The Role of Mobile Device Management in Compliance

  • May 25, 2022

The uptick in BYODs for employees accessing corporate data has created substantial uncertainty for organizations. Businesses are eager to facilitate BYODs but remain cautious from a regulatory compliance perspective. One way to ensure regulations are met is to deploy MDM software that can protect organizational data and ensure it is used in the right way.

Maintaining Compliance with MDM
Maintaining Compliance with MDM

What is IT compliance?

IT compliance aims to meet the privacy and security requirements of governments, markets, and customers from a business perspective. IT compliance helps businesses avoid penalties and fines, build a positive reputation and improve data management in an organization.

Some of the typical IT security compliance standards include:

  • GDPR (General Data Regulation Protection) aims to protect the privacy of customer information in the European Union.
  • CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) provides privacy rights to California residents.
  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) regulates how medical organizations regulate patients’ information.
  • SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) regulates the transparency and disclosure of financial data.
  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) protects customer’s credit card information
  • ISO 2700 family is a set of standards for managing information safety.

With the rise of data protection mandates, organizations have the legal responsibility of ensuring all data is safe and secure.

IT compliance and security

IT compliance sometimes overlaps with security as both reduce a range of risks. But IT compliance centers around the requirements of third parties, such as:

  • Industry regulations 
  • Government policies 
  • Security frameworks 
  • Client contractual terms 

Failure in IT compliance can cause unwelcome consequences, including fines and penalties. Moreover, non-compliant mobile devices present data security problems for organizations. Without appropriate security protocols, organizations risk losing sensitive company information from employees’ phones and tablets.

The mobile device policy 

The purpose of a mobile device policy is to ensure all company information stored and shared using mobile devices is secured. To manage the risk introduced by the use of mobile devices, businesses should adopt sensible policies that are supported by safety measures. As per ISO 27001 standard, a mobile policy should include:

  • Registration of mobile devices
  • Requirements for physical protection 
  • Restriction of software installation 
  • Requirements for mobile software versions and applying patches
  • Restriction of connection to information services
  • Access controls; Cryptographic techniques
  • Malware protection
  • Remote disabling 
  • Erasure or lockout 
  • Backups
  • Usage of web services and web apps

 Businesses can achieve nearly all these points by implementing two key initiatives:

  1. Regular employee awareness training program
  2. Robust mobile device management tool 

A robust mobile device management solution gives IT security teams complete control over device usage and reduces any risk of data theft.

How does MDM help in compliance?

Fortunately, mobile device management addressed data and financial risks. IT teams that have established their appropriate set of policies to meet the regulatory and business needs can easily deploy them through MDM.

MDM enables small businesses and corporations to enforce policies and secure BYOD or COPE mobile devices. Here are some best practices that IT teams can implement remotely with device management.

  • Enable a strong password policy

Bad actors with the right set of tools can easily work out simple passwords. MDM allows IT admins to configure password rules to be maintained by end-users. The length and complexity of passwords enhance mobile device security.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), password length is more important than password complexity. They take longer to crack and are easier to remember than a difficult string of characters.

Therefore, a strong password acts as the first line of defence against unauthorized access and mobile device theft. Scalefusion allows IT personnel to enforce password regulations remotely, ensuring that users are compelled to use a stronger password.

  • Software applications and updates

Software updates have plenty of benefits. For instance, updates might include security loopholes that are discovered and fixing bugs. Likewise, updates can add new features to applications and remove outdated ones. 

Cybercriminals can take advantage of software vulnerabilities by writing code to target weak spots. The code is packaged into malware aimed at stealing data from mobile devices or allowing bad actors to gain control over the device and encrypt files.

Fortunately, MDM allows organizations to enable policies for apps. Policies for critical apps can be set so that all applications on BYOD are updated to the latest versions.

  • Data security

Security of corporate data and mobile devices is achieved by placing data-sharing restrictions and configuration policies that align with the set business standards. MDM systems can restrict users from sharing data from work apps to personal apps.

In case a device is lost, stolen, or compromised, remotely wiping a device is the best way to protect sensitive data. This is particularly important as remote devices are more likely to be lost or stolen. 

However, organizations must ensure that the MDM solution is compliant with the rules and regulations when applying remote control for wiping data.

 Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

MDM best practices for regulatory compliance

  • Apply the latest MDM technology

MDM on its own is not a requirement to become compliant with IT security compliance standards. However, it is an essential tool for IT teams to ensure their mobile devices are compliant. Accordingly, keep the MDM system up to date with the changes in the mobile access environment.

For example, if new security features are introduced to iOS and Android devices, check if the device management is equipped to adopt the company’s new policy.

  • Maintain device audits

Businesses can reduce the risks of regulatory compliance violations by frequently analyzing mobile device analytics to ensure efficiency and consistency in device management. Auditing mobile devices regularly help to identify the risks associated with the devices. 

It will encourage them to ask the right questions. For instance, mobile devices have the capability to store large amounts of data and pose a greater risk of data leakage. To ensure information assets are not exposed, ask:

  • Does a security policy exist for mobile devices?
  • Does it include rules for appropriate physical handling?
  • Can the existing MDM system enforce such policies remotely and at scale?

The audit process will give IT teams enough information to identify and select the best approach to protect mobile devices.

  • Choose an MDM solution that fits your needs

Various MDM solutions are available in the market today to help address organizations’ security and management needs. Some device management solutions focus on inventory management, while others show capability in remote enrollment and configuration.

Understand the business priorities and IT needs and check if the MDM platform can deliver on expectations. Consider deploying a central mobile device management solution that encompasses all critical offerings – security, remote troubleshooting, and the threat of multiple OS support.

Wrapping Up

MDM’s role in compliance is often overlooked. Organizations realize its importance when the consequences of non-compliance become a reality and the cost goes beyond hefty fines. It results in security breaches, license revocations, and damage to the company’s reputation. Given the current rise in the mobile workforce, MDM is essential for enabling this mobility goal while also adhering to regulatory compliance needs.

An up-to-date device compliance policy, employee awareness and training program, joined with a robust mobile device management solution, are key for businesses to achieve mobile device compliance.

Thousands of businesses rely upon Scalefusion for managing their mobile device, desktops, laptops and other endpoints

Rajnil is a Senior Content Writer at Scalefusion. He’s been a B2B marketer for over 8 years and applies the power of content marketing to simplify complex technology and business ideas.
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