It’s not breaking news that mobility has transformed the workplace. The ability to access important applications, files and the Internet from anywhere, at any time, has had a positive effect on business efficiency overall. But there is also a downside to a highly mobile workforce — the increased likelihood that unprotected endpoints may weaken network security, creating opportunities for attackers to steal sensitive corporate and customer data.
Most of your customers realize that to lock down the network, mobile endpoints must be protected. And that protection must be the same, whether the devices are company-issued or employee-owned. In fact, according to Gartner, half of employers will require employees to supply their own devices for work purposes by 2017; 38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to their workforces by 2016.
MDM solutions simplify management of all mobile devices connected to the corporate network and provide the ability to “lock down” those devices to make sure they are not the weak link in corporate security defenses. However, MDM isn’t inexpensive, and employees may balk at installing agents on their personal devices.
That means customers may take a little extra persuading. Here are five talking points:
- You can save money and time with simplified onboarding. Given how often people buy new phones and tablets, it can be a time suck for IT to manually register new devices. With a modern MDM system, it’s a simple matter to add new PCs and mobile devices to the MDM system as new employees are hired and new smartphones or tablets are assigned. A self-service enrollment portal can reduce the load even further. Once a device is authenticated, all configurations, policies, apps and restrictions are synced in real-time.
- Mobile malware is on the rise, yet people love their apps. According to our latest Threat Report, the growth of Android malware continues at a scary pace. Just in the last quarter of 2015, our Threat Research Labs found 220 new families of Android malware, bringing the total in 2015 to more than 500. These new threats include a mix of potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) and Adware strains. This should raise red flags for all anyone responsible for protecting corporate assets. Never before has application control been so important for MDM. On the upside, the Android operating system is more flexible than iOS when it comes to management and control. Using MDM, IT admins can use a cloud management console to manage a “library” of approved apps, install/uninstall apps that are not approved (or at least, notify the device owner) and set either partial or full restrictions on apps that are installed on corporate mobile devices. Application control gives IT admins the option to maintain lists of whitelisted or blacklisted apps, block apps depending on predetermined categories and even set time-based restrictions on app usage.
- Cloud-based MDM is available. Business leaders like the idea of saying, “yeah, we do that in the cloud.” And in fact, cloud-based MDM means IT administrators or solutions providers can easily manage mobile device through a simple UI. A panoramic asset management approach provides all the information anyone could need about each enrolled device and its status: Do any enrolled devices have a virus? Are devices accessing regulated data in the proper compliance status? With cloud-based management, IT gains a central management point to set up and enforce corporate polices for security and compliance.
- MDM can save money on data plans. How many times have you been sitting in an airport and seen a business traveler watching Netflix on a smartphone? Given the spotty Wi-Fi in most airports, odds are pretty even that streaming was happening on a work device, using a corporate data plan. MDM systems can monitor data usage and raise an alert before you get hit with an astronomical bill. Partners can set up these systems such that IT admins can view data usage details for all devices on the company network in a single view on the management console and raise alerts if a threshold is reached. They can also analyze how data bandwidth is being consumed overall, which applications are using the most data and the breakout of usage data per device.
- You can implement call/SMS monitoring to protect the company. No one wants to think about an employee abusing trust and downloading customer lists before jumping ship to a competitor, but it happens all the time and is difficult to prove. There may also be lawsuits over harassing text messages, inappropriate photos — you get the idea. MDM systems can be set to audit incoming and outgoing calls and SMS messages on network-enabled devices. And, you may just want to know who is wasting time. A CareerBuilder study of 2,138 hiring managers and HR professionals and 3,022 full-time, private -ector workers across industries and company sizes showed that personal use of technology is a leading distraction: 24 percent of workers admitted that, during a typical workday, they will spend at least one hour a day on personal calls, emails or texts. Twenty-one percent estimate that they spend one hour or more during a typical workday searching the Internet for non-work-related information.
Farokh Karani is director of sales & channels, North America, at Quick Heal.