Centrify's Darren Gross
Centrify's Darren Gross

It is an inescapable fact that more and more people are using unsecure mobile devices to access valuable corporate data. Employees want to increase their flexibility and productivity by using their favourite device to work on. In many corporate environments, employees can gain access to network resources before their employers are ready to authorise or secure the connection – often using their devices without a proper security and management system in place.

It is important to think about how these mobile devices will be managed, and what capabilities will be needed to ensure that a mobility policy is future-proof and able to deal with the multitude of different services and applications offered to businesses. Simple mobile device management may not be enough for your needs.

In particular, software as a service (SaaS) has risen sharply in importance in an effort to move business initiatives along faster than the traditional cycle of implementation, integration and ongoing maintenance associated with on-premise applications. Businesses are finding that they can vastly reduce IT expenditures and deploy services quickly, but this can create unnecessary confusion and inefficiency for the end-user as the business environment is transformed into a mess of web-portals and multiple usernames and passwords.

It is vital for businesses to deploy a mobility policy to manage bring-your-own-device (BYOD) expansion and provide a simple method for users to access a variety of SaaS applications. Without it, businesses run the risk of slowing operations or opening security holes. 

To tackle these challenges, businesses need to consider mobile device management (MDM) solutions that can protect both employees and the employer from current and future threats. 

Businesses should consider additional levels of security and management, such as:

Mobile authentication services (MAS) — Zero sign-on authentication spanning mobile applications to cloud services, increasing identity efficiency and providing an easier and simpler experience for employees.

Mobile application management (MAM) – IT should be able to control the device and the content that rests inside. In particular, MAM should have the flexibility to cover mobile and web applications, with the ability to assign access rights based on roles, as well as auto-provision and de-provision mobile applications centrally. 

Unified administration — With mobile devices regularly outside the office, a cloud service gives IT the ability to combine functionality in a single management console that is accessible from anywhere. A cloud service should not be a separate entity – in fact, it should seamlessly sync with an identity management system already in place.

By deploying management solutions that cover these basic principles, employers will be more comfortable allowing employee-owned devices on the network for business purposes, bringing increased productivity and flexibility to the workplace.

Above all, mobile management solutions need to foster a trusting relationship between the employer and employee. However, by ensuring that certain security standards are met through a sensible BYOD policy, organisations can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach or failed audit, keeping employees happy working on their favourite devices and IT staff confident they have the controls in place to manage devices securely and efficiently.