Cell phones, laptops and tablets are ever-present in today’s workforce, and staying connected to the office while away has become simpler than ever. While this may improve productivity, it may also complicate matters greatly for IT departments. Whether company or employee-owned, cell phones, laptops and tablets that hold secure data while connected to company servers can pose security risks should these items ever become lost or stolen. Fortunately, protecting lost or stolen data remotely is made easier through the use of Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions.
In its most basic sense, MDM software is used by IT departments to monitor, manage, and secure mobile devices across a variety of platforms. This software can be applied to many different operating systems, making it easier for IT departments to cope with pain points associated with BYOD, or “bring your own device” policies, which are common in both the enterprise and the small-midsize business (SMB) space.
Through MDM, company files and software can be updated consistently across multiple devices, connecting workers with only the most current, up-to-date information and data. IT departments are also able to scan devices and incoming e-mails for virus content, as well as repair and restore devices remotely. Mobile workers are kept safe and constantly connected when IT departments can repair, update, and scan remotely. Their time isn’t wasted, and they do not need to leave the job site to have it done, providing for a safer and more consistent work environment for all.
MDM solutions can have significant security benefits in the enterprise as well. Many mobile devices are equipped with “kill pill” software, meaning that the device can be wiped remotely in the event it is lost or stolen. This reduces the threat of sensitive company information falling into unauthorized hands.
MDM also allows geo targeting, and remote access to a mobile camera in order to ensure safety while on the road. Transportation businesses, public safety officials, or companies that rely on field workers, for example, can track the progress of their employees while on the road, and communicate delays or accidents while en route. Remote camera access allows HQ to view live feeds to ensure proper safety procedures, and record emergent incidents in the mobile workforce for insurance or liability purposes.
Where the enterprise is concerned, mobile security risks posed by BYOD are top of mind. According to a survey by Information Week of 1,084 business technology and security professionals, 70 percent said mobile devices pose a level of threat to their companies’ security, while only 33 percent said they were currently using MDM to enforce a unified security policy. According to separate survey by Boston Research Group, 78 percent of IT security professionals polled believe that network access control is essential to protect enterprises from mobile device risks, while 68 percent were concerned about mobile security risks associated with mobile devices accessing corporate networks.
Conversely, a Spiceworks study of 991 SMB IT professionals revealed that while over 61 percent of SMBs have implemented a BYOD policy or initiative for employee-owned mobile devices, a mere 17 percent are actively managing mobile devices using a MDM solution. Further, only 20 percent have plans to address this issue while56 percent currently have no plans to implement an MDM strategy.
Whether a company should or shouldn’t institute an MDM solution is still up for debate. What’s clear is that a comprehensive MDM solution can allow mobile devices to be deployed with confidence, and subsequently allow IT and security professionals to rest assured that their data and privacy are secured.
At Panasonic, we engineer our Toughbook and Toughpad mobile devices with the most up-to-date security software to keep our customers’ data safe, and we partner with industry-leading software companies in order to provide our customers with the best MDM solutions available. For more information, please visit us at Panasonic Solutions For Business.