The top 7 security-critical errors when managing mobile workplaces

The human factor and mobile devices continue to pose the greatest risks

Mobile working has long since become the norm in today’s world of business. Flexibility, greater employee satisfaction and increased efficiency are just some of the benefits of using mobile devices for work. Unfortunately, Germany is somewhat lagging behind its European counterparts in terms of mobile workplaces and working from home.

Does your company allow you to work from home on a regular basis? If so, then you can count yourself among a small minority of German employees who have the opportunity to do so. According to a study by the German Economic Institute entitled “Mobile Working in Germany and Europe”, German companies are only ranked in the middle group when it comes to providing employees with mobile technologies and workplaces. One reason behind this is undoubtedly a lack of certainty around data security. Other reasons for the failure to embrace mobile computing may include the lack of specific security standards or a fear of attacks by hackers. The greatest risks are in fact easily avoided or minimized if the right technology can be provided and if the necessary security precautions are taken.

For this article, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 most common errors that occur when managing mobile workplaces. Once you’re aware of these, there will be nothing standing in the way of you introducing home office workplaces and mobile workplace management in your company.

 

Mobile Work without a strategy

Mobile workplaces need to be integrated into existing asset management systems and managed using standardized asset management software. Isolated applications require a separate security strategy so as to avoid putting the IT infrastructure at risk. However, you can enjoy greater security and ease of use with a Unified Endpoint Management solution, which unites classic client management with enterprise mobility. This minimizes the risk of data loss and hacker attacks, while also keeping the workload for system administrators as light as possible.

Mobile Work without security policies

Clear, consistent rules are essential to managing home office workplaces and mobile devices in a secure and reliable manner. These should cover aspects such as handling external systems, non-secure systems, behavior during unannounced migrations, and the measures to be taken in the case of theft or data loss. If clear security guidelines are not defined, legal consequences may arise in the worst-case scenario, as well as serious disruption to the IT infrastructure. The result is long-term damage to business operations as a whole.

No device-specific policies

Establishing device-specific policies is every bit as important as defining company-wide security guidelines. Automatic locking, blacklists, unlocking by password only, malware scanners, and firewalls are all essential tools for the secure management of mobile devices. If you neglect device policies, you also run the risk of being charged with non-compliance with the GDPR guidelines.

 

No monitoring of compliance with security guidelines

Security precautions are all well and good but they will prove relatively useless if they are observed only partially or not at all. Accordingly, a regular review of security standards is essential, e.g. in the form of seamless virus protection, intelligent security configurations, and reliable patch management. A lack of automation in patch management poses a huge security risk and may lead to vulnerabilities in security management.

No employee training

A carefully considered security concept for mobile workplaces includes, not least, appropriate security awareness measures. There should be regular staff training and informative presentations in relation to the existing security guidelines to raise awareness of the issues among employees and ensure that the company is meeting its legal obligations.

No Windows Enterprise is used

Using Windows Enterprise is recommended. A huge security vulnerability arises due to the lack of security features in the Windows Pro operating system compared with those offered in the Enterprise edition.

Mobile devices without monitoring

Once a smartphone or tablet has been set up, is it destined to never again be seen by the system administrator? That would be a big mistake because devices need to be adjusted on a regular basis to take account of new technologies, new business requirements, or changes in the general conditions. Continuous monitoring allows you to boost work efficiency and improve user friendliness while simultaneously increasing security.

Additional protection for mobile work

In Germany, employees are not currently entitled to avail of the option of working from home. However, employers can still reap the benefits of greater employee satisfaction, improved efficiency, and more flexibility by making mobile workplaces available to their staff. A two-year study conducted by Stanford University even found that productivity is significantly boosted with the home office option, while the number of days missed due to illness declines. Nevertheless, it is advisable to take all steps necessary to ensure you are fully protected both in terms of technology and from a legal perspective. These include, above all, setting up a secure VPN connection for data transfer and including an additional agreement in the employment contract. This agreement should cover, for example, the minimum number of hours the employee is required to work on the company premises, technical accessibility, the right to access the private workplace, data backups, the right to return to office-based working, worker protection, and working hours.

Companies can ensure that their mobile workplaces are secure by setting them up correctly and using appropriate management software to maintain and manage them. It is also necessary to raise awareness among employees of security-critical errors, e.g. through training courses and an additional clause in employment contracts. In this way, you can benefit from a powerful endpoint strategy that guarantees data security, device protection, and secure communication, while also boosting productivity.

 


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This article is a post of our CTO Benedikt Gasch and was published 2019 in the magazine IT administrator. Read now our other expert articles or take a look at our mobile device management tool to optimize your IT management effectively.

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