Making the Connection

Padraic Murphy
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On: 7 May 2015
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Business connections are important. In a world of social media and apps, Irish SMEs need robust Mobile Device Management (MDM) strategies and clear Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to help them make the most of available technology while managing potential risk.

What can SMEs do to manage the new wave of collaborative and social platforms?

Irish people are social creatures. That’s probably not news to anyone who has ever heard an Irish person trying to hang up a phone call (“Bye, bye, yep, yep, bye, ok, yeah, bye…”). In a recent Accenture study on internet usage in northern Europe, the stats bear this out. So, if you are a business leader in Ireland, your employees are most likely be members of at least one social network and probably many more. Combine this with the fact you’ve armed these same socially-minded employees with incredibly powerful and eye-wateringly expensive smartphones, which can manage work email and internal network access alongside personal email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Viber, WhatsApp, Instagram; the list goes on. What could possibly go wrong?

The questions you no-doubt find yourself asking are:

  • Should I allow access to social networks on company time and devices?
  • Is my corporate data in danger of being compromised?
  • How will I know if it is and what can I do about it?
  • Should everyone have access to everything or nobody have access to anything?

Thankfully, advances in Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology mean that a simple app can be installed centrally on each device and can assign a policy to how the device can be used and what data can be shared from one app to another. For example, this could restrict a particular user from copying a file from email to their phone and then sending that via their personal Gmail account. Or, it could restrict copy and paste from one app to another (e.g. Corporate Intranet to Social Network).

That’s good news for business owners because this type of device management can support you in implementing your wider governance agenda.

In other words, corporate and HR policies can now be clearly articulated to users about what behaviours are deemed acceptable when dealing with company data. This can also play strongly into your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. Your employees can use their own device as long as they are willing to have it managed in the same way as a corporate device. The MDM solution will provide the audit trail in the background so if there is a breach you can track down the source.

Ultimately, if we try to just lock everything down, we will simply drive the users to find ways around it and “shadow IT” will rear its head in no time at all. A coherent policy around MDM will allow the benefits of having more productive employees that are connected into the social world while mitigating the risk and potential cost of a data breach. If we can support and empower our employees while protecting them and the business, that seems like a win for everyone.

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