Secure Browsing on Corporate-owned mobile devices: Need of the hour

  • November 8, 2019
Secure Browsing on Corporate-Owned Device

In the exponential age of high-speed internet and connected devices, browsing the web is no longer limited to leisure. Internet browsing is extensively used for work, aiding the workforce in accomplishing critical business tasks. From finding coding solutions to marketing trends, internet browsing is one of the key knowledge resources in a highly competitive business world. Earlier, devices used for business had restricted access to the internet. It was relevant when the world of the internet was not coherent with learning and development. With the arrival of web apps & an unbound knowledge repository that helps in driving important business tasks, it is imperative that web browsing is made available on the corporate-owned devices used by the employees. 

Mobile devices replacing conventional desktops 

The use of Android or iOS-based mobile devices has taken the 21st-century workplace by storm. The gen-Z workforce no longer wants to be restricted to a traditional desk and computer setup. Agile working methodologies have resulted in disappearing workplace boundaries. Smart desks, smart working, telecommuting, and remote working have become prevalent. iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and tablets are preferred by employees working in different capacities, to fulfill humdrum tasks as well as critical business operations. 

Browsing on Corporate-owned devices: To allow or not to allow..

Essentially, a connected device such as a mobile phone opens up the wide world of the web which the employees can access at their will. Restricting browsing access completely is not a feasible solution, since several business-related activities depend heavily on the internet. For the corporate-owned devices deployed as kiosk browsers, there is no option but to allow browsing feature, since it is the most crucial mission of the device.

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For example, a social media or a market research executive needs access to all websites, since it falls under her primary job responsibility. A developer needs access to websites and online repositories to find appropriate solutions and help. A creative writer or a designer needs to explore websites for inspiration. For corporate-owned Android and iOS devices deployed as kiosk browsers of single-purpose devices used for browsing, blacking out the browsing capability is out of the question. It is important for the companies and organizations iron-gripping the device usage and browsing, to extend a controlled browsing environment on the corporate-owned devices to achieve the desired results from the mobility.

Companies may choose to install browsers such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer and Apple Safari on corporate-owned Android and iOS devices for accomplishing the business tasks. Some companies also prefer to install private browser applications or keep a healthy mix of both, for distinct tasks.

Securing Browsing: The criticality 

As companies transition towards mobile devices for work, they provide mobility with the help of a mobile device management solution. The prime underlying requirement of the MDM solution is to extend data and device security. The corporate-owned devices hold a sizeable amount of business data that is vulnerable to misuse and unauthorized access. Companies, hence create stringent usage policies to maintain data security. And this works mostly fine when the device is equipped with only a few, trusted business applications.

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The real threat to the data as well as the device arises when the corporate-owned devices are provisioned with browsers for the above-mentioned reasons. But if the web browser is not optimized for security, it can be attacked in multiple ways, impacting data on corporate-owned devices. Malicious websites & links accessed on the browser can breach the device OS, install malware on the device, intercept the communication network and read/write data from the device as well as the browsing session, impacting the overall device sanity, completely defying the business purpose of the device. 

Vulnerable browsers and unversed users can cause a security breach that not only compromises the browser by hacking plugins and other browser components but can also hamper the device operations, collect data from the device, or the user data entered on the browser exposing it for misuse. Untrusted websites, disguised links redirecting to unexpected websites, users accidentally clicking on malicious ads and popups can result in the browser security breaches. 

Scalefusion MDM for secure browsing on corporate-owned mobile devices

It’s pivotal for organizations to enable secure browsing on corporate-owned devices enabled for web browsing. Scalefusion mobile device management facilitates a controlled browsing environment on corporate-owned iOS and Android devices, to extend end-to-end data and device security on managed devices.

Let’s see how..

Whitelisting Websites

The most critical security threat arising from browsing is raised by access to untrusted or malicious websites. To prevent users and employees from accessing unknown websites, Scalefusion offers Websites whitelisting. The company IT admins can allow only specific, business-related, or trusted websites on the managed Android and iOS devices. Access to all the other websites can be thus blocked. To further prevent users from navigating to unauthorized links or accidental clicks on popups and ads, IT admins can configure the settings for each whitelisted website. These settings include:

  • Disabling JavaScript API access, to prevent third-party websites from accessing exposed APIs
  • Disabling Pop-Up windows, to prevent Pop-Ups from leading the users to malicious sites  
  • Disabling form auto-fill & third-party cookies, to maintain user privacy on each session on shared browsers.

Configuring Google Chrome for Android devices

Google Chrome enjoys a fair share of popularity as a browser. If the corporate-owned Android devices are equipped with a Chrome browser owing to its familiarity and user-friendly interface, Scalefusion provisions configuring it to maintain security. For Google Chrome, Scalefusion allows the IT admins to blacklist or block certain websites along with whitelisting the business websites. IT admins can thus block the identified malicious and dangerous websites, making it a secure browser for Android devices. IT admins can:

  • Block Pop-Ups and JavaScripts
  • Enforce incognito mode
  • Force Google Safe Search & Safe Browsing
  • Enable leak detection for entered credentials
  • Disable browsing history, password manager, form auto-fill 
  • Configure proxy settings
  • Block WebUSB for certain websites
  • Disable proceeding from the Safe Browsing warning page

Configuring Safari Browser for iOS devices

To secure browsing on supervised iOS devices managed using Scalefusion, IT admins can also configure Safari, the most preferred browser for iOS devices. IT admins can disable Pop-Ups, JavaScripts and form autofill to extend a controlled and secure browsing on company-owned iOS devices. 

Bespoke Browsers by Scalefusion

Scalefusion provides custom-made browsers to enable secure browsing on Android and iOS devices. Scalefusion browser for Android is a custom-made browser that helps the company IT teams to control the browsing environment on corporate-owned Android devices. Scalefusion also offers ProSurf, a secure browser for iOS devices, providing a controlled browsing environment. ProSurf is a secure bro

The configuration capabilities to extend secure browsing on corporate-owned devices using the Scalefusion Browser & ProSurf include:

  • disabling multiple tabs
  • preventing users from typing in the address bar
  • Enforcing incognito mode
  • Disabling navigation buttons
  • Disabling non-network URLs
  • Disabling form autofill

Read more: Scalefusion ProSurf Browser: Have a Controlled Browsing Experience on iOS Devices

Along with providing extensive capabilities to secure browsing on corporate-owned devices, IT admins can also ensure that the browsing apps are updated regularly to leverage the in-built security features and bug fixes of these apps. 

Along with robust security settings, employees can also ensure certain security measures while browsing on corporate-owned devices. What employees can do to ensure browser security on corporate-owned devices.

  • Think carefully before clicking on any links in email or social media
  • Expand shortened URLs before opening them  
  • Choose extensions carefully or get it verified from your IT admins

Secure browsing on corporate-owned devices is without a doubt, an exigency to maintain the device and data security as well as user privacy. Do it and much more, with Scalefusion MDM. 

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

Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.
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