How Mobile Device Management Can Help Eliminate Shadow IT

Nov 19, 2019

The occurrence of Shadow IT puts companies in a vulnerable security position as it increases the chances of potential cyber attacks. In addition to this, Shadow IT can also lead to wasted time and financial loss within the company. There are many ways to manage and eliminate the risks associated with Shadow IT. In this article, we’ll discuss how the implementation of Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions can assist in eliminating Shadow IT for good.

How Mobile Device Management Can Help Eliminate Shadow IT

(Pixabay / StockSnap)

1. Access Control

It’s important for corporate IT departments to have control over which technologies are used on the company’s network. It’s the IT department’s duty to ensure that all technologies used within the workplace are secure, effective, and operate within legal boundaries. However, with the rise in usage of cloud-based technologies and BYOD in the workplace, it’s becoming more difficult for IT departments to maintain control and perform their duties successfully.

This is where MDM solutions can come in handy. MDM software has the ability to allocate different levels of access to different users. For example, the CIO can be granted access to a wider variety of functions than a general employee, ensuring that the latter will not be able to install any applications or other software without proper approval from the IT department.

2. Open Communication via MDM Apps

A lot of personnel have minimum contact with the IT team (until their system acts up). Hence, they may love WhatsApp or Skype but fail to figure out why these services are limited. Don’t make the mistake of threatening them or abruptly blocking their access as it will only lead to animosity.

Instead, try using MDM messaging apps to communicate with your staff, clarifying why certain apps and services are restricted. Also, give them an opportunity to explain why they require access to certain services or software. If the reason is legitimate, let them use the applications for a short period. Keeping lines of communication between IT and staff members open can go a long way in achieving compliance with MDM policies.

3. Containerization

Employees may turn to Shadow IT because it’s more convenient for them to use tools they are familiar with. In this case, employees’ need for freedom needs to be respected while maintaining corporate asset security and safety. MDM software has the ability to containerize business data and apps from personal data and apps.

With containerization, the IT department can fully control corporate resources on mobile devices, including installation, modification, monitoring, restriction, deletion and even remote wipe, while leaving employees’ personal data and applications intact.

4. Network Monitoring

MDM solutions equip IT admins with the ability to monitor device network usage continuously. This helps them to identify and act on any security breach attempts remotely. It is recommended that the network be monitored for new and unknown devices on a regular basis. The most practical way to achieve this is to incorporate network monitoring into routine vulnerability scanning.

Another effective way of monitoring the network would be to analyze the log data from firewalls, proxies, and MDM software. This will give insight into which cloud-based services are being used outside of the IT department’s scope, as well as who is using them and how regularly data is uploaded or downloaded.

5. Convenient Device Administration

MDM solutions have created a convenient way for IT admins to handle all device administration and security for different OS-type devices from a single platform. Security options include:

  • Automated registration of staff members together with their personal devices
  • Automated assignment of guidelines that are specific to BYOD
  • Installation and removal of mobile apps
  • Encryption of data
  • Granting or denying permission to access data and apps
  • Geo-fencing (both single and multiple)
  • Locking and unlocking of devices
  • Administration of user profiles
  • Configuration of email accounts

6. Automated Registration

MDM solutions are often equipped to be able to accommodate corporate device registrations. As such, users of a mobile device can be sent an email message that enables them to register their smartphone and then gain access to the applications they want. This eliminates the need to share a protected key that could result in serious disruption if it falls into an adversary’s hands.

The procedure also removes the IT department from the burden of having to manually register every single user’s new device in order for them to gain access to their email inbox.

Conclusion

Employees are not always aware of the serious risks that Shadow IT poses to company security. The implementation of MDM solutions is an effective way of mitigating these risks. It allows IT departments to take back control of the technologies used in companies and enables them to ensure the integrity of data without negatively influencing employees’ productivity.

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