MDM policies can help prevent mobile device data breaches and security threats. In this blog, you’ll understand how to effectively manage mobile devices in the enterprise environment.
What is a MDM Policy?
With the help of an MDM policy, a company’s IT admins can establish rules on how mobile devices can be secured and used within the organization. A company’s MDM policy applies to several sets of devices, especially the following:
- All laptops
- Notebook computers
- All desktops
- All smartphones (iPhone and Android)
The three main categories of mobile device strategy in a company include the following:
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
- Company Owned/Business Only (COBO)
- Company Owned/Personally Enabled (COPE)
MDM policies typically apply to all employees of an organization who can access company data on any mobile device, which includes:
- Full-time staff
- Any other person with access to data records
Need of an MDM Policy for Mobile Device Security
An MDM solution allows IT administrators to secure, control, and enforce policies on smartphones, tablets, and other endpoints.
A mobile device policy is vital to prevent any kind of data breaches or mobile device security threats. For both personally or company-owned devices, an MDM security policy framework helps employees understand all kinds of mobile security risks and steps they can perform to mitigate them.
How to Create & Implement a MDM Policy
Here are the best 7 policies you must implement in your MDM infrastructure:
1. Establish which devices fall under the MDM policy
When a company has decided to incorporate mobile devices into its infrastructure, it is not advisable to simply allow any mobile device to access critical corporate data. The market is flooded with mobile devices, and not all are specifically designed to handle critical business data.
Businesses can readily allow smartphones, tablets, and computers to access business data because they can be secured, updated, and approved by the company for work purposes. However, most endpoints, as mentioned below, are not secure enough to carry business data, and they strictly should not be used for business tasks:
- Gaming devices
- Media devices like MP3 players, etc.
Enterprises can choose to accept only certain brands and/or types of mobile devices to carry out business tasks. It is important to figure out which device a company wants to use before enacting all its mobility solutions.
2. Security practices
No company should ever ignore protocols related to mobile security. IT admins should be extra careful especially when they are adopting mobility solutions into the company’s infrastructure.
When you secure mobile devices in the company, you are keeping security threats away from entering a mobile device from any external sources, such as:
- Unsecured networks
- Shady applications
- Shadow IT usage
Device security is implemented to prevent such threats from accessing a business network through an infiltrated device. Apart from endpoint security solutions, businesses should make it mandatory to install a native security application on all corporate-owned devices to use the device for securely sharing data among employees.
3. Define device approval process
Getting a mobile device approved is an important process to establish a seamless MDM policy within the organization. Once IT admins know what kind of devices will be accepted in the enterprise, they need to create an outline on how the device will be approved for business purposes. The approval process will confirm if the device runs the correct operating system and is the right model.
4. Enforce updates
It is important to keep each software up to date using patch management. When IT admins do not enforce software updates, they are risking the stable IT environment of the company. Hackers are aware of all the vulnerabilities within a system. With unpatched software, you are giving them a clean chit to infiltrate your network and steal critical corporate data.
5. Restrict rooted devices
Within a corporate setup, a rooted device typically defines an Android smartphone or tablet, which has been carefully unlocked by the IT admins to install unapproved apps or customize settings. For iPhones, the perfect term to describe a rooted device is “jailbreaking”. If treaded without care, a rooted device can pose security threats when IT admins try to upload pirated apps with malware on it. Therefore, it is important to restrict or ban using rooted devices within the company.
6. Only allow approved apps
Doesn’t matter which setup you use – BYOD, COBO, or COPE – make sure you have a list of apps that are specially approved for the company use. By using an MDM you can conveniently configure company-owned equipment to block or blacklist unapproved apps and websites, ensuring compliance and support safety measures. Another important practice you need to make sure of is that all your approved apps are encrypted to meet compliance standards.
7. Assigning responsibilities to employees with the MDM policy
A major part of MDM includes outlining the right set of rules for employees to follow. If a company is handing out a business-critical mobile device to the worker, the employer needs to trust employees with the information on it even when the device is accessed outside the office. It is important to enforce these responsibilities so that each user is operating the device correctly. Some of the basic employee responsibilities include:
- Restrictions on applications
- Website or network access
- Data usage, etc.
Best Practices for an Effective MDM Policy
No matter what set up a company follows, to establish a robust MDM policy, it is instrumental to follow some key practices. Some of the most important ones include:
Recordkeeping is fundamental to have an effective MDM security policy. Your policy should govern detailed, up-to-date records related to the devices and users.
If you want your organization to defend itself against any external cyber threats, start compiling accurate data concerning:
- Relevant accounts, networks, devices, their users, and credentials
- Apps used on work devices and accounts
- Any and all attacks and vulnerabilities
You can also put BYOD devices under surveillance for work purposes. Keep in mind that the extraction, processing, and storage of data from user-owned devices often give rise to privacy concerns; therefore, don’t forget to negotiate and agree upon these terms with the employees.
Read More: BYOD Best Practices: A Complete Check-List
Standard cyber defense procedures
Installing basic cyber defense methods on all devices is essential, and simultaneously you also have to ensure that only individuals with access to sensitive data and assets are authorized to use it.
IT admins need to make sure that:
- All accounts, devices, and networks have strong credentials
- Credentials should be private, strong, and updated often
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be employed
It’s encouraged to install anti-malware software that identifies, reports, and eliminates the following:
- Spyware and ransomware
- Trojans and all other malware
Update all the software and hardware because many updates are specifically designed to fix discovered vulnerabilities.
Train all personnel thoroughly so that they understand how to properly use their device and they can identify, report, and avoid risks.
Understand all your vulnerabilities inside and out to prevent attacks on your organization’s system through mobile technology. The best way to do this is by using penetration (pen) testing.
It is a form of ethical hacking that involves attacking your digital assets so that the IT team can carefully analyze all the elements of the attack, such as follows:
- How and where the hackers get in
- Where they go
- What they leave behind
Whenever you choose to implement an MDM policy in your organization, make sure you outline an extensive plan and involve all the stakeholders who are accountable. This way everyone in the company will be included and you will be able to implement an effective MDM policy to secure each device in the organization.