Mobility management in business: security risks and how to manage them

Posted by media on November 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM

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According to a Citrix study, 63% of companies believe that mobility is one of the most important factors to develop competitive advantages and to differentiate themselves in the market. This data is reflected more and more as companies implement policies that allow employees to work remotely, and that provide them with smartphones, tablets and laptops, all the latest models.

There are many advantages for a company to promote mobility, such as: motivating employees, increasing their productivity, a lower turnover and lower costs, among other benefits. However, companies should not underestimate the risks associated with the proliferation of mobile devices, since this also exposes them to the risks of the Internet: any mobile device is a tool capable of breaching security, not only in company hardware, but also on the cloud.

In this post we want to share some recommendations for companies to have a good criteria when choosing which devices and applications adapt better to their needs and those of their employees, keeping in mind the security risks inherent with these types of decisions.

This post is also available in Spanish.


Mobility in business: how can mobile devices contribute to growth without threatening security?

The following 8 recommendations should be taken into account to ensure a company's security, without undermining its employees' mobility:

1. Encrypted data transmission

Transmitting data between devices must be done in an encrypted way.

2. Limit the number of applications

To reduce the chances of a security breach, the number of applications that a company offers to its employees should be as little as possible.

3. Multiplatform applications

Regardless of the number of applications that a company makes available to its employees, it's advisable that they be multiplatform. This means that you only need to acquire or download one version and use that same version on a smartphone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer.


How can a company control the risks of mobility?

Companies must understand the vulnerabilities associated with mobile devices and to combat them through security policies that mitigate the risks of a cyberattack.

You can calibrate the risk of mobile devices based on 4 categories:

  • Risks of the device itself

    Ex: messages that cause malfunctions in the mobile device; erroneous detection and authorization of USBs; use of mobile devices as a proxy to establish virtual connections with an internal network; accidental deletion of files that cannot be recovered, etc.
  • Malware risks

    Ex: trojans, virus, worms and other specific malware.

  • Risk of accessing sensible data

    This risk is the one that entails filtering a company's sensitive data through mobile devices and can occur, for example, because of an intrusion through insecure wireless networks that make it possible to steal a company's confidential information.
  • Network security risk

    Ex: communications between mobile devices can easily be supplanted, diverted, intercepted; firewalls and VPN security systems may not be sufficient for wireless communications in mobile devices, encrypting communications could fail, etc.

Source: Info Spyware



4. The capacity of devices

To avoid that devices become outdated in the short-term, ideally they should have a capacity somewhat higher than that required by the mix of applications that you have decided to use. In this way, you avoid that the constant technological changes make a device obsolete in less than a year.

5. Analyze consumption to monitor the ROI

Real-time monitoring and recurring analysis of your staff´s bandwidth consumption, to assure that the ROI of your mobile strategy is appropriate and that the company is not obsessed with mobility to the point of being disadvantageous.

6. Educate employees on security

Make employees aware of the need for strong passwords and to update them frequently.


What benefits do employees receive if their company encourages mobility and developes appropiate policies?

 Higher Productivity.png Higher flexibility.png   Quality time with clients.png

54%
Greater productivity

52%
Greater flexibility

46%
More time with clients

 Quality time with clients.png Better job satisfaction.png  Less transportation time.png 

43%
Better work/life balance

43%
Better job satisfaction

41%
Less transportation time

Source: Mobility in Business Report by Citrix


7. Anti-theft technologies

The devices should have technologies that, in case of theft or loss, allow for a quick remote isolation or blocking.

8. Establish BYOD and BYOA policies

Since the occasional personal use of corporate devices is difficult to limit, its advisable to establish BYOD (bring your own device) and BYOA (bring your own app) policies aimed at establishing protocols in case of a security breach that could compromise the company’s reputation.

Keeping in mind all of these considerations, combined with training programs for employees explaining how to use their devices, and along with sharing the best practices to safely browse the Internet, should lead to safe mobility, adapted to a company's needs, and that contributes to its growth without compromising its cybersecurity.

This post is also available in Spanish.

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