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Corporate mobile device policy – what to block and when

Corporate mobile device policy – what to block and when

600 600 Suraiya Datardina

Most businesses these days are equipping their employees with a mobile device for work and covering the associated costs, from the handset to the monthly bills. The resulting productivity gains are the main reason businesses jump to it but many mobile devices are given to users with no corporate mobile device policy attached to them. This allows the user unrestricted access to the internet. the type of access that would not be allowed on laptops and desktops

In this post, we briefly explore the three main risks of unrestricted mobile usage – security, legal and financial risks.

Security risks

Any device that connects to the internet opens up your network to malware, malicious content and data leaks which can cost your business millions of dollars, damage its reputation and incur legal fees. Hackers are aware that smartphones, in particular, are a weak link in a company’s IT infrastructure. Mobile devices are easily able to escape the protective barrier of the enterprise and access many disparate networks, leaving them exposed to cyber criminals who can easily exploit their vulnerabilities.

Legal risks

Unlike traditional PCs, mobile devices are typically unmanaged, leaving employees free to browse the internet as they please. Companies can be held legally liable for an employee’s mobile activity. This means allowing users to access pornography, gambling or illegal content on company devices could lead to litigation and consequential damage to a business’ client relationships and reputation.

Financial risks

Mobility costs have the ability to keep rising as your company grows. They are unpredictable, rising and falling month-to-month which makes choosing an appropriate policy from your provider more difficult. Additionally, work phones are often used for personal reasons. Previously, work phones functioned only for businesses. For example, back when more companies were issuing Blackberrys, people were less likely to use them for personal reasons. Now companies roll out the latest iPhones and Android devices which sometimes rival employees’ personal devices making them an irresistible alternative.

Creating a policy

So how do you go about creating a policy to fit your company’s needs? Firstly, it is necessary to gain visibility into what your employees are accessing to be able to understand which policy is the best fit. It’s important to note, one policy does not fit all, and the key to knowing what works is gaining insight into user behavior.

What every policy should include

Security should be the number one concern. This means blocking sites and apps that host malware and any other malicious content. It is also important to restrict all access to non-compliant websites which include adult content, illegal content, extreme content and gambling. This would be considered a light policy, allowing users unrestricted access to everything else.

To be more stringent and create a heavier policy, it is then important to understand what services your employees need access to for work. For example, an advertising company would not want to restrict access to social media as it is commonly used for promoting client brands. but for other industries is social media does nothing but drain employee productivity and data allowances. It is there important to understanding what employees access and when. Are people watching Netflix over a cellular connection when they go abroad? And how much is this costing the company? Should there be different policies in place for domestic vs roaming? No one policy fits all and this is where gaining visibility into the data becomes key.

To find out more about how Wandera can help you please contact us.

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