In March 2020, companies cobbled together remote work plans intended to preserve productivity. Two years later, we’re witnessing how these ad-hoc policies often fail to prioritize security — as evidenced by a rise in cyber attacks — and put a greater strain on IT staff.
As companies look to close cybersecurity gaps and relieve the pressure on IT teams, mobile device management (MDM) solutions offer a clear fix. Here are four remote-work challenges they solve.
4 Remote-Work Challenges Mobile-Device Management (MDM) Can Solve
- Increased cybersecurity threats
- Overworked IT teams
- High device-management costs
- Heightened digital anxiety
1. Increased Cybersecurity Threats
The Challenge: Remote Workers Are Vulnerable
Following the shift to remote work, there was a 768 percent increase in remote-desktop protocol attacks between Q1 and Q4 2020. There are three primary reasons why these breaches continue to happen.
The first is an overreliance on digital communications. In the office, someone from sales might approach a product engineer about the specs of their company’s solution. In remote settings, these conversations happen online. This creates a digital footprint that bad-faith actors can use to collect information about the company.
The second reason relates to the use of unauthorized applications. Without proper governance, employees might download malicious applications, or, more commonly, a remote worker might download safe applications that they fail to regularly update or that hackers eventually compromise. If IT teams can’t track and enforce security protocols on these new programs, the odds that hackers will obtain company data increase.
The third reason is home networks. Most employees’ homes aren’t equipped with firewalls or IP blacklists, never mind the connections at cafes and airports. Because of this, remote professionals may be exposing valuable company information simply by logging on.
Security and business leaders understand the dangers of working from home. It’s why, in a recent Tenable study, 80 percent of them said remote work exposes their organizations to greater risk.
The Solution: MDM Protects Workers by Enabling Security Measures
One way MDM software protects is through multi-factor authentication. This system alerts users when someone is attempting to access their account by requiring an additional passcode, which is commonly delivered through text or email.
MDM software also prohibits users from downloading insecure apps, flagging them as security concerns. This feature also flags phishing scams, warning the user when a message is unsafe to open.
In each of these use cases, MDM software can protect your business from a costly breach.
2. Overworked IT Teams
The Challenge: IT Teams Don’t Have Time to Complete Core Functions
Throughout the pandemic, IT teams have served as impromptu logistics departments, ordering new devices, receiving shipments of these devices, installing software and shipping equipment to employees.
When devices break or malfunction, IT teams are also on the hook for fixing them. This establishes a pattern of pulling IT away from their core functions to troubleshoot technical issues that arise as a part of remote work.
The Solution: MDM Eases IT Workload by Streamlining Security Tasks
A standard MDM platform enables IT departments to remotely oversee the level of protection on devices and mitigate risks by updating software and deploying security patches. With MDM software, IT staff can remotely download necessary software updates to these devices, keeping the laptops in a safe and suitable condition for work.
Alternatively, companies can outsource MDM to another company, like a Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) provider, which frees IT staff to focus on key job duties and eliminates the need to hire additional employees.
This also preserves workflow for team members from other departments, who now don’t need to wait for your overworked IT staff to troubleshoot technical issues — they can just interface with the MDM provider directly.
3. High Device-Management Costs
The Challenge: Purchasing and Managing a Fleet of Devices Is Expensive
Purchasing a device is only one component of its cost. You’re not just buying a laptop – you’re paying for necessary software, warranties, and IT staff to maintain it. These expenses add up over time and require significant capital expenditure, which means you can’t use that money elsewhere.
The Solution: Outsourcing to MDM and DaaS Providers Trims Expenses
Outsourcing MDM allows the provider to provision personal and professional use on company-owned devices. This saves your IT team time and limits the odds of a cyberattack, which saves you money on staffing IT and replacing compromised technology.
You can also seek out a DaaS provider, which reduces costs and shifts MDM expenses into operating expenses. This frees up capital expenditures you’d otherwise need to keep on your balance sheet, allowing you to either save those funds or invest them elsewhere.
4. Heightened Digital Anxiety
The Challenge: Remote Workers Worry about Device Security and Privacy
According to a recent F-Secure survey, 67 percent of remote workers acknowledged they felt anxious about security and privacy. There are numerous studies pointing to the negative effect anxiety has on worker productivity. Without MDM, employees must protect their own devices, which increases their level of stress.
The Solution: MDM Secures Devices and Offers Peace of Mind
MDM software relieves employees’ anxiety by securing their devices. With MDM software, workers can dedicate more of their time to completing assignments, delegating cybersecurity tasks to the experts.
There is one source of frustration for remote workers that MDM doesn’t address: old, slow technology. Using a DaaS provider can solve this issue for your company because these providers systematically phase out older devices, ensuring your employees use the right technology for their work.
Outsourcing your needs to a DaaS provider also establishes greater protection. It enables providers to install the most up-to-date security software and improves employee productivity by limiting buffering and slow load times with features like greater storage and more RAM.
In a Remote Landscape, Mobile-Device Management Is a Must-Have
Remote work isn’t going anywhere. According to Fortune, only 3 percent of white-collar workers want to return to the office five days per week. This, combined with historically high numbers of job openings, places the onus on companies to retain talent by meeting the demand for a remote-work model.
In other words, the need for MDM and DaaS will only grow. This sentiment falls in line with projections that the MDM industry will hit $32.45 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 28.2 percent.
That’s great news for employers: It means there will be plenty of options for managing and securing the devices of a distributed team — all while saving time and cutting costs.