Modern Machines: Managing Your Mobile Workforce

The workplace is more mobile than ever before. Your employees may work remotely as well as in the office, and they may use devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops when they are out and about. All of this provides your employees with greater flexibility, but what about the security aspects?

Security is becoming harder to achieve because of the new challenges posed by mobile workforces, so here are some ways that you can manage your workers without increasing the risks.

Should You Allow BYOD at Work?
BYOD stands for ‘Bring Your Own Device’, and it is becoming increasingly popular. Most of your employees probably have powerful smartphones already, and they may want to use their devices at work rather than using a corporate phone.

You must decide whether you want to allow this or not. But if you do decide on BYOD, first decide which devices you will allow, and then come up with rules to follow to ensure correct security. You may want to give your employees a choice as to whether they use their own personal devices with certain restrictions or whether they use a corporate device.

Whether you can do this or not may depend on your organisation. You may need to access the Public Services Network (PSN), for example, and if so find out from the company that carries out your health checks, like the Sec-Tec PSN check service, whether they recommend BYOD or not.

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Mobile Device Security Guidance
Whether you allow BYOD or you insist that staff use company devices, there are certain security steps that you should follow. These include:

Insist that employees use strong passwords for all devices. If a device is lost, this will provide protection against the data being accessed.

Make sure the devices can be remotely wiped. This will allow them to be securely wiped if they are lost.

Use a secure mobile container solution to store personal data separately from business data. This will allow you to erase business data separately in the event of a loss.

Ensure you have a set of rules for downloading apps in order to avoid malware. If a banned app is downloaded, disable network access for that device.

Also track devices for how often they access enterprise servers. If they go quiet for a while, this could indicate that it has been lost.

Always ensure a good antivirus solution is in place, and keep this up to date on all devices.

Educate Your Employees
Good education is essential for improving security, so make sure your employees understand the risks if they have business data on their mobile phones or tablets.

For example, their devices could contain personal data for customers, and if they lose this, and the company could face huge fines.

Provide education on issues such as creating strong passwords using a range of upper rand lower case letters as well as special characters.

Other Security Considerations
If your employees carry sensitive data on laptops, make sure these devices are encrypted. Ensure they have hardware encryption because this is BIOS independent and is therefore more secure than software encryption.

Flash drives are also particularly risky. These are more likely to be lost than laptops, so ensure you use a drive that is 256-bit hardware encrypted, and this will make transferring sensitive data a lot more secure.

Ensure a Safe and Secure Mobile Workforce
With workforces more mobile than ever, organisations must take their security even more seriously to avoid data breaches and other potential threats. Make sure you take your security seriously for your mobile workforce, and consider getting advice from specialist security consultants if you want to ensure even greater security at work.

Jonathan Cole works in a senior role within a multinational, dealing with technology strategies. He is always keen to engage with an online audience and his thoughts and insights can be found on a number of relevant websites.

This Guest Post complies with my Disclosure Policy

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