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FBI’s Embarrassing Investigation Blunder Shows Why Every Business Needs Mobile Device Management

June 8, 2016 | mobile apps security

Does your company take mobile device security seriously? According to International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, Inc. (IAITAM) CEO Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, a quarter to a third of U.S. corporations, cities, counties, state and federal agencies have a “sloppy and dangerous” approach to mobile device management (MDM).

Does your company take mobile device security seriously? According to International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, Inc. (IAITAM) CEO Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, a quarter to a third of U.S. corporations, cities, counties, state and federal agencies have a “sloppy and dangerous” approach to mobile device management (MDM).

While some companies think it is enough to secure servers and desktop computers, ignoring security for mobile devices, including BYOD and company-issued phones and tablets is dangerous for every business. Failing to secure all mobile devices that are used to perform business-related activities at your company with MDM software leaves your business vulnerable to theft, data breaches, loss of data, and other security failures.

What is Mobile Device Management (MDM)?

Mobile device management (MDM) refers to the administration of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers, laptops and desktop computers. The purpose of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of these devices. MDM utilizes applications, data and configuration settings to deploy, secure, monitor, integrate and manage your company’s mobile devices.

If you don’t think that failing to adopt a company-wide MDM solution endangers your business, consider these shocking facts about mobile security:

● In 2014, 5.2 million smartphones were lost or stolen in the U.S.. (Consumer Reports)
● 25% of all mobile devices encounter a threat each month. (Skycure)
● 75% or more mobile apps would fail basic security tests. (Gartner)
● 56% of enterprises admit to it being unlikely that they will detect a sophisticated mobile threat if one occurs. (EY)

Even if your company has best practices in place for mobile security, MDM software is the only way to ensure that these policies are systematically executed and that your company has control over the mobile devices that are used by your employees.

Why Do Companies Need MDM Software?

The vital role that MDM software plays in enterprise security was highlighted recently following a terrorist attack, which occurred in San Bernardino, California in December of 2015. Officials from the FBI want to look for clues in one of the suspect’s iPhone 5C, which had a passlock on it.

However, for some reason officials reset the passcode on the phone, preventing access to the phone’s data and also preventing the phone from backing the data up to iCloud, where law enforcement officials could have obtained access to the phone’s data.

A California judge then ordered Apple to grant access to the phone by developing a special piece of software that would allow the FBI to break the passcode on the phone by hacking it without the danger of deleting the information from the device. However, Apple refused stating that the development of such software would threaten the security of its products.

The unfortunate lesson in this case, is that the whole dispute could have been prevented with MDM software. San Bernardino county was using MobileIron Inc. as its provider for MDM software. However, the county had failed to implement a countywide policy for the installation of the software, according to county spokesman David Wert.

If the suspect’s device had the MDM software installed, it could have been easily unlocked. Instead, what ensued was a public debate over law enforcement’s ability to access private devices and encryption. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company’s compliance with the order would set “a dangerous precedent” and “would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect.”

Key MDM Software Features

To avoid a debacle where your business has lost access to the mobile data of your employees’ devices with no legal way to retrieve the data, it is essential for your business to invest in MDM software that offers many robust features.

You should also realize that all MDM software solutions aren’t the same. Your company’s IT leaders should carefully evaluate the features offered by an MDM solution before making a commitment. Here are the key MDM software features to consider:

Device Encryption

MDM software can be used to prevent access to the sensitive data on devices and SD cards with device encryption that includes support for SD Card encryption.

Policy Enforcement

Policy enforcement limits certain features and allows your company to make granular changes to mobile devices. Your MDM software provider should offer the ability to manage personal policies, device platform specific policies and compliance policies and rules.

VPN Configuration

Pre-defined configuration profiles for VPN configuration enable users to get up and running quickly while maintaining security.

Pre-defined Wi-Fi and Hotspot Settings

Pre-defined connectivity profiles ensure that users do not have access to unsecured or disallowed connectivity options.

Application Catalog

An application catalog enables access to corporate or approved apps. With this feature, companies can distribute and manage apps across devices. Organizations can pre-populate apps with data to make it easier for end users to login, access and create content. The MDM software should also feature the ability to whitelist or blacklist apps as needed according to the mobile policies of your company to protect your data from apps with security vulnerabilities.

Remote Wipeout

Remote wipeout of corporate data or of entire devices ensure that company data isn’t compromised when a device is lost or stolen.

Device Remote Locking

Device Remote Locking protects lost or stolen mobile devices by wiping all data from the device or remotely changing the password for the device so that no one can access it.

Disabling Native Apps on Device

This feature identifies allows for the review of apps that are installed on BYOD devices. Apps that could affect corporate productivity or waste data transmission capacity are then automatically identified and disabled.

Now that having a mobile workforce is the standard for business, it is time for your organization to address the security vulnerabilities that come along with using mobile devices for business. In a world where mobile security is continuously being tested, mobile device management is an essential security measure to protect your company’s sensitive data.

Popular MDM Software Providers

As you review your options for MDM software providers, consider these MDM market leaders:

● VMware’s AirWatch
● MobileIron
● Citrix XenMobile
● IBM MaaS360 (a Fiberlink Communications product)
● Good Secure EMM Suites
● SAP’s Afaria

Defining a mobile device management strategy is one of the critical steps to ensuring the success of Achievion’s enterprise app development process. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive approach to building secure mobile solutions for your business.

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