Telecommuting is slowly turning into a motivating factor for employees to stick with their company. While the employee benefits from flexible work hours, improved productivity and better work-life balance, the employer benefits from easy and anytime reach to his employees. These benefits of this win-win situation make the distance between co-workers less significant, and work as an effective retention strategy for the employer (as this CNBC report explains).
Needless to say, laptops, iPhones, Androids and tablets (iPads in particular) are the biggest enablers for the change in this working trend. Today's mobile workforce is made up of individuals who own multiple devices. They use each one differently in their daily processes such as communicating, scheduling, and storing data. In response, mobile IT administrators are looking for ways to control the types of devices accessing corporate information, impose penalty actions for human errors (lost, stolen, damaged devices), and prevent lingering mobile malware threats from penetrating their network.
Securing a given body of mobile workers can be a challenging task, and the challenges multiply when workers demand ubiquitous access to information on any device. Rather than imposing restrictions on devices or type of information accessed, IT administrators can implement the following steps to manage and secure their mobile workforce:
- Enforce strong password policies on all devices. You may use a mobile device management (MDM) solution to impose password policies and quarantine actions when the maximum number of password attempts has been exceeded.
- Maintain visibility and control across all your devices and their applications
- Ensure the healthy state of all your devices to avoid any malware infestations. Educate users (via email, alerts, notifications) about the upcoming patches for different mobile operating systems and any mobile malwae making the rounds. Encourage your users to install multiple anti-virus products to keep their devices away from any spam or Trojans.
- Ensure that no consumer apps or malicious apps are accessing any corporate data. Use a mobile application management (MAM) solution to keep an eye on apps and their behavior. With a MAM solution, you can set rules for accessing corporate data only on a secured tunnel.
- Keep an eye on any lost, stolen, or damaged devices. Using an MDM solution, you can set flags or notifications for any lost or stolen devices. If required, you may also define auto-quarantine actions.
- Identify rogue devices and restrict them to avoid any interference with corporate security.
- Ensure 24/7 support for your mobile workers. They should have help available to avoid any business downtime.
- Consider creating a sandbox for testing new technologies in different environments. These can remain until they are deemed ready for the mobile workers.