How to Implement Layered Security for Enterprise Mobile Device Management

November 27, 20234 min read

Implementing layered security, also known as defense in depth, involves multiple levels of security controls and policies within an enterprise to protect its mobile device ecosystem. Here’s how an organization can implement a robust layered security protocol for enterprise mobile device management:

1. Policy Development and Management

  • Define a Clear Mobile Security Policy:
    • Create comprehensive policies that include device use cases, acceptable use policies, and security requirements.
    • Ensure policies cover roles and responsibilities, data classification, and governance.
  • Continuous Policy Reviews and Updates:
    • Regularly review and update the policies to reflect new threats and changes in technology.
    • Include provisions for remote wiping and locking lost or stolen devices.

2. User Education and Training

  • Conduct Regular Security Awareness Training:
    • Educate users about the risks associated with mobile devices, including phishing attacks, social engineering tactics, and public Wi-Fi threats.
  • Promote Secure Usage:
    • Train employees on proper security practices such as strong password usage, safe browsing habits, and data sharing protocols.

3. Device Enrollment and Authentication

  • Secure Device Enrollment:
    • Implement a secure and user-friendly process for enrolling new devices into the management system.
    • Utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure only authorized users can enroll devices.
  • Strong Authentication Measures:
    • Enforce MFA for device access, which may include biometrics, one-time passwords, or hardware tokens.

4. Application Management and Control

  • App Whitelisting and Blacklisting:
    • Maintain a list of approved applications (whitelisting) that employees are allowed to install and use.
    • Automatically block the installation of unauthorized apps (blacklisting) to mitigate the risk of malware.
  • App Security Assessments:
    • Regularly review and assess the security of installed applications, including in-house and third-party apps.

5. Network Security and Connectivity

  • Encrypted Communications:
    • Ensure that data transmitted to and from mobile devices is encrypted using secure protocols such as VPNs and HTTPS.
  • Safe Wi-Fi Practices:
    • Teach users how to detect and avoid insecure Wi-Fi networks.
    • Provide secure access to corporate networks for remote work.

6. Data Security and Encryption

  • On-Device Data Encryption:
    • Encrypt sensitive data stored on the devices to protect it in case the device is lost or stolen.
    • Utilize remote wipe capabilities to erase data from compromised devices.
  • Secure Data Transfer Protocols:
    • Implement protocols like S/MIME for secure email communication.

7. Regular Security Updates and Patch Management

  • Timely OS and App Updates:
    • Deploy automatic updates for operating systems and applications to protect against vulnerabilities.
    • Monitor devices for compliance with the latest security patches.
  • Patch Management Process:
    • Have a well-defined process for testing and rolling-out patches across the mobile fleet.

8. Continuous Monitoring and Incident Response

  • Real-time Device Monitoring:
    • Use mobile device management (MDM) solutions to continuously monitor device security posture.
    • Set up alerts for suspicious activities such as jailbreaking, rooting, or multiple failed login attempts.
  • Incident Response Plan:
    • Develop a robust response plan for security incidents, including clear guidelines for escalation, communication, and mitigation steps.

9. Physical Security of Devices

  • Asset Tracking:
    • Keep an inventory of all mobile devices in use and their assigned users.
    • Use GPS or other tracking technology to locate lost or stolen devices.
  • Protection Against Theft:
    • Employ physical security measures such as secure device storage when not in use.

When implementing a layered security strategy for mobile device management, it is important to balance the need for security with usability. Overly restrictive policies or cumbersome procedures may prompt users to find workarounds, which can introduce new security risks. To effectively manage mobile security in an enterprise, all layers should work harmoniously, and the end result should be a secure yet flexible environment that supports business operations while protecting corporate data.