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How to secure everything, everywhere

With employees increasingly moving away from the desktop, how can businesses embrace the benefits of mobile working while ensuring the management and security of these devices?

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The typical business cannot afford to keep up with the short upgrade cycle that drives consumer purchases, but can increase efficiency and cut operational costs by allowing employees to use their own devices in the working environment, allowing the organisation to focus more on securing the information and applications consumed from these devices.

Mobile working can reap serious benefits in productivity, as employees are more likely to complete tasks at home or on the commute outside typical office hours. According to a recent survey of 1,200 mobile workers, employees can work up to an additional 20 hours a week online. However, devices that move us away from the desk while accessing the corporate network increase the risk of sensitive data being lost or stolen.

As a result, it is crucial for businesses to plan for the day when they have to manage and secure a fragmented office landscape that is far removed from the stereotypical ‘central office,’ in which every employee and byte of data generally resided. It boils down to a serious problem for IT managers: How can they increase efficiency and worker productivity while keeping company data secure?

It is a difficult conundrum, not least because of the varying amounts of pressure from different sides of the business. Employees see mobile working as an opportunity to add flexibility to their working life, saving time in the office by completing tasks on the commute or at night at home. Similarly, C-Level executives understand the benefits (and probably already have the opportunity to work remotely), but are concerned about the loss of confidential information through lost or stolen devices.

While it may seem important for the IT department to find and deploy mobile management and security software, it is actually more critical to step back and think about what the mobile deployment will achieve. Third party tools help manage and complete functions that would take too long to do manually - organising employee’s data; automatically pushing out updates; wiping a stolen device or enforcing the use of a PIN to unlock the device.

Therefore, the first step is to ensure that the business has a strong mobility policy covering business, HR and IT perspectives.

To start with, bring together a team of people that represent different areas of the business. A C-level executive should oversee the operation to act as a representative for the board of directors or CEO, ensuring that policies match the overall aims of the business. Human resources are necessary to represent employee opinion while IT managers are needed to reinforce what is possible with technology and set manageable targets for the IT team (who will deploy and manage the policy). Additionally, as some sectors face strict restrictions on data privacy, ensure that someone from the legal team is present as well.

It is also important to recognise that the organisation may have a flexible working plan in place for particular business units. It is essential that both policies are aligned or combined to spread a simple, unified message throughout the business that will be easy for employees to understand and follow. Providing training and information to employees that carefully outlines both the organisation and the employee responsibilities is key.

The right mobility plan allows organisations to future proof the workforce, boosting employee morale and efficiency. IT departments will understand what a third party mobile management and security system needs to achieve, and will find the sourcing and installation of the solution far easier - resulting in a faster deployment and greater pick up by employees.

The second blog in the series will look at the different ways that businesses can secure these mobile devices.
The second blog in the series will look at the different ways that businesses can secure these mobile devices.

Posted by Darren Gross, EMEA Regional Director at Centrify


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