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Braving BYOD on Black Friday

Black Friday is just around the bend and the mobile landscape is abounding with tablet and smartphone options. How will you play mobility safe heading into this holiday season?

Braving BYOD on Black Friday

by Pragati Chaplot Jain | November 21, 2012

It is Black Friday weekend and the mobile landscape is abounding with tablet and smartphone options. Security has always been the prime concern among mobile owners and IT administrators. So what are your resolutions for staying safe this holiday season? Are you, an IT administrator, hitting the panic button once again this Black Friday?

In this post I have listed some safe and recommended practices for both users and IT administrators, which they may use to have a stress-free holiday season.

Safety-first Solutions for Mobile Workers

Christopher Nerney, a CITE world technology writer, highlights some basic practices for smartphone owners. He suggests:

  1. Looking for options that reduce the risk of losing your phone (like avoiding the malls and shopping online). If you opt for shopping in malls, double check to make sure your device is still in your possession before leaving the mall or food court.
  2. Securing your devices by ensuring your screen lock is active at all times. Look for applications in your device app store that empower you to encrypt your device data.
  3. Deploying remote tracking software that helps you to track and locate your lost device. In case you realize that your device is lost, secure your device data by remote wipe. That said; at all times ensure that you have backup of your important, confidential and sensitive data.

IT Giving Thanks for MDM

While for some people the holiday seasons mean new smartphones, tablets, mobile gadgets or accessories, many IT administrators spend them dealing with lost BYOD devices, data breaches and new BYOD devices on board. Unmanaged BYOD devices can make the corporate mobile ecosystem very complex and fragile.

An increasing BYOD concern is data security in the cloud. Many vendors are teaming both these technologies, mobile computing technology and cloud computing technology, to offer varied services and products.  While the cloud-based services have many benefits to offer, the situation gets little tricky when the data residing the cloud is unsecured and unprotected, and becomes an opportunity for sneaking into an organization’s network and security.

Thus, in the BYOD era, the key challenge for an organization is to maintain its data integrity and secure its networks lest they turn into a gateway for cyber criminals and competitors.

Policies Bolster BYOD Control

While mobile device management (MDM) is a recommended tool for BYOD device management, mobile device policies add value to your MDM solution. They help you define your security needs, identify and close any security loopholes, and indirectly streamline the device management process. They allow you to communicate with your employees what is permitted and what is restricted. Smart mobile device policies help IT prepare in advance and take action proactively in case of any mishap. Some of the recommended mobile device policies are:

  1. Identify what mobile devices you must support.
  2. Enforce screen lock at all times.
  3. Enforce the launch of a secured tunnel while accessing corporate resources.
  4. Define alerts and notifications when a jailbroken or rooted device enters the network, or a BYOD asset is lost.
  5. Identify a list of permissible and restricted software programs and mobile applications.
  6. Restrict the use of the camera and mobile applications that hinder employee productivity.

Every department/user group has different needs and there is no one size that fits all. IT must involve different departments for strategically planning robust and effective mobile device policies. There must be a policy defined for every need.  MaaS360’s policy dashboard provides IT administrators an intuitive and centralized console allowing multiple administrators to access the portal at different levels (based on their roles).

Are still wondering why you must have a mobile device policy? The answer is simple. No policy, no security. Managing mobile device policies is not a waste of time but a must-have strategy for putting your BYOD fears to rest. To learn more about mobile policy management, attend our upcoming free webinar, 10 Policies to Protect Mobility.

So, before going on your holiday:

  1. Advise your BYOD workforce about safe smartphone practices via an email.
  2. Urge your employees to enroll in the BYOD program for the sake of their device data’s safety. They need to understand that if they have the incentive to access corporate resources and perform business from the smartphone or tablet they are comfortable with, they must let IT manage their assets also. In short, it is carrot-and-stick approach.
  3. Ensure that you have the right and enough mobile device policies in place to guard your BYOD ecosystem.

Stay safe. Happy Holidays!

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