Last updated: 16 May 2016
Mobile Workforce Security Blog Series – Part 1
Organizations worldwide are seeking greater employee mobility for a variety of business and quality of life reasons. Key to becoming a ‘mobile enterprise’ is the ability to manage and secure the identities and data within an IT ecosystem whose boundaries are becoming increasing blurry. This blog series explores how enterprises can do so to gain enterprise mobile security.
All too often implementing enterprise mobility is seen as an intimidating mammoth project, causing IT professionals to resort to patchy, expedient solutions at best or to completely ignore the call-for-mobility at worst. Security concerns and compliance constraints along with limited IT staffing and budget serve to further push back any mobility-related initiatives.
However, the demand for more flexible working habits is growing globally and across verticals—even traditionally conservative ones like utilities and government. In fact, roughly two-thirds of Gen X, Gen Y and HR professionals believe that workplaces that offer flexible work arrangements have a competitive advantage over those that don’t. The need to support remote workers, cloud applications, and mobile devices is fast turning from a luxury to a must-have. To enable employees, however, enterprise mobile security concerns must first be addressed within the organization.
So what are IT, security, and compliance managers to do?
Below, we’ve boiled down the obstacles to offering greater employee mobility, and provided five practical guidelines these professionals can follow to quickly help their organizations regain their competitive edge.
Obstacle #1 – Securing data within a blurry enterprise perimeter
Cloud applications are estimated to account for a threefold risk of a $20M data breach. While most organizations already deploy 2FA when accessing the corporate VPN or email portal, most fail to extend that same level of security to virtual desktops or cloud (SaaS) applications like Office 365, GitHub and AWS, gating these resources solely with static passwords. To eliminate the vulnerabilities of phishing, brute-force attacks, credential-database hacking and generic malware, protect access to all enterprise resources with strong multi-factor authentication.
Obstacle #2 – Keeping IT overheads low
With a never-ending stream of help desk tickets to handle, and the occasional fire to put out, IT staff’s hands are already full. To keep their tickets to a minimum, let your professionals manage a single credential set per user for all enterprise resources, using a single identity provider model. This means that they will only need to provision, update, and revoke a single enterprise account for each employee for all on-premises, virtual, and cloud-based applications. Plus, deploying authentication-as-a-service can reduce management costs by up to 60%.
Obstacle #3 – Maintaining compliance across a distributed data estate
Key to maintaining compliance is visibility into access events taking place throughout an organization’s IT ecosystem. Ensure you can produce a single audit trail of all access events across resources (whether on or off-premises) regardless of the device being used in order to embrace mobility while meeting all applicable audits and regulations. You can do so by selecting a strong authentication solution that supports all the types of resources your employees need to access (VDI, portals, VPNs, SaaS, etc.).
Obstacle #4 – Providing a good user experience for employees
Offer employees convenient secure access by extending their current enterprise identity to the cloud and allowing them to concurrently gain access to all their resources with a single login instance. Further protect that single enterprise identity with strong authentication, preferring frictionless methods such as OTP apps, phone-based OOB, pattern-based and context-based authentication (among others).
Obstacle #5 – Supporting mobility within your current budget
To support mobile workforce security without any extra budget, opt for a strong authentication solution that can be delivered as a service, and offers low management overheads, over-the-air provisioning of software-based and tokenless authentication methods, and automated workflows.
To learn how simple and easy enterprise mobile security can be, check out our infographic or visit our A4 Authentication for Mobile Workforce Security microsite, and find out how you can secure access to Any Application, from Any Device, at Any Assurance Level, Anywhere.