When was the last time you looked at your smartphone? Are you reading this article from it now?

Mobile devices are changing the way we do business. With the advent of new technologies, cloud storage, communications apps, and more, the tiny computers we hold in our hands seem to have endless possibilities.

Today, many businesses operate under a “bring-your-own-device” (or BYOD) policy. This means that employees can use their personal cell phones to remotely access files, programs, and information they may need while working on the go. (Think the Microsoft Outlook app, paired with a team subscription to OneDrive and SharePoint.)

However, smartphones can present a security risk. Because most iPhones and Android devices don’t come with the same high-end antivirus and antimalware that you’d find on a laptop, there are certain back doors hackers can exploit. Text-based scams or CEO fraud, for example, can target cell phone users with an informal “request” from someone posing as an employee. For small businesses – especially start-ups where security is a top concern – mobile device management (MDM) is a fantastic way to protect company information.

What is mobile device management (MDM)?

MDM is an IT solution that makes employees’ personal devices secure. By installing specific software, or setting up a credential wall between a mobile device and company info, your IT provider can guarantee that the only people accessing your business’s data are the people actually employed by your business.

There are multiple ways to set up an MDM system. Some go through software, installing a specific application or program on all new employees’ work devices. These programs give employees access to company information – if someone outside of your organization is trying to access your data, they would need login information or the same app installed on their device.
Another option is endpoint management (EM), which is a form of MDM that keeps track of the “endpoint” of data transactions. If someone installs an app they’re not supposed to have, tries to download restricted data, or dump information to a USB drive, an EM system flags that behavior so an IT administrator can shut it down. One of the best protections you can put in place (with very little administrative effort) is two-factor authentication, where a mobile device user is prompted to enter a separate code before logging into sensitive data, ensuring that the appropriate person is accessing your company data from the mobile device. Office 365 offers an administrative control that allows the company’s IT provider to wipe the mobile device if it is ever lost, stolen, or compromised.

Isn’t that kind of like spying?

Some business owners – and their employees – might balk at MDM at first, thinking that it’s an invasion of privacy. However, there are ways to create an MDM system that keeps company data secure while allowing employees the privacy and full use of their personal devices.

For example, your managed IT provider can set up an internal network with custom logins for every employee. If an employee logs in from their cell phone, they have access to the data they need to get their job done. However, this login does not give your company access to things like your employee’s texts, photos, or Candy Crush account. IT managers are able to see who is downloading what from company data points, and employees enjoy their online shopping, web browsing, and Candy Crushin’ in their free time.

Mobile device management offers businesses peace of mind, especially for law firms, doctors’ offices, or other businesses that handle sensitive information on a regular basis. Is MDM right for you and your team? Give us a call at (904) 606-6011 or email
info@helpgts.com to learn more.

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