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24 April 2017

10 questions to ask your IT department about mobility

Mathew Richards

Mobile is a critical or high priority for almost two thirds (64%) of organisations*.

And why wouldn’t it be?

Mobility not only enables increased productivity; it also opens the door to real business transformation. Specifically, the IDG research indicates that the most significant factors behind mobile investment are:

  • Improving internal communication (68%)
  • Customer retention (62%)
  • Increasing the speed of decision-making (60%)

No benefit comes without a price. Mobility introduces a whole new set of risks to your organisation, and specifically your corporate data.

 

What you need to know

While your business motives for enabling mobility initiatives are valid and worth pursuing, you can’t afford to ignore the details of its technical implementation. They could be the difference between revolutionary innovation and regulatory investigation.

1. Do you know why supporting mobility matters?

This is the most important question you can ask your IT department. It will tell you if there is a cohesive company strategy behind their mobility plans and whether it has the right focus on supporting productivity, growth and digital transformation.

2. Do we have a mobile device management (MDM) tool?

An MDM tool allows you to centrally manage and monitor all mobile devices that are connected to your corporate network or which access business applications or files.

MDM tools help to support mobility in a secure and scalable way through a range of features, such as allowing you to remote-wipe if a device is lost or stolen, or the ability to track times and locations of logins from mobile devices, so that you can spot unusual activity that could signal a security threat.

3. How should we host our MDM tool?

You can choose between on-premises, hybrid or cloud deployment with a lot of MDM tools. The benefit of choosing the cloud is that it offers flexibility and scalability. But beware: some tools have different features for cloud or on-premises versions.

4. What does our MDM tool need to integrate with?

It’s much easier if your MDM tool integrates with your email system, file storage apps, software, directory services, and so on. So make a list, and make mobile management simpler.

Watch conditional access and multi-factor authentication webinar

View 'Safeguard your data and applications with conditional access controls and multi-factor authentication' and discover:

  • Why conditional access and MFA technologies are essential
  • What actions you can take right now to mitigate the risk of a breach
Watch on-demand now

5. Are you forgetting anything?

Cloud apps are ubiquitous and it’s likely that employees are using non-approved SaaS services without the IT department’s knowledge. This is known as ‘rogue IT’.

Make sure you monitor its proliferation, have (really) good data security (see question 10) and factor in unexpected integration demands into your mobile strategy.

6. Can we support BYOD?

Supporting a ‘bring your own device’ policy means supporting multiple platforms. Will your line of business applications work across those devices? What about your MDM? Have you thought about containerization, which separates personal from corporate data on a device?

BYOD isn’t a security risk in itself. You just need the right foundations in place to support it securely.

7. Have we thought about identity and access management?

When it comes to preventing data leakage, as Glen Gruman of InfoWorld says: “the right approach is to manage data access at the source, not the endpoint.”

Device management is only one part of the mobility puzzle. At the heart of the wider “access” challenge is, as Microsoft says, “one protected common identity for secure access to all corporate resources.”

8. Have we enabled conditional access?

Conditional access lets you create rules to make sure only the right people have access to sensitive data and that the device they access it on has sufficient security and device management features in place to keep that data safe.

9. Should we allow people to store data on their mobile devices?

There’s a big difference between being able to access data and download data. If sensitive corporate data is stored on a mobile device, it’s left open to theft, accidental loss, or even data leakage via accidental sharing.

Cloud apps make it easier to provide access to data without actually putting that data out in the open.

10. How do we protect corporate data?

Alongside MDM and identity and access management, data protection is the third member of the holy trinity for secure enterprise mobility.

Modern data protection means embedding security in each piece of data, whether that’s through encryption, rights management, tokenisation or sharing restrictions. Doing so means that even if data is out in the open, it doesn’t pose a threat to your business.

 

Mobility made easy

Security is the greatest concern associated with mobile, according to IDG, but it doesn’t have to be. Technology exists to support mobility and business transformation securely. The first step is to get business stakeholders and IT in the same room, get them talking, and start your secure digital transformation journey.

Next, watch our conditional access and MFA webinar on-demand and learn why these technologies are key to enabling a secure, mobile workforce.

Or download ‘The future of enterprise mobility’ e-Guide and discover how to address the balance between security and mobility at a strategic level.

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Author
Mathew Richards
Head of Mobility & Security
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