Liberate your workforce

Demystifying mobile usage management

  • Mobile usage management allows companies to better understand employees' mobile working needs and help them be productive and efficient.
  • Michael classifies the risks associated with mobile device management in three separate categories - financial, legal and security.
  • Phishing remains a top security concern on mobile, with 35% of Australian organisations being targeted on a monthly basis. 

As the boundaries between personal and business devices blur, companies must be vigilant about managing mobile usage.

As the boundaries between personal and business devices blur, organisations that don’t know what’s going on in their mobile fleet may be more exposed to unexpected legal, financial and security issues than ever before.

Effective device management is essential as workplaces evolve to meet the requirements of an increasingly mobile workforce. The challenge is to empower mobile workers, whilst extending the protections and oversight of traditional in-office corporate settings – without placing undue stress on the IT department, as mobile fleet management rapidly expands to encompass financial concerns, user privacy, legal concerns, data insights as well as traditional security and maintenance.

Employees might be using mobile devices more than ever but it is still imperative to maintain the integrity of corporate environments, says Michael Covington, Wandera’s Vice President of Product.

“More than 50% of corporate internet traffic is to and from mobile devices,” he says. “Not knowing what’s going through mobiles can lead to companies being held liable to hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the organisation size and their revenue.”

Covington classifies the risks associated with mobile device management in three separate categories - financial, legal and security. Organisations have traditionally tried to address these individually, but it's becoming increasingly clear that a holistic approach is needed for understanding the way employees work.

“If you look at each of these things in isolation, I think what you end up with is something that’s unmanageable,” he says. “What we really try to encourage companies to do is think more broadly.”

“More than 50% of corporate internet traffic is to and from mobile devices…Not knowing what’s going through mobiles can lead to companies being held liable to hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the organisation size and their revenue.”

Michael Covington, Vice President of Product Strategy at Wandera

Financial obligations

Financially speaking, most or all devices that are rolled out through an organisation will be either owned by the business, corporate-liable or attached to an expense account. The increasing popularity of services like YouTube and Netflix mean that corporate data pools are being drained quickly, meaning that comprehending, capping and controlling this usage has never been more important.

“Users who utilise these devices in an unrestrained way can really cost the company a lot of money,” Covington warns. “The roaming costs that can’t be predicted, data overages in scenarios where you don’t have unlimited data, all of that leads to big surprises.”

Covington urges businesses to implement a real-time mobile usage management solution to receive report on usage as it is occurring, in order to avoid getting an unpleasant shock at the end of the billing period.

“It gives customers the ability to see in granular detail the way users use their data,” says Will Mills, Head of Mobile Managed Services at Telstra, “you can set alerts, boundaries and thresholds for the devices in your fleet,”. 

In addition, Mills has noticed that as users are given alerts on data usage, they become more prudent in their usage and are more likely to seek out other solutions such as WiFi hotspots. 

Legal issues

The second type of risk centres around acceptable use of a company mobile device, and how that introduces legal liability and compliance risk to organisations. This solution makes it possible for sensitive corporate data to by wiped remotely in case of a suspected breach or leak. 

For instance, if a worker with sensitive information on their mobile device also installed an unregulated third-party app like a game that makes use of photos already on the user’s phone, it could easily lead to data leakage, violation of the company's IP policy and even serious legal ramifications.

Security risks

The last area of concern is threats and security risks associated with mobile devices, whether it be lost data, data breaches or loss of credentials or sensitive information. 

Covington says phishing in the primary threat vector on mobile, especially as the methods and technology utilised by hackers evolve. Instead of going through email like a traditional phishing scam, hackers are using SMS, WhatsApp and even social media like LinkedIn and Facebook to attack through a channel that they think won’t be monitored by IT.

“They're also being very, very clever with the way they script the attacks so that it's not this long wordy email with very obvious links in it. It's pop up browsers where you don't even get the URL on the mobile device because it's trying to maximise the screen space, or it's a text message and a shortened link that looks very authentic. I think when you ask about the threat to mobile, phishing has got to be at the top of the list.”

Phishing is one of Australia’s key concerns, with 35% of Australian businesses being targeted on a monthly basis according to the Telstra Security Report 2018. Not only is this notably higher than international figures, but almost 10% are experiencing attacks on a weekly basis. 

After phishing, data leakage was found to be the most serious security issue facing mobile users, as it’s very easy for staff to give applications sweeping permissions without fully understanding the implications. However, actions like these can be monitored externally and protections put in place without interrupting the device’s user.

Lastly, traditional exploits such as network spoofing and cloud interception remain prominent methods of stealing data. 24% of Australian respondents identified protecting data in transit from devices to the cloud as their top security concern.

Implementing an external mobile usage management solution means that traffic going between the mobile device and the internet can be monitored and inspected to ensure that phishing attacks are stopped before they even reach the device.

As a result, organisations are increasingly looking into solutions which provide end-to-end security, rather than simply focusing on a single device, or end-point.

Data + analytics

Mobile usage management allows companies to better understand employees' mobile working needs and help them become more productive and efficient. Companies like Wandera can monitor what employees are doing and then analyse that information - anonymously if desired – in order to implement policies tailored to the needs of individual workers.

“Companies can use mobile usage management solutions to drive some analytics back into the business,” Mills said. “You can learn how people use their data, find out which apps are being used and that can help the organisation reinvest in the apps that work for them…We can provide quantifiable data to help make those decisions.”

However, there is no blanket solution - what works for one company or team may not work for another. For instance, some companies will want to block all forms of social media.

“You take a customer in a marketing department that doesn’t have access to social media and suddenly you cause havoc in that area,” Covington says. Likewise, executives that travel may need more data and roaming than a desk-bound employee - and those permissions can be adjusted on a person-to-person basis.

End-to-end management

From bandwidth overruns and shadow apps to legal concerns, there’s more complexity in managing mobile fleets than ever before. Simply keeping the essentials running can leave your IT team fully occupied, with little time to think proactively about innovation or security vulnerabilities.

Traditionally, enterprises have relied on end-to-end managed enterprise mobility services to take on much of this work, however this has prevented organisations from keeping up to date with the capabilities of today’s fleet management software.

The system lightens the load of your company’s IT department and allows for customer education. Once the software has been set up, it is externally managed on an ongoing basis. You can rely on Telstra’s wealth of experience in managing your mobile fleet, freeing up your time and resources. 

That’s why we’ve integrated Wandera’s mobile management software into our end-to-end enterprise mobility managed service, creating a single point of contact for provisioning, protecting and understanding your corporate devices, to ensure you don’t have to choose between efficiency and the cutting-edge.

Take control of your costs, today, with visibility on data across your entire mobile fleet.

Find out more

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