Managing Mobile Devices While Working From Home

As business technologies continue to become more intuitive, convenient and accessible, companies are starting to question whether in-office work environments are still necessary. The rising popularity of cloud-based services has allowed many organizations to shift their workforces to a remote capacity without sacrificing productivity. In fact, a recent survey by SpiceWorks found that cloud adoption is largely being driven by the need to provide access to key business data from anywhere (and on any authorized device). This operational need – coupled with the growing use of personal mobile devices for work-related tasks – represents a valuable opportunity for businesses to cut IT costs and offer employees more flexibility when working from home. 

That said, managing a fleet of mobile devices does require careful planning, clearly documented policies and reliable IT infrastructure to maintain visibility and control over users’ access privileges. This is because many of the risks posed by mobile devices are user-centric – IT administrators often struggle to educate employees about the importance of using complex login credentials, keeping business apps up-to-date and upholding cybersecurity best practices. Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced roughly 88% of organizations to implement some type of work-from-home provisions, according to research from Gartner, it’s never been more important for business leaders to get a handle on their workforce’s mobile device usage. 

The Impact of BYOD Culture

Setting aside the current health crisis, companies have been relaxing their stance on personal device usage in the workplace for over a decade. This policy trend, aptly named bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture, encourages employees to utilize their personal devices (laptops, smartphones, etc.) to complete key tasks and access data remotely, according to TechRadar. Such a policy offers users greater flexibility when working from home or traveling for business, while also helping reduce organizations’ hardware and software expenses. In terms of efficiency, research from Samsung found that using portable devices can save a single employee an average of 58 minutes per day and increase their overall productivity by as much as 34%. Of course, allowing mobile devices to access corporate networks and systems comes with more than a few inherent risks.

Whether company- or employee-owned, every new device connected to an enterprise network represents a possible attack vector for would-be hackers. What makes personal devices particularly threatening is that, without data management tools and security software, IT professionals can’t ensure proper cybersecurity protocols are in place. Considering mobile malware is on the rise, according to Kaspersky Labs, organizations must take a more active approach to managing personal phone usage – researchers at the University of Cambridge found that 87% of all Android smartphones have at least one “critical vulnerability” that cyber criminals can exploit. But how can organizations proactively manage mobile devices when most of their workforce is remote?

Maximizing Visibility With Mobile Device Management Tools

As mentioned above, the main difficulty of managing mobile devices is that IT administrators often lack the visibility and control needed to protect against both known and emergent threats. Without direct oversight, companies can struggle to identify new devices connected to their networks and make adjustments to users’ access privileges in real-time. Even if a possible threat is identified in advance, there’s no guarantee security teams will be able to resolve it before a major breach occurs. 

How widespread is this endpoint visibility gap? According to a 2019 survey conducted by the cybersecurity firm Axonius, IT professionals believe they are completely blind to 40% of end-user devices on their networks. What’s more, companies with IT visibility issues experience 2.3 times more security incidents on average compared to those that do not. As such, it’s essential for organizations to integrate a mobile device management (MDM) or unified endpoint management (UEM) platform into their security framework. 

How Faronics’ Can Help You Remotely Manage Mobile Devices

Faronics’ Deep Freeze MDM is an industry-leading cloud platform that gives businesses the power to easily enroll, manage and secure mobile devices on demand, whether they’re used in-office or remotely. After deploying this MDM solution, IT administrators can exercise greater control over Apple, Android and Chromebook environments through a straightforward interface. The platform can be deployed in as few as 30 minutes and offers organizations a simple means of adding new devices, managing user access privileges, deploying new business applications and more. 

For larger companies, Deep Freeze MDM enables IT admins to adjust network settings and restrict usage based on user profiles, meaning batch operations can be performed more efficiently. This functionality can  help organizations set granular permissions or make sweeping changes to both company-distributed and personal devices. Beyond making it easier to manage mobile devices in work-from-home scenarios, Deep Freeze MDM can also provide increased visibility of personally-owned endpoints connected to corporate networks. This, in turn, can enhance an organization’s mobile device security framework through the proactive definition of user policies and control over business app permissions. If an employee’s device is ever stolen, IT admins can also use the platform to wipe sensitive information from a remote location to mitigate potential data breaches. 

To learn more, explore our mobile management solutions page or sign up for a free trial today.

About The Author

Suzannah Hastings

Suzannah is interested in all things digital, from software security to the latest technological advances. She writes about ways in which the increasingly internet-driven landscape and windows technologies like steady state alternative that change our lives, and what we can expect in the future.

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