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The past, present and future of mobile device security

Empowering mobility is about more than giving employees smartphones. Here’s how to keep your mobile data secure and your employees productive—both now and in the future.

A finger touching a touchscreen

Mobility isn’t one-size-fits-all. Some employees spend most of their time at their desks while others rarely set foot in the office. And many employees mix it up as required.

A successful mobile-first strategy lets employees choose how they want to work and accommodates their needs. For example, some employees may want to use their trusted devices, while others prefer to keep their business and personal lives (and smartphones) separate.

When you give employees a positive, user-friendly experience across all their devices, you can increase productivity at all levels of your company.

Employees who work for mobile-friendly companies are more productive, creative, satisfied and loyal.

Many companies use mobile device management (MDM) tools to promote mobility while they keep their devices secure. With MDM, you can provision and track corporate-owned devices. You can also lock and wipe devices if they are lost or stolen.

But MDM only secures the actual device. It doesn’t protect data you store in remote servers or the cloud, which can create challenges if employees access this information from their mobile devices.

Companies are overcoming the limitations of MDM by moving to enterprise mobility management (EMM). With EMM, you get all the features of MDM, plus additional tools that enhance mobility and data security:

Mobile application management

Mobile security isn’t just about protecting your devices; it’s also about securing the applications on these devices.

With EMM, you can create a secure area, called a container, on each employee’s device. Then, you can drop all the corporate apps they need into this container. The container is separate from employees’ personal apps, so they don’t need to worry about their boss or the IT department checking out their personal data.

EMM also makes provisioning employee-owned devices easy. When a new employee turns on their smartphone or tablet, they will have immediate access to all their productivity apps. They don’t need to install anything themselves or change their settings.

If an employee leaves the company and keeps their personal device, you simply wipe their container to remove access to any business applications.

With mobile application management, you can also reduce employee data usage. When you give employees corporate-owned devices, you can control which applications they can and can’t use. For example, you can give them Office 365 but block Netflix. This can keep your data costs down and help you better manage your wireless budget.

Mobile content management

In addition to securing applications, EMM also protects your content by ensuring only authorized people view it. With mobile content management, you can keep your content secure as it moves between corporate and personal mobile devices.

For example, a sales rep may send a confidential proposal to a prospect. They can add authentication to the document so only the client can open it. They can also allow recipients to open documents but not print, save or forward them.

With EMM, you can also keep close track of your mobile data. Mobile content management allows you to monitor when employees open and distribute corporate files. You can run reports that show you if employees are trying to access locked content. You can also block employees from viewing or sharing specific files.

In the future, companies will move beyond EMM to unified endpoint management (UEM). With UEM, you can continue to cover corporate-owned and employee personal devices. However, UEM extends your mobility strategy by allowing you to support a broader range of devices, such as wearables and IoT endpoints.

The number of worldwide IoT devices is expected to grow from 23.14 billion this year to 75.44 billion by 2025. Meanwhile, North American wearable sales will more than double by 2021. A UEM strategy gives you a jumpstart on controlling all of the new devices that will find their way to your network.