A mobile enterprise is an agile, responsive, and productive enterprise, as most of us know. The mobile workforce is better able to communicate and collaborate; it responds to issues more quickly and resolves problems more effectively and in shorter time frames, improving both customer satisfaction and internal engagement and morale. But a mobile workforce is also at more risk than a traditional, workstation-bound workforce. Here are three ways to use technology to secure a mobile workforce.
Typically, a mobile workforce uses more endpoint devices than a traditional, workstation-based workforce. Workers on the go carry, at minimum, a smartphone and a laptop, and BYOD further complicates matters by introducing tablets and other handheld and personally owned endpoint devices into the mix. The more devices an employee uses, the more devices the organization must worry about being compromised. In addition, workers on the go often have to connect to the Internet from unfamiliar or unsecured networks, such as airport or coffee shop WiFi, on which eavesdropping is an all-too-common threat.
To protect devices from malicious software and eavesdroppers will require the appropriate use of technology. Robust endpoint security software with antivirus and malware detection and mitigation capabilities must be installed on every endpoint and kept up to date. VPN solutions, meanwhile, should be deployed to ensure that employees can only access corporate applications on a secure connection.
Outside threats like malware and hackers are one kind of problem, but to secure the mobile workforce, organizations must also consider insider threats. Under the right circumstances, an unscrupulous employee may find himself in the position to steal and either sell or expose confidential corporate information, causing great harm to the organization.
To mitigate the threat of insider threats, businesses must deploy technologies that control and limit what employees can do with the corporate data on their devices while away from the office. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions that apply controls to operations such as copying and pasting text or sending attachments via email can prevent employees from sharing or disclosing information outside of company policy.
Finally, an enterprise that hopes to secure its mobile workforce must have comprehensive monitoring and visibility tools in place in order to keep an eye on user and device activities on a day-to-day basis. Some of the features to look for are the ability to generate alerts for anomalous behavior, the ability to define custom rules for those alerts, and the ability to take automated action based on pre-set policies. Features like these can help identify attacks from both within and without. For example, multiple failed login attempts likely indicate an external attempt to infiltrate the corporate network, while unusually large file downloads or system access at unusual hours may indicate an insider threat. Additionally, the audit logs that well-designed monitoring and visibility solutions offer are beneficial for compliance verification.
The modern enterprise must walk a fine line between productivity and security, finding ways to mobilize and empower workers without sacrificing necessary protections on sensitive data. Luckily, the technology exists to make this happen, if only organizations know where to look.
How do you use technology to secure a mobile workforce? Tell us your tips in the comments.