Like many other companies, Finjan is rolling out a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution in order to manage enterprise resources on corporate dedicated devices and employee-owned devices.
Here’s a closer look at MDM and how we are meeting this business challenge.
Mobile Device Management
The consumerization of IT has disrupted the business world in a big way. The desktop-dependent lifestyles of employees all around the globe has, in many places, been usurped by flexible working arrangements, as enabled by the power, convenience and ubiquitous connectivity of the modern smartphone, tablet and/or laptop.
The revolution of the remote worker – in the UK alone, a recent study by YouGov Omnibus revealed that 54% of office employees are now working remotely either full or part time – has proved to be beneficial for businesses, not least in terms of productivity. Indeed, scholars at Stanford University in the US ran an experiment – the 2014 Ctrip Study – the findings of which revealing that people who work full-time from home are 13% more efficient. As the Money & Career CheatSheet reports:
“Professor Nicholas Bloom, one of the study’s authors, claims the work-from-home experiment, which lasted nine months, saved the company $1,900 per employee. This factors in savings on office space, higher performance, and fewer people quitting.”
Further money is also saved when companies engender a BYOD (bring your own device) policy – rather than issuing company-owned equipment to every worker on the payroll, in many instances firms simply encourage the use of personal devices to access company IT.
However, a natural consequence of such policies is that along with greater cost efficiencies there comes greater risk.
Managing Corporate Data On Employees’ Devices
For companies either issuing devices so that employees can work remotely, or allowing those same employees to use their own, the challenge concerns how the firm’s IT department will go about protecting corporate data, ensuring access control, and certifying that users follow compliance policies. Indeed, in the BYOD scenario a further problem arises in the issue of imposing data protection controls without infringing upon the employee’s privacy.
The answer comes in choosing the right MDM solution.
The best MDM solutions work by creating a “secure container” on an employee’s device. This hosts and encrypts corporate data independently from personal data. IT administrators can then use the MDM platform to deploy corporate emails or apps to employees’ personal devices and establish specific user access policies for each.
The idea is that, should an employee’s device become lost or stolen, the company can rest assured that all corporate data resides in its own secured space, and the employee can be equally relaxed in the knowledge that any security action taken by the company – such as the erasure of files – will only affect corporate data.
A Good MDM will provide:
- A VPN (virtual private network).
- Various and centrally manageable access privileges to corporate data.
- Deployed anti-virus and anti-spyware software on all devices.
- Remote security patches and updates.
- Content filtering as per compliance.
- Geo-location authentication.
- Policy creation, including the identification of risks and costs, the ensuring of user cooperation, the establishing of user guidelines (strong passwords, encryption, etc), and ensuring that the policy itself is in compliance with data protection laws.
- A ‘Locate and Wipe’ facility in the event of a device being lost or stolen.
- The ability to centrally monitor all corporate data that is stored and used on the device.
As Finjan moves towards a work environment where employees can work from home and where personal and corporate data all reside on the same device, our challenge is to both manage and allow employees to keep their personal data private while making sure we can manage the firms’ corporate resources.
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