A recent survey of the top 50 US counties by IAITAM has revealed that few require across-the-board installation of MDM software on the mobile devices they have issued to employees. IAITAM CEO Dr Barbara Rembiesa said, “The truth is most government agencies and corporations fall down on the job when it comes to Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM) in general. But mobile device management, including best-practice policies and application of MDM software, is a real blind spot.
“Some companies and government agencies think that all they need to do is focus on servers, desktop computers and laptops and that they can somehow ignore mobile devices, such as phones and tablets,” Rembiesa said. “However, these devices are every bit as much in need of ITAM as any other technology in the workplace. A sloppy and dangerous approach to MDM is an open invitation to theft, loss of data, breaches, and the kind of huge reputational damage we are seeing today in San Bernardino County. For a publicly traded company, this kind of error could be devastating.”
What is Mobile Device Management (MDM) Software?
Mobile device management deals with deployment, securing, monitoring, integrating and management of mobile devices in the workplace. The intent of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of mobile devices within the enterprise, whilst simultaneously protecting the corporate network.
- Which devices are supported: iOS, Android, Windows?
- Easy enrolment and configuration
- Ability to differentiate between corporate and BYOD devices, and manage accordingly
- Protection afforded in the event that a corporate device is stolen or goes missing
- Measures to control movement of valuable devices in vulnerable locations, such as iPads used in schools or hospitals
- Ability to identify if a device has been unlocked or hacked (jailbroken or rooted) and therefore is vulnerable to damaging malware
ITAM policies not being applied to mobile devices
San Bernardino County had paid for MDM software for the mobile device it issued to its employee. This device is now the centre of a legal dispute between Apple and the Justice department over unlocking it, as it was used by a gunman who is accused of being a terrorist.
Although this survey focussed on US Counties, a wider survey by IAITAM examined some 177 companies, trade associations and government agencies. It found that just 55% have ITAM policies in place across all departments.
Rembiesa concluded, “”We see this every day where government and private agencies hand out mobile devices to employees and then fail to install the simple mobile device management software that could keep the company or agency itself safe from attack and, as we saw in the San Bernardino incident, also keep our nation safe from attack.”
The MDM software that San Bernardino had bought cost just $4 but it didn’t have an across-the-board policy requiring all departments to use the MDM software. Instead, departments were allowed to make their own decisions.
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