The Importance of Mobile Device Management for Enterprise Security

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Drayton Graham

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Almost everyone has their own mobile phone these days. And they are quickly becoming a necessity in business, especially with executives.

Nowadays, more companies are allowing their employees to bring their own device (BYOD). With BYOD, users have the ability to sync their work email, access company data, as well as use their phone or tablet for personal use.

Let’s say a user loses their brand new iPad 3 on vacation after checking his work email. What can a company do to address the management of these mobile devices, and how can the company data on these devices be protected?

BYOD Freedom Requires MDM Security

In order to enable the kind of freedom BYOD brings, the corporate network and corporate data needs to be protected. Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a solution that will help with this kind of dilemma.

MDM can be used on company owned devices and employee owned devices. MDM can help with the provisioning, securing, managing, monitoring, and supporting of mobile devices across the enterprise.

All of the mobile device management can be done over-the-air. A traditional example of an MDM is the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES). RIM was the first company to perfect the MDM infrastructure.

Now modern MDM solutions can support more than just Blackberry. Actually, most vendors will support “the big three”: iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

MDM Automation Eases IT Burden

Implementing an MDM solution does not have to mean more work. Automation can be an underfunded IT department's best friend. Small tedious tasks like software updates can be automated with most MDM solutions, removing some of the burden from the over utilized IT department.

This kind of automation can also cut costs. Having fewer people working on mobility can lower IT overhead costs. In fact, some MDMs like Apple’s iPhone Configuration Utility are free and work well for a small scale MDM solution.

Proper MDM Implementation = Increased Security

Security has always been a concern when it comes to mobile devices on the network and the security landscape is changing, almost daily. Implementing an MDM solution will help with these security concerns.

There are a number of solutions that will help with mobile policy enforcement like using a passcode in order to unlock the phone. In the case of a user losing their brand new iPad 3, a MDM solution can wipe the device over the air to help prevent data loss, or prevent an unauthorized user from getting at the data.

Choosing the Right MDM Solution for Your Company

When you look for an MDM solution, the solution you chose should be able to help you secure the data that is important to you. Functionality and security must also be considered. Your MDM solution should be able to work well across multiple platforms like iOS, Android and BlackBerry.

Because most MDM solutions are still somewhat immature, there isn’t one product that will be able to do anything and everything. 

However, as more mobile devices enter the enterprise and mobile devices become targets for attackers, evaluating and choosing a MDM solution is more important than ever for your business. 

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Spencer Parkinson While MDM should be a critical component of any organization's mobility strategy, another complementary technology that makes managing personally-liable devices (i.e. those being brought into the infrastructure via BYOD) is mobile application management (MAM). I’m with Symantec and we just recently acquired Nukona. Nukona’s MAM technology allows for all sorts of controls to be applied directly a company's mobile apps and data, like authentication, encryption, copy control, as well as a “poison pill” in case the device has not “checked in” in a prescribed period of time. This is all done without requiring companies to manage complete devices. Thus, it’s ideal for personally-owned smartphones and tablets connecting to a company’s resources.

Spencer Parkinson
Symantec
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Eamon Walsh MDM must rely on native MBaaS security measure. The latest Kony management suite offers plenty of solace - device location, active directory security monitoring, email encryption, device encryption, data source monitoring, LDAP based selection and access control. These are only first lines of defence, but seeing the number of EMM breaches, a solid framework to start with. - more here: bit.ly/1Bmq11k
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