A Secure Mobility Strategy Doesn't Just Happen

How to build a secure mobility strategy.Everybody wants a secure mobility strategy, but what is anyone doing to make it happen? They don't just spring into being, pulled whole and breathing out of the box you bought your mobile devices in. They're the result of a lot of effort, planning, and resources that make a powerful strategy come together and protect our devices and the information contained therein. So how do you go from no strategy at all to the kind of strategy that stops hackers and other bad actors in their collective tracks? A few common elements will get you a long way down that road.

What Needs to Be Part of a Secure Mobility Strategy

Establishing a secure mobile strategy requires different things of every company, but there are some key elements that approach universality — with a few adaptations.

Start with the User. Many potential security failings start at the user level. The user is the one who installs apps and software without it being vetted because the user finds that software necessary to get a job done. The user doesn't care about your secure mobility strategy; that's not what keeps the user employed. If your secure mobility strategy gets in the way, you can imagine what the priority for the user will be. Prepare for this by including elements such as self-service provisioning and automated controls on data sharing. The more you can do to get the user on board, the less of a threat the user will pose to your strategy.

Block Off the End Runs. As much as you can do to augment the user experience, there are some things that just need to be prevented. One such event is known as the “quadruple bypass,” a complex and downright terrifying notion for any secure mobility strategy. This is described as a user taking a consumer-grade device, accessing corporate data, and sending that data directly to a cloud source. This leaves in-house IT utterly out of the loop, and it represents a loss of data that's untracked, unwatched, and unaddressed. Again, the more you can do to prevent users from going off the page the better, but some points simply need to be shut down outright.

Don't Forget the Training. While you want to do as much as you can for your end user to prevent them from going off the rails, and you want to outright forbid some things that are necessary to forbid, there's a big middle ground that likewise needs to be addressed. As noted previously, end users represent some of the biggest threats around. Much of this is due to issues they're not fully aware of, so making training a part of your secure mobility strategy will help address this immediately. It will not only help address these issues but, done properly, it will help encourage employees to stick to the plan as opposed to viewing it as a big hurdle to get around to get their jobs done. Better yet, it can also provide insight into what you can do to improve employee access and not get in the way.

Bring in Automation. Imagine a world where a lost or stolen device isn't a calamity, but rather an annoyance so minor it's fixed with a click. That's potentially available today. With the right services, a user's business apps and information can be transferred to the new device, and the old one can be locked and remotely wiped to the point of uselessness. This also makes it supremely easy to get new users on board. One click can load a device with all the necessary apps, tools, and information to get the user started quickly.

Protect the Important Stuff. Many companies here use a simple, three-step solution, sorting all data into categories of public, confidential, and restricted. Putting the strongest protection around restricted data and working downward from there — it's also a good idea to make as little data “restricted” as possible — helps ensure that people have what they need. This is a better alternative than either leaving all data on the equivalent of the front lawn or locking up everything to the point where your network is a room with no doors.

Make Compliance Part of the Framework. While businesses will be impacted by compliance to different levels — some much more so than others — for those that must face regulatory ire, the best thing to do is to build compliance directly into the system. With hundreds of regulations around security and privacy potentially in play, and thousands of specific controls, systems not only have to be ready to meet these, but they must also be ready to demonstrate how these are met to the point of being ready for audit at any time. Thus, building these points into systems right from the start to the point they're applicable is a vital part of any reasonably secure mobility strategy.

Start Future-proofing Immediately. There's one major development out there that, over the course of the next several years, will fundamentally change the way you do business and will impact your network in a host of ways. That's called the Internet of Things (IoT), and if you're not preparing for it now, you'll likely run afoul of it later. It's the last word in mobility; it requires the use of remote sensors and similar tools in a range of ways, and all of these are poised to connect to your network. They do so for the best of reasons — to supply data generated remotely for use in analytics and other functions — but their simplicity and remote location makes them easy to hack. A secure mobility strategy must embrace the IoT, but that's not where it stops. There are developments like these in the making right now, and building your secure mobility strategy so that it can effectively address future developments is crucial to getting the most out of these.

How to Get Help Establishing a Secure Mobility Strategy

Taking these elements together will go a long way toward producing a secure mobility strategy. But what do you do when you know what needs to be done but not how to carry it out? Drive your secure mobility strategy past the finish line by getting in touch with us at Acuity. Our line of mobility managed services will contribute to a secure mobility strategy by taking some of the heavy lifting off your shoulders and putting it squarely onto ours. Our dedicated approach to mobility services helps to ensure our focus on protecting these systems as they deserve. So just reach out to us for a fresh set of eyes to work on managing your secure mobility strategy.

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