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  • Writer's pictureSara Millis

Mobile device management policy guide: Simple steps for your small business security

Mobile devices are an essential part of how you do business. But are you taking robust security measures to ensure the data you share between devices or store directly within devices is safe?


Today, we will examine your Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy. We'll discuss what to consider and how to roll out your policy so all team members can carry out your business safely.


Group of people smiling while using various mobile devices

What is a Mobile Device Management Policy?

Mobile Device Management policies, often called MDMs, are rules and guidelines that govern the use of mobile devices within a business. These policies ensure that your business-critical data is secure and that the devices your employees use are managed efficiently.


So, why is it essential for small businesses to have an MDM policy in place?


  1. Data security - Your small business likely deals with sensitive data, from customer information to financial records. An MDM policy helps you protect this data from unauthorised access or loss due to device theft or damage.

  2. Compliance - Your industry may need to comply with specific regulations regarding data security. An MDM policy ensures compliance steps.

  3. Efficiency and risk mitigation - By setting clear guidelines for device use and maintenance, you can streamline operations and reduce the risk of downtime caused by device issues or security breaches.


Let's look at what you need to include in your MDM.



The critical components of a Mobile Device Management policy

There are several things you need to consider when planning your MDM policy. These include:



Password requirements: The first line of defence

When securing your small business's mobile devices, passwords are your initial defence. Here are some considerations when setting password policies:


  • Password complexity - Encourage the use of a combination of numbers and special characters alongside upper and lower-case letters to avoid ease of password cracking.

  • Regular password updates - Mandate periodic password changes to minimise the risk of unauthorised access.

  • Multi-factor authentication - Easy to set up, MFA provides extra login security from multiple points of identification.

  • Lockout policies - Set up lockout policies to prevent brute force attacks. After several failed login attempts, the device should lock temporarily.

  • Password recovery - Include a mechanism for users to recover their passwords securely if they forget them.



Data encryption: Shielding your sensitive information

Data encryption is like a virtual vault that ensures your business data remains confidential, even if a device falls into the wrong hands.


When crafting your MDM policy, consider these points:

  • Full device encryption - All devices must have full-disk encryption enabled. That means all data on the device is scrambled, making it unreadable without the encryption key.

  • Secure communications - Use VPNs or encrypted messaging apps when transmitting sensitive data.

  • Encryption protocols - Specify how encryption should be used across your business.

  • Compliance requirements - Ensure your encryption practices align with industry-specific compliance regulations.



App usage guidelines: Regulating access and security

Both business-related and personal applications can play a pivotal role in daily operations. However, they also present potential security vulnerabilities. Managing app usage through clear guidelines is vital.


Here's how to go about it:

  • Whitelisting and blacklisting apps - Specify which apps are allowed and disallowed within your organisation.

  • App permissions - Ensure that apps only access the necessary functions and data to do the job.

  • Regular updates - Emphasise the importance of keeping apps current. Outdated apps are more vulnerable to security exploits.

  • Employee responsibility - Communicate that employees are responsible for the apps they install on their devices.

  • Secure app sources - Encourage downloading apps only from reputable sources, like official app stores, to reduce the risk of malware.



Remote wipe capabilities: Safeguarding your data when things go wrong

Remote wipe capabilities allow you to take swift action to secure that data, even from a distance. Here's what you should consider:


  • Define remote wipe procedures - Specify when and how to initiate remote wipes.

  • Selective wipes - Decide whether you want to perform a complete or selective wipe, which removes only business-related data while leaving personal data intact.

  • Inform employees - Communicate to your employees how and under what circumstances remote wipes will be conducted.

  • Backup policies - Encourage employees to regularly back up their data to prevent data loss during a remote wipe.

  • Compliance - Ensure your remote wipe practices align with data protection regulations and respect privacy.


So, how do we put that all together? Let's take a look.



Creating your mobile device policy: A step-by-step guide

Now that you've grasped the importance of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) policy and its key components, it's time to create your unique approach.


Here is your step-by-step guide.



1. Assessing your needs

  • Determine what types of data your business handles and how sensitive that data is.

  • Consider how and where your employees use mobile devices. Do they work remotely, on-site, or both?

  • Research and understand any industry-specific regulations that apply to your business.



2. Defining objectives

  • Make data security a primary objective.

  • Focus on efficient device management to reduce downtime and increase productivity.

  • Balance security with usability.

  • Ensure your policy complies with industry regulations and standards.



3. Including ISO 27001

ISO 27001 provides a structured framework for the creation, implementation and maintenance of your information security management system (ISMS). While ISO 27001 doesn't specifically address mobile device policies, it offers a comprehensive set of security principles that can be applied to mobile device management.


These include:

  • Risk management - ISO 27001 strongly emphasises risk assessment and management.

  • Compliance - Aligning your MDM policy with ISO 27001 can simplify meeting industry-specific security standards (particularly true if your industry requires ISO certification as compliance verification).

  • Policy framework - Provide a solid foundation for creating, maintaining, and reviewing your MDM policy.

  • Continuous improvement - ISO 27001 advocates a culture of constant improvement. Integrating this philosophy into your MDM policy ensures that security measures evolve with the threat landscape.



4. Getting it down on paper

Now, start to craft your policy. Think:


  • Policy structure - Will it be a comprehensive document or guidelines?

  • User roles - Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of employees, administrators, and other stakeholders in implementing the policy.

  • Enforceable rules - Create clear and actionable rules and guidelines that can be enforced.

  • Communication - Develop a plan for communicating the policy to all relevant parties within your business.



Implementing your Mobile Device Management policy

Successful implementation starts with a well-structured plan for rolling out your policy to all relevant parties in your organisation. Here's a step-by-step guide:


  1. Begin by educating your employees about the new policy alongside updated cybersecurity training.

  2. Ask employees to acknowledge that they've read and understood the policy.

  3. Set up and configure devices according to the policy's requirements.

  4. Establish procedures for monitoring policy compliance. Regular audits help identify areas that need improvement.

  5. Develop a clear incident response plan. What should happen if a device is lost or a security breach is detected?


Common implementation challenges

As with any policy implementation, you will face challenges, from employee push-back to technical difficulties. The important thing is that you recognise potential roadblocks before you hit them.


Communication and training will help with staffing challenges while bringing IT professionals (hey, that's us!) helps cover any software and hardware hiccups.



Our top tips for long-term mobile device security

  1. Stay on top of your device and app updates

  2. Continue to support employee training on security matters

  3. Encourage open incident reporting

  4. Carry out security audits regularly and act on your findings

  5. Periodically review and update your MDM policy

  6. Update your Incident Reporting protocols as your MDM policy changes



Mobile Device Management Policy: Take action for your small business security

New software and hardware are great for helping your business efficiencies, but it comes at a cost: added security for sensitive data.


Mobile devices are especially prone to security problems because, by their very nature, their mobility puts them at higher risk of being lost, stolen or hacked. The easiest way to combat this is to prepare your business for tightened security.


That security measure is your Mobile Device Management policy.


Following our guide, we hope we have been able to help you get started. Get something down on paper and worked out with your IT team.


If your business is based in central London, contact Eric today to see how we can help you with your MDM policy and more!

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