Securing Mobile Devices in the Enterprise

By Sean McAvan | 20 July 2015

Mobile technologies have forever changed how we work and do business. From the introduction of laptops to the growth of smart phones and tablets in the corporate space, mobile devices are helping increase the productivity and flexibility of employees, and businesses are continuously looking for ways to leverage the benefits that this technology can provide.  

Despite a desire to support an increasingly mobile workforce, this can be challenging for some businesses. In a recent NaviSite survey, 94 per cent of UK respondents noted that enabling mobility is a concern. This has driven many companies to seek out and deploy cloud-based solutions such Desktop-as a-Service (DaaS) or Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) to help manage their growing mobile workforce. Enabling higher employee productivity is not the only business concern when evaluating and deploying mobility solutions. In NaviSite’s survey, 43 per cent of UK businesses replied that securely managing data available to remote and / or temporary workers is the main consideration in evaluating mobility solutions. Mobility trends such as BYOD policies do not always make this an easy task.

The end user drive for BYOD policies often arises from staff wishing to use their personal devices for business purposes. This can result in lower expenditure as companies no longer have to purchase devices for employees and increased productivity as employees are often more effective and productive when using their own devices, making BYOD policies appealing for organisations. However, IT departments are challenged with securing sensitive business data on these devices. DaaS and EMM are two ways in which enterprises can securely enable mobility for their workforce.

Enterprise Mobility Management

Although the use of personal devices has the potential to cut costs, it can also make it difficult for IT departments to securely manage access to corporate data. EMM software can help. It is primarily a configuration management tool for mobile, handheld or BYOD devices. It helps businesses manage the transition to a more complex mobile computing environment by supporting security, network services, and software and hardware management across multiple OS platforms.

The benefits of an EMM solution extend to both end-users and to the organisation. EMM solutions typically encompass device management, data management and application management for the devices-on-the-move, supporting higher productivity for the user at the same time as addressing organisational concerns around security. 

By centralising security, permissions, and compliance of a diverse set of end-user mobile devices, IT staff can uphold a higher degree of control over the mobile workforce and critical data assets. Equally, end-users benefit from secure, reliable communications and functionality while maintaining independence between business assets and personal data or media.

Desktop-as-a-Service Security

As an alternative to keeping company data on mobile devices, some businesses are migrating to a cloud-based model of Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). DaaS, is not only being adopted by businesses seeking to gain control over their desktop environments and make them more cost-efficient, but also those seeking to increase employee mobility and implement BYOD policies.

By pairing BYOD programmes with DaaS solutions, organisations can gain greater visibility and control over the desktop environment as all the data is stored in the cloud. This means that if an employee loses their device, the organisation’s data remains uncompromised as it never lived on the device. It also means that employees can access a Windows desktop from  any device that can run a browser.

Equipping temporary, contract or task specific workers with the necessary data and software tools for them to carry out their jobs without compromising wider corporate data and compliance standards can be a strenuous task. DaaS, however, allows organisations to effectively and efficiently deploy and control specific access across a set of end-user devices, ensuring that security and compliance requirements are met, whilst giving workers the tools needed to carry out their specific tasks from any location.

As the requirement for flexible and mobile working grows, employee expectations of having the right tools in place to support this method of working also increases. Cloud-based solutions such as DaaS and EMM not only allow organisations to meet employee expectations, but also the organisations’ need to ensure the integrity and security of their data.

By Sean McAvan, Managing Director, NaviSite Europe

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