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Mobile device security management practices enhance data protection

While mobile security is a challenge, file sync-and-share products and mobile device management software can help protect your organization's vulnerable data.

Mobile devices can be significantly more difficult to protect than traditional endpoint devices such as desktops or laptops. Even so, best practices for mobile device security management have emerged.

First, it is a good idea to adopt an acceptable device policy. Such a policy generally stipulates the mobile operating systems that can be used to access corporate resources. Traditional backup software will not run on mobile devices, with the exception of some Windows devices. As such, you will need to make sure that users are working from mobile devices that are compatible with whatever product you ultimately adopt for protecting those devices.

File sync and share tops list for securing mobile devices

The best option for mobile device security management of phones and tablets is generally file sync and share. There are many different multi-platform file sync-and-share products available, and each vendor provides its own feature set. Generally, however, these tools sync the device's contents to a designated repository either in the public cloud or on the organization's private network. Regardless of where the data is synchronized to, it is extremely important to make sure that the location is included in a traditional backup job.

File sync-and-share offerings are generally based on replication. As files are created or modified on the mobile device, those files are replicated to the designated location. The problem is that if a file is incorrectly modified or deleted, those changes are also replicated. Including the replication destination in a traditional backup ensures that there is a way to restore previously existing file data if needed.

The best option for mobile device security management of phones and tablets is generally file sync and share.

Regardless of the file sync-and-share product that an organization decides to use for mobile device security management, it is extremely important that it does not leave backups to chance. The software should work without end-user intervention. In other words, the synchronization process should occur seamlessly, behind the scenes, without the end user having to do anything.

It is equally important to ensure that the file sync-and-share software is deployed to the mobile device automatically. If employees are allowed to use personal devices, then the IT department will not always know when a user decides to switch to a new device. This means that there may be no opportunity for the IT department to deploy file sync-and-share software to the device. The solution is to automate the deployment process.

Software enhances mobile device security management

Organizations commonly use mobile device management software as a tool for securing mobile devices. End users are able to use a portal site to enroll their devices for use on the organization's network. This process brings the device under management and usually applies some basic security policies to the device.

Some mobile device security management tools, however, are also able to deploy mobile applications to end-user devices. Such tools can commonly make it mandatory for a user to have certain applications installed. If an organization uses Microsoft Intune, for example, it could configure the file sync-and-share application as a required install. Upon connection, Intune would deploy a version of the software that is specific to the device's OS. If the user uninstalls the application, Intune would re-install it automatically.

Next Steps

Try endpoint data protection and sync-and-share technology

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This was last published in December 2016

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