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How to secure your smartphone on-the-go

As the number of smartphones continues to grow exponentially, germane questions crop up in the minds of business owners and their IT administrators. Do we access company data on our smartphones? Do our employees have access to organization data with their smartphones? Are the devices compliant with company and regulatory policies? What should and shouldn’t be accessed on the mobile devices? How vulnerable are the devices? What if my ‘mobile office’ gets lost?

Though sometimes it comes as an afterthought, the questions are fundamental is safeguarding company’s data and network. Generally smart phones have basic security settings inbuilt.  Features like fingerprint, face recognition, pattern and pinlock are a standard, but some settings that can be easily overlooked. It is important to ensure sure you turn on find my device and device encryption as standard.  If a mobile device gets into the wrong hands and a device does not have encryption the contents can easily be read using tools readily available online.

Having a mobile device management solution is key to unlocking challenges that come with Bring-Your-Own-Device (BOYD) trends. A Mobile Device Management (MDM) is software that allows IT administrators to control, secure and enforce policies on smartphones, tablets and other endpoints. MDM solutions come with loads of features that help organisations in a number of key areas.

The foremost challenge businesses face with mobile device deployments is how to keep their networks and data secure. Mobile device management solutions include a range of features designed to enhance security, such as application blacklisting/whitelisting and malware detection. MDM solutions can also include jailbreak detection to identify devices that have been compromised, making them vulnerable to cyberattacks. MDM solutions can even offer data loss prevention, monitoring outbound communications for sensitive information and blocking transmission or alerting the user or a manager. What if you lose you device, as it happens? If a device is lost or stolen, an MDM solution can allow you to lock or wipe it remotely.

Keeping data secure requires that only authorized personnel can access it. Among the features in a good MDM solution include role-based access control that allows administrators to grant permission to specific functions depending on whether the employee is a device user, administrator or IT support. MDM solutions can also verify the user’s identity in a number of ways, including passcode and biometric authentication.

A mobile device management solution may include geofencing or time-fencing features that enable you to limit where and when a device or certain applications can be used. Picture these scenarios, a bank might not want its employees to transact out of office or outside banking hours. Similarly, a device may automatically lock when it leaves a manufacturing plant, or social media applications may only be accessible during lunch breaks or after hours.

Reporting is a particularly useful mobile device management feature, giving administrators insight into device status, security updates, noncompliant devices, usage, and device health. Additionally, audit logs can be streamed to a Syslog server to integrate with Security information and event management (SIEM) tools. Some MDM solutions use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to detect unusual activity such as content uploads, downloads, or suspicious user behaviors and send alerts.

Other useful features in an MDM solution include usage monitoring, device diagnostics, device enrollment, email management capabilities among others. Unsecured devices can be costly to an organization brand and financial outlay. Covering your back is thus a strategic move.

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