile device to be compartmentalized, granting employees access to only the information needed to do their jobs. This way, if the device is lost or stolen, hackers are strictly limited in what they can steal, until IT can wipe or lockdown the device.
Policies Are Key to Secure Access
The deployment of new EMM technologies creates efficiencies by automating many of the mobile device security tasks that have the potential to consume IT resources. Now, those man-hours can be reallocated to more strategic security tasks such as designing acceptable use policies. These policies set the standard for how employees are expected to conduct business with their devices, taking out the guess work so everyone is on the same page. Additionally, because device loss and theft have become more common with the growing number of devices, acceptable use policies are imperative for businesses with a remote workforce. In fact, it has been reported that a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds, and 80% of the cost associated with those missing laptops stems from data breach.3
A few of the topics that fall under acceptable use guidelines may include the following:
- Devices – the make, model and operating system that are approved for work use
- Eligibility – the people who are allowed remote access such as full-time or part-time employees and contractors
- Compliance – corporate requirements and subsequent disciplinary action taken if they are not met
- Access—the corporate networks, services and/or applications to which users will have access
- Security— the applications and data that the company can access on the personal device for monitoring and control
To succeed in today’s business environment, mobility must be embraced. And with that movement comes a heightened need for secure, yet flexible access that lets the right people in and keeps the wrong people out. By adopting mobility management practices, IT can focus on security and accessibility policies designed to ensure that users can seamlessly access the applications critical to their work and the overall health of the business.