In the last few weeks, most organizations have struggled to ensure their employees could work from home – most of them without having a set of remote-work policies in place. As a result, leaders have focused on putting communication basics in place; network access through VPN or other connections, and some video proxy for in-person meetings (i.e. Skype, Zoom, Facetime, etc.).
Organizations with more robust IT teams in place, or businesses whose focus is on delivering IT will go far beyond those basics, but most SMBs don’t have that luxury and could use a road map.
One of the first places to start is Mobile Device Management or MDM. As the name implies, MDM refers to control and protocols for devices, applications, and other software that increases the security and functionality of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, while giving employees the flexibility of using their own devices.
Why is MDM important? First and foremost; cyber security for your business, your employees, and your customers. Every person and every device accessing your corporate network, email servers, CRM, financial, and other applications, is another potential crack in your enterprise’ security. MDM gives you the tools, processes, protocols, and reporting to help you address all of these concerns, at scale.
Here is a summary of things to consider to help you get started.
5 Benefits of Implementing an MDM Program
- Reduce Business Risk. MDM helps reduce risk from cybersecurity threats by extending the same level of protection you use inside your enterprise to devices outside of your network boundary.
- Ensure Employee Productivity. An effective MDM program gives employees seamless access to the tools and data they rely on inside your offices and enables their productivity wherever they are.
- Simplify IT Management. A single, robust, MDM solution lets you deploy, administer, and manage remote employees’ devices in one place, at scale, using a consistent set of protocols and control.
- Reduce Business Expense. Because MDM addresses critical risk and security issues, employees are free to use their personal devices, reducing the expenses for equipment required to work remotely.
- Improve Business Resiliency. – It may not feel like it right now, but a solid MDM program improves organizational flexibility and enhances your ability to adapt to new challenges and opportunities as they present themselves.
5 MDM Goodness Principles
- Don’t try to do everything at once. The important thing is to get started. Don’t wait until all the pieces are in place. Identify the basics and get them implemented, then move on. (See below)
- Focus on Data Security. If your organization handles financial or medical information, this is already job one, but all businesses should focus on ensuring the security of proprietary and customer data.
- Address Specific Pain Points. Survey your remote team to identify unnecessary friction affecting performance. Often, problems stem from replicating analog processes, digitally, at a distance.
- Make it Easy for Employees. Your MDM program needs to be scalable and consistent, but your results will be better if you find ways to engage and empower your employees in the process.
- Read and React to the Reports. Putting MDM in place isn’t enough. Your data and reputation are at stake. Trust but verify. Run the reports, audit your performance, and adapt your program as needed.
5 Pieces to Put in Place, Now.
- Antivirus / Anti-Malware. The first step in to require installation of antivirus/anti-malware software on any device that will be connecting to your network and ensure that is it routinely updated.
- Password Protocols. Require strong passwords for applications accessing proprietary data and force time-outs when not in use. Enforce rules requiring that passwords be changed frequently.
- Communication & Data Encryption. Remote employees share business information in a variety of ways. To protect your data, deny access from devices and channels that don’t enable encryption.
- Remote Device Controls. When critical corporate data is accessible through 3rd party laptops and smartphones, you will want the ability to locate, lock, and wipe mobile devices remotely, as needed.
- Employee Education. Human error is unavoidable, so be sure everyone understands your policies and educate them about the risks from sources like phishing, public Wi-Fi, and unauthorized apps.
STEADfast IT has years of experience working with multi-location businesses and organizations that rely on a distributed workforce, ensuring their remote employees are productive, secure, and engaged. If you have any questions about what you have read here, or if you would like to discuss options and solutions for your own organization, we would like to hear from you.