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Mobile application management required for mobile device security

After wrangling the wide range of devices employees bring into work, it's smooth sailing, right?


Mobile application management required for mobile device security

mobile device management, mobile application management, productivity

After wrangling the wide range of devices employees bring into work, it's smooth sailing, right? Well, there are still a few more things to think about when it comes to managing mobile devices in the enterprise, such as the applications installed on those devices. Mobile device management (MDM) allows organizations to enforce effective security policies, such as strong passwords, but that may not stop a malicious application from spying on sensitive data.

Mobile application management: An ongoing process
Mobile application management (MAM) complements MDM by protecting data and controlling access. However, organizations should be aware that effective MAM is an ongoing process.

Businesses can start with a basic framework to create guidelines for the ongoing process. For example, organizations should decide whether they will only allow in-house apps or programs from public app stores.

If the organization decides to allow public apps, it's important for businesses to be aware of potential threats. MAM solutions allow organizations to remotely block access to specific apps, or control access to applications developed in-house. According to a recent Cult of Mac article, MAM has become critical to securing and supporting mobile devices in the enterprise world.

"[MAM] can mean setting up an enterprise app store, pre-loading apps onto a device during or after enrollment with a mobile management suite, revoking or removing apps remotely, blocking users from installing or launching apps that are deemed dangerous or inappropriate, and setting up encrypted on-device containers," the article stated.

The article stressed the importance of collecting feedback and adapting MAM policies. For example, if the organization doesn't allow public apps, it can still allow employees to benefit from application productivity tools by developing apps that serve similar functions. If public apps are allowed, IT needs a means to monitor which apps employees are using in order to identify potential threats. Does the app collect information from the device, such as calendar data? If so, does that present a threat to the organization?

Productivity vs. mobile device security threats
A recent ZDNet blog post highlighted comments from Neil Dave, Consulting Analyst for Aerospace and Defense at Frost & Sullivan, who said military mobile apps have the ability to increase situational awareness on the battlefield - an improvement that could save lives.

Dave discussed the use of mobile applications that supply blueprints and maps of surrounding areas. By getting a bigger picture of the area they're fighting in, soldiers increase their situational awareness and ability to respond in stressful situations.

"With the increasing ease of being able to do just a few modifications on existing consumer mobile apps, it has become a feasible and highly attractive option to deploy mobile apps for military use," Dave told ZDNet.

The catch is security. Imagine the risk if an attacker gained access to a mobile device with blueprint and map information in it. Or the risk of a soldier downloading malware that spied on user activity. It would give hackers an open view of operations. According to the ZDNet post, it's important for organizations to use multiple layers of security. The device should be secure, but highly sensitive data should have additional protection. Using MAM technology, organizations can ensure their most important information is encrypted and placed in protected folders. This helps prevent sensitive information from being compromised, even if an attacker gains access to the rest of the device.

It's important for organizations to remember MAM doesn't eliminate the need for MDM. The two technologies complement each other by providing layers of security. Entire devices can be secured using MDM, while different levels of security can be added to specific data and applications with robust MAM solutions.

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