Securing corporate endpoint devices has to be a priority for IT leaders as we enter an enduring era of remote working.
The value of managing endpoint devices has become obvious across all levels of the business during the pandemic.
With millions now connected for remote work, the most pressing priority should be to secure endpoint devices and eliminate the threats they represent to the network and data.
The number of devices accessing the corporate network remotely has skyrocketed in a short space of time. This has magnified the risk to the network. The need for enhanced cybersecurity and data protection systems is now the most pressing concern, and it will remain so into the future.
Distributed workforce is here to stay
Security of endpoint devices is not just a temporary requirement which will dissipate once we return to the office.
Because there is no going back.
It may not have been planned but it has happened. Across the world there has been a monumental mindset shift.
Millions of employees have had more than a taste of working from home. They have feasted on the opportunity. And many of them want more.
Meanwhile business leaders who would not under normal circumstances have countenanced their employees working out of sight, have had the situation foisted upon them and discovered that their people work just as productively outside the office ... if not more so.
A reckoning will take place
When the pandemic subsides and the requirement for social distancing has dissipated, a reckoning will take place.
Business leaders will weigh up the economic pro's and con's of having a distributed workforce.
Employees coming back to the office are going to ask for more flexible working arrangements with many wanting to work remotely in some part.
"Needing to have visibility and control over ALL devices connecting to the corporate network will be the new normal. Endpoint security and data protection will therefore be both critical and foundational to the future workplace."
Security challenges of a distributed workforce
Remote working creates a unique new set of mobile, network and data protection challenges.
1. The mobile threat landscape has expanded
Prior to the pandemic, enterprises had strict rules prohibiting employees from connecting to corporate networks from home. In many cases those restrictions were hastily set aside. Many organisations had no choice but to allow employees to connect to centralised corporate networking through devices on home networks. This directly correlates to increased risk in managing the growth in physical, logical connections to the organisation's operating environment.
Remote workers also create infinite new access points for hackers to exploit. Employees entering their email systems from remote locations also increase the possibility of clicking on sinister links, compromising existing cybersecurity systems.
2. The biggest threat is to data security
Accessing data, sharing data, and storing data from remote locations are all threat vectors.
Data leakage - unintentional more than malicious - can easily occur through use of remote printer-sharing, remote desktop file-sharing, and remote USB connections.
The use of personal devices equals a real chance of delivering ransomware into the office network and allowing company data to leak out.
3. Financial implications of data consumption
Remote working is going to cause a steep spike in data consumption. Without visibility of endpoint devices, it is impossible for organisations to know if the extra data is supporting productivity, or if it is being used for non-business related purposes.
Many Australian companies are on carrier contracts which have a per service data allowance. Alternatively there will be a shared data pool. In either case, exceeding the allowance, can have significant financial implications for the business.
4. Corporate responsibility
Australian enterprise and business are careful to lock down desktop computers to ensure that employees are unable to access inappropriate content in the workplace. There remains a corporate responsibility to extend that protection to employees whose workplace is remote from a centralised office. There is also a reputational protection of the business in doing so.
Allowing employees to access illegal or illicit sites on their work devices even, outside the office, opens the organisation up to questions of workplace health and safety.
Our mobile devices are critically exposed
Endpoints are the critical foundation of a distributed workforce yet many Australian companies have failed to put in place even the most rudimentary protections or remote management capability for their corporate-owned endpoint devices, says McSherry.
"The pandemic will have made many IT teams reconsider how they manage endpoint devices; and come to the realisation that these devices need the same security, management and support as desktops have always enjoyed."
MobileCorp recommends Wandera
MobileCorp has been working with a number of customers to address mobile security gaps. We recommend Wandera as a potential solution. Wandera has been recognised as a global leader in mobile threat defence by Gartner, IDC and Forrester.
Wandera is a cloud-based mobile threat defence and data policy compliance platform.
It is powered by a threat intelligence engine that ingests information from 425 million mobile sensors daily to protect against the broadest range of known and zero day threats.
Wandera also assists in the management of mobile data consumption and optimisation through data capping, content filtering and even tethering (mobile hotspot) management. It also plays a role in compliance and workplace safety by ensuring that remote users only access approved sites, applications and services.
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MobileCorp is a Wandera partner providing consultancy, solution architecture, implementation and managed services. Read more
MobileCorp is an Australian communications technology company providing mobile device management, managed mobility services, mobile security, complex data and IP networks, and unified communication solutions. It has a proven track record providing solution architecture, build, deployment, and managed services for Australian enterprise and business. MobileCorp is also a Telstra Platinum Partner and has been serving Australian enterprise and business for over 30 years. About Us