BYOD and Mobile Security for Small Business - Page 2

By Pam Baker
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More Mobile Security Tips for Small Business BYOD

4. Leverage the built-in freebie security controls on devices

"All modern mobile devices have some built-in security controls, including some capabilities to manage many mobile devices together," says WatchGuard's director of security strategies, Corey Nachreiner.

These features include lock screens and the capability to wipe the device after a certain number of failed authentication attempts. Some devices even let you locate it via GPS.

"Several platforms include free tools that let you manage the configuration of many devices," says Nachreiner. "For example, Apple provides the iPhone Configuration Utility, which can help you create a profile to load onto your iOS devices. These tools may help you provide some simple security until you adopt the more modern BYOD technologies."

5. Use a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution

"Choose a mobile device management product that supports multiple platforms, i.e. Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows," says Sarah Bergeron, corporate communications specialist at Kaspersky Lab. "That will take the pain out of managing multiple systems."

Look for a system that offers one management console. This lets you manage all of your various mobile devices from one point. "Small businesses can then control their mobile devices along with all their other end points, including desktops and virtual servers," says Bergeron. "This lets them apply policies more consistently and uniformly, reducing the risk that they'll overlook something critical."

But what features should you expect or look for in an MDM solution beyond these basics?

"Many MDM solutions offer optional application management and content management feature sets," explains Andrea Bradshaw, CDW’s general manager of mobility solutions. "These powerful tools protect the organization’s data and provide users with secure access to the applications and data they need to be productive."

6. Protect your data, not your devices

"Opt for solutions that focus on data access controls and that can keep the device stateless [with no data stored on them]," says Ramesh Rajagopal, president at Authentic8, the makers of a security browser app.

"MDM software that tries to put walls around business content versus personal content are a half-step," he added.  "You probably can't install the [MDM] software in all the places you need it. And, as with toothpaste out of the tube, once your data is delivered to the device you can't suck it back in."

7. Pay close attention to the network

"To maintain the security of corporate networks, businesses should take an integrated network protection approach by, at the very least, using a managed VPN with a dynamic and managed firewall," says Patrick Oliver Graf, general manager at Americas of NCP engineering.

"A VPN encrypts all network communications, thus protecting a small business's data from being intercepted in transit. It's important to look for a VPN that works on a wide range of mobile devices, to ensure that every device accessing a network is protected," says Graf.

While a VPN provides secure remote network connections, Graf recommends adding access control mechanisms to guarantee that network access is possible only under safe conditions. You don’t want a compromised mobile device accessing your network, which is why Graf also recommends automated endpoint checking to keep mobile devices healthy. Finally, be sure that you have "device locking, disk encryption and remote wipe functionality should be put in place."

Bonus Tip: Cover BYOA

Now that you've wrapped your head around BYOD, it's time to consider BYOA—bring your own app.

"Just as MDM addresses BYOD, Mobile Application Management (MAM) addresses bring your own app," says Steven Ostrowski, director of corporate communications at CompTIA, a non-profit association for the information technology (IT) industry.  "In some cases, this may be a separate application; in other cases an MDM solution may expand to include MAM capability. Ultimately, the goal is to manage the entire suite of mobile solutions."

Pam Baker has written for numerous leading publications including, Institutional Investor magazine, CIO.com, NetworkWorld, ComputerWorld, IT World, Linux World, Internet News, E-Commerce Times, LinuxInsider, CIO Today Magazine, NPTech News (nonprofits), MedTech Journal, I Six Sigma magazine, Computer Sweden, the NY Times, and Knight-Ridder/McClatchy newspapers.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on July 24, 2013
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