mobile device management

Bring your own application (BYOA)

Are Australian Businesses Aware of BYOA?

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Australia is at the forefront of bring-your-own-application (BYOA) adoption, according to a survey from Edge Strategies and LogMeIn. With 44 percent of companies implementing BYOA, Australia has surpassed the United States, which only had a 25 percent adoption rate.

But does this mean Australian ITs are ready for BYOA?

First of All, What Is BYOA?

Simply put, BYOA, or bring-your-own-application, is the use of third party apps for work. These consumer applications are commonly used by employees to do their jobs quicker and more effectively. Applications like these offer employees flexibility, which is one of the main motivations for using personal apps for work, even if they’re not regulated by their company’s IT department.

That’s the simple truth: Employees use personal apps for work because they are more convenient. It helps them get more work done in less time since they’ve become comfortable with them (after all, they also use apps like these for personal banking, social networking, etc.). They don’t need to undergo training to learn how to use data storage and collaboration apps, which is what typically happens with company-issued applications.

Another reason is that companies don’t offer them enough options. Andy Farquharson, Vice President of LogMeIn Asia Pacific, said that because what current app companies provide can’t answer their employees’ needs, the latter resort to finding and using their own apps. For those companies that offer multiple sets of apps, the scheme may backfire. Employees may find them to be complicated and difficult to use. In the end, they default to what they already know: Third party applications.

The Changing Landscape of Company Applications in Numbers

Survey showed that 73 percent of companies here and in New Zealand have employee-introduced apps that are actively used at work. Most of these are cloud file sync and share apps like Google Drive and Dropbox. Two thirds of businesses have employees that use BYOA despite the fact that companies have existing IT solutions in place. Another survey results from research firm Telsyte found that employees continue to use personal apps even though their companies prohibit them from doing so.

The quest for better productivity means Australians disregard company policies about using personal apps. The Telsyte survey, which involved 460 CIOs and ICT decision-makers, found that although 48 percent of companies ban the use of these apps for work, 14 percent admit that their employees still do it anyway. Only 34 percent actively enforce the rule.

That doesn’t mean, however, that enterprises do not see the potential benefits of BYOA. In fact, 27 percent of Australian companies do not force restrictions when it comes to apps use, and 25 percent have a catalogue of approved apps for employees to choose from. The report cited communications, project and task management, storage, and productivity apps like Skype, GoToMeeting, Evernote, Basecamp, iCloud, and QuickOffice are popular among users.

Still, almost 80 percent of companies have no plan to officially support BYOA. That could mean enterprises miss out on opportunities because using personal apps for work has significant effects on productivity. By letting employees manage their own IT requirements, they also discover ways to innovate and accomplish work quicker and become more efficient.

Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda says that using personal apps for work is the new form of shadow IT. Unless companies find ways to properly manage the use of these third party applications, more and more people are going to access data through unsecured means. The numbers show that employees are not slowing down when it comes to BYOA and it’s up to the organisations to rise up to the challenge.

The Challenges for IT Departments

Sadly, based on the figures, businesses are not yet ready for this emerging trend. The Telsyte survey found that only 20 percent of companies have concrete plans to embrace BYOA. Even with such a plan, IT departments face some tough challenges in order to accommodate this approach. First, they need to offer multiple set of apps so they can monitor the way employees use data. Second, the study conducted by LogMeIn and Edge Strategies found that there are actually seven times more apps being used in the workplace compared to what IT respondents say. Farquharson believes this is the biggest challenge for businesses and that they need to bridge that gap to get the most out of BYOA and avoid security risks.

They need to listen to employees to come up with better solutions in enhancing productivity while still having some level of control to protect critical information. Implementing mobile device management strategies can help them prevent employees from bypassing IT policies without obstructing productivity and flexibility.

Furthermore, just like BYOD (bring your own device) BYOA comes with some risks. Although it helps improve productivity, its very nature makes it susceptible to security risks. Employee-owned devices that run these apps are not necessarily monitored by your IT department, making BYOA a little scary. The lack of regulation can pave the way for security breaches, since most employees are less likely to think about how they’re accessing critical company data when working outside the office. They’ll connect to public Wi-Fi connections to send emails, download, upload, and share files, unaware that the data they transmit through unsecure networks is visible to everyone. As always, the cornerstone of any BYOA program should always be individual competence and education.

Mobile Device Management and How it Can Protect Your Company’s Data

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 Mobile Device Management and How it Can Protect Your Company’s Data

 Mobile devices are the most rapidly growing type of software in the United States and all over the world. Because they are expanding so rapidly, businesses are having a difficult time keeping up with the increasing complexity of what needs to be managed, especially with regards to security. When an employee needs to access company information or resources and does so from a mobile device, he or she could be putting the company at risk for a security breach. The main way that companies have been dealing with mobile devices is by using mobile device management (MDM) systems. I have found that there are a number of different characteristics of such systems that allow companies to decrease security risks.

Administration Console

An administration console is able to assist with data protection by showing what all company-owned mobile devices are doing, regardless of who has them, what platform they are running, and the type of device. This will also allow for directory services to be used to automatically update all of the devices without requiring input from the user. This will make sure that the latest anti-spyware and anti-virus software is being utilized, which will decrease security threats to the mobile devices.

Logging and Reporting

Everything that is done on company-owned mobile devices that has a mobile device management system installed will be logged. This will allow the behavior of people on mobile devices to be monitored to make sure that they are not accessing company data through channels that have not been secured or putting the entire network at risk by downloading software from untrustworthy websites. If a problem should occur, it will be easy to tell where it came from and therefore make it simpler to resolve the issue.

Creating Profiles

It is very easy to create profiles through an MDM system that have their own sets of restrictions, passwords, and other security features that can be added to the mobile devices when they are first deployed. This will allow different layers of security to be added to devices depending on the level of the employee within the company.

Containment Management

Perhaps one of the most useful features of an MDM system is that of containment management. This is best for mobile devices that are regularly being used to access sensitive information that could do a lot of damage if it is stolen. With containment management, it is now possible to isolate any applications or information that is specifically connected to corporate data from the rest of the mobile device. When an employee is using the device for personal reasons, there will be less restrictions, but if any actions should veer off into the realm of corporate information, then the user will enter a closed environment that will reduce the chances of sensitive data being removed by hackers and used for nefarious purposes.

Create Personal Terms of Use

It is easy to create customized terms of use statements that need to be reviewed and signed by the employee who is receiving the phone in order to be able to use it. These customized terms of use statements can include specific instructions regarding accessing company information and lay down guidelines for what will happen if such actions are taken. This will provide the employee with full information regarding how serious a situation like that could be and the necessity of data protection, thus reducing the chances that a serious data breach could occur.

If you are looking for more information about mobile data management and other security solutions, fill out our contact form.

IPad Security

iPad Security Tips Your Employees Need to Know

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The iPad is a very useful tool for work thanks to a host of features and capabilities, so good, in fact, that some may even completely ditch the laptop and use the tablet instead for enhanced productivity.

But using the iPad comes with certain risks. The first thing companies need to pay attention to is data security. Employees who bring their own device to work may not be aware of the risks involved in checking emails or accessing files from their iPads. That’s why companies need to implement proper mobile device management strategies

Employees, listen up. You don’t need to be IT-literate to prevent a security breach. You just need to be more mindful of the way you use your device for work. Here are 10 tips to keep your iPads secure.

Set up a passcode.

The simplest way to protect an iPad is to use a password. This will prevent unauthorized person from accessing data in the event it’s lost or stolen. Go to Settings > General > Passcode Lock. By default, the passcodes are 4-digit characters. For increased protection, turn off this Simple Passcode option. Enter the 4-digit passcode first and then pick a longer (and stronger) password. Here’s a helpful article on creating super-strong passwords.

Turn on the Auto-Lock feature.

This automatically locks the iPad after minutes of inactivity. For better security, set the iPad to lock between five and ten minutes, so that no one can access data if you accidentally leave it somewhere, but you won’t get frustrated having to retype it if you leave it for a moment or two.

You can toggle the function and modify it by going to Settings > General > Auto-Lock.

Disable Bluetooth.

Since Bluetooth allows devices to easily connect with each other, the risk of exposing critical information to unauthorized users is high. Most people don’t even pay attention to this and leave it on for long periods of time. In 2006, a study by the Kapersky Lab reviewed the vulnerability of Bluetooth devices in public places. It found that more than 1,000 devices are in visible-to-all mode, meaning they’re ready and waiting for any device to connect with them.

Turn Pop Up Blocker on. Pop ups usually contain ads that are annoying and restrict navigation in a certain web page. Most users turn off pop ups to eliminate ads and have a better time browsing websites. But pop ups began containing malicious codes that can harm devices, like computer viruses and spyware.

To do so, go to Settings > Safari > Block Pop-ups and then turn it on.

When Connecting to the Internet

Secure Safari settings.

Turn off the AutoFill feature so Safari doesn’t store your usernames and passwords. At first glance it seems like a good choice to enable the feature since it automatically fills up forms, making it easier for you to access your accounts, but that puts you at risk of getting hacked. You should also turn Fraud Warning on, so that Safari can issue a warning when you’re about to visit a fraudulent website.

Do not connect to unsecure wireless networks.

Avoid open Wi-Fi in public places. Most of these networks are unsecured, leaving you susceptible to attacks. Any information you transmit can be intercepted by hackers. That can result in stolen passwords, or worse.

In general, it’s best to stay away from public Wi-Fi connections because these are not protected networks. If you do need to connect to them, limit your activities. Don’t shop online or check your online bank accounts. Wait until you have a secure connection.

Use virtual private networks (VPN).  

Accessing company data when you’re out of the office can be risky when the only available connections are Wi-Fi networks in public places. This puts your job at risk. A VPN will let you do your job securely. This encrypts all data you send and receive, averting any chance of hacking. Using one also lets you access filtered content even if you’re in another country, which is perfect when traveling for business.

You can learn more about VPNs in this post.

Restrict iPad capabilities.

This is very important especially when other people use your iPad. Restrictions ensure that they can’t modify your device or access certain information. This feature isn’t just useful for work; it’s also great for parents who want to monitor and control their kids’ iPad usage.

Go to Settings > General > Restrictions and click Enable Restrictions. Enter the passcode and then toggle the apps you want to restrict.

When You Misplace or Lose Your iPad

Enable Find My iPad.

This feature comes very handy in case you lose your iPad. If you misplaced it at home, you can set off an alarm that runs for two minutes. In case the device is completely lost, you can send a message to whoever finds it and simply ask them to return it to you. They can’t use it because they need the passcode. The device will lock for good after 10 failed attempts. If things go from bad to worse, you can simply wipe the iPad.

Here’s a more detailed instruction on locating a lost iPad.

Get MobileMe.

MobileMe is a service provided by Apple that lets you sync, back up, and secure information. It can also be used to restore data. It also lets you locate and remotely wipe all data when there is no way you can get it back.

The Best Way You Can Secure Your iPad

The single most effective way to secure your iPad is to keep an eye on it. There’s no way unauthorized people can gain access to critical data as long as it is in your hands. As much as possible, don’t let others use it, especially if it’s mainly used for work. If you can do that, most security concerns will remain a myth to you.

Need help with managing your devices? Greenlight can help you implement reliable mobile device management strategies that your employees can easily understand.