In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business world, companies are relying more and more on mobile devices to drive their operations and achieve their goals.
The widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets has opened up new opportunities for organizations to improve productivity, streamline communication, and enhance customer engagement. However, with these benefits comes the risk of data breaches and other security threats, which can have devastating consequences for companies of all sizes.
Traditionally, security threats were mainly targeted toward desktops and laptops, but some threats specifically target mobile devices running Android and other mobile operating systems. According to the Verizon Mobile Security Index 2022, almost half of all respondents in the survey said that their organization had experienced mobile related-compromises resulting in data loss or downtime.
Mobile Device Management is Critical
As the use of Android devices continues to surge, it is critical for organizations to adopt robust security measures to protect their corporate data. Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a key component of a comprehensive security strategy, providing the ability to enforce policies, monitor device activity, and quickly respond to security incidents.
The Android Enterprise framework for Android devices offers various mobility management APIs that focus on preventing data leakage. During device provisioning, MDM tools can convert customer-grade smartphones into business-ready devices by activating security controls for corporate use.
By securing corporate data on Android smartphones and tablets through effective device management, organizations can mitigate the risk of data loss and ensure that their sensitive information remains protected. Let’s look at how MDM for Android provides additional security and privacy measures to protect corporate data present on smartphones and tablets.
Containerization: Separating Personal and Corporate Data
Containerization involves partitioning personal and corporate data on personal mobile devices to protect data in case a device is compromised. For companies, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has now become a part of everyday business, as employees prefer to access corporate applications and data at any time, from anywhere from their devices. But sharing sensitive business information presents security challenges for corporations. On the other side, employees worry that monitoring everything on personal devices may invade their privacy.
Containerization creates two distinct containers that separate corporate data. The work container protects corporate applications and data present while leaving the remaining container untouched. The containerization option cannot infringe on personal information such as photos, files, or apps that are present outside the work container.
Physical threats to mobile devices are common due to loss or theft. A recent survey from Kesington reveals 4.5% of company-issued smartphones are lost or stolen every year. While a lost or stolen mobile phone can be a headache due to the cost of replacement, there can be serious consequences concerning data theft. Besides the risks associated with the theft of corporate data, organizations should also be aware of legal obligations with the corporate data present on Android smartphones or tablets.
In such scenarios, MDM can lock the devices instantly to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the content on the device or remotely wipe all the corporate resources present if the device cannot be retrieved. Some device management tools also offer location tracking services to track the real-time physical location of company-owned devices.
Mobile App Security
Mobile applications are often the root of vulnerabilities. Application-based threats happen when a user downloads apps that seem legitimate but steals data from the device. These types of apps have the power to compromise corporate data by asking for excessive permissions. Through app permissions, sensitive data is siphoned to untrustworthy third parties.
The best way for users to get apps on Android devices is to use a universal app catalog. A universal app catalog allows users to see which apps have been approved for use on their Android smartphone or tablet. Companies can track which mobile devices have the latest versions and who needs to install a software update. Some MDMs provide mobile application management functionality for IT to ensure users only install apps from an allowed list or whitelist.
Network threats occur when bad actors target unsecure or public Wi-Fi connections. Free-to-use Wi-Fi networks are less secure because there are no means to determine who set up the network, whether it is encrypted, or who is currently monitoring it. Mobile devices are left vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.
Device management can push mobile devices to connect to a VPN before accessing corporate assets. To eliminate gaps in VPN coverage, some MDM agents include their own VPN to protect all data in motion without relying on native VPNs.
Mobile Device Non-compliance
To reduce vulnerabilities, IT can leverage MDM to configure device monitoring to detect violations and should remediate them. For example, employees sometimes root an Android device, opening the doors to side loading of apps, increasing the chances of a malware attack that can steal information.
If a rooted device is detected, the solution should take immediate action, such as wiping off the work container, apps, and any sensitive content present on the device. Restricting outdated OS versions helps ensure compliance and improves device operability.
Running audits is a great way to ensure that the devices meet all requirements of a specific compliance regulation or standard (For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS))
Whether corporate organizations are managing hundreds of devices or hundreds of thousands of devices, or a mix of corporate-owned or BYOD devices, MDM protects apps and corporate data while ensuring complete visibility of Android smartphones or devices under management. Implementing a BYOD policy at work is a cost-saving and productivity-enhancing investment only when it is protected by a device management approach.
Device management applies a large number of security measures from enforcing password policies to remote wipe capability to delete corporate data from lost or stolen devices. Monitoring compliance and device usage are also possible, giving IT departments full visibility of the mobile device environment.