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Navigating Compliance and Security Challenges in Mobile Device Management and Endpoint Security

In a rapidly evolving landscape of mobile devices and diverse enterprise environments, understanding regulatory demands and ensuring endpoint security is vital for businesses. The surge in mobile device usage has brought new operational, security, and compliance challenges, making compliance frameworks essential. We spoke with Weldon Dodd, SVP of Community, Kandji, to delve into the significance of compliance frameworks, the role of Mobile Device Management (MDM) in enforcing compliance, and best practices for organizations striving to align security and compliance in today's dynamic tech landscape.

Weldon Dodd, SVP of Community, Kandji

As BYOD expands and enterprises become more heterogeneous, why is it crucial for companies to understand the requirements surrounding regulation and security for endpoint devices?

The modern enterprise is a mobile enterprise. No longer are employees tethered to a cubicle and a corporate issued PC. Instead, corporate users rely on a wide variety of mobile devices to stay productive no matter where they’re physically located.

However, the rapid growth of mobile devices brings with it a number of evolving operational, security, and compliance challenges. Increasingly, endpoint devices are being targeted by threat actors who recognize that once they can successfully compromise a trusted device, they can quickly escalate administrative privileges in order to infiltrate broader network systems.

Given that the typical enterprise manages approximately 135,000 endpoint devices, there’s no shortage of targets for a bad actor to choose from. Decades ago, the vast majority of devices connecting to the corporate network were based on the Windows OS, today’s ‘consumerized’ enterprise must accommodate a broad array of devices running on iOS, Android, and various Linux flavors, each with their own unique security and compliance considerations.

What are some examples of compliance frameworks and what benefits do they deliver to organizations?

While securing a sprawling universe of endpoint devices remains a key focus for enterprise CISOs, intertwined with this challenge is another critical concern: compliance. For organizations operating within highly regulated sectors, such as government, healthcare, and financial services, compliance isn't just a legal necessity – it's a cornerstone of trust.

Frameworks like SOC 2 and ISO 27001 establish essential controls and programs to safeguard data security, user privacy, and data availability. Adherence to these standards underscores a company's commitment to established security protocols, while regular checks and audits reinforce ongoing conformity with industry-accepted best practices.

While IT and security leaders grapple with securing an ever expanding ecosystem of endpoint devices on the one hand, they must also simultaneously address the compliance implications associated with these user devices.

What is mobile device management and how does it improve compliance?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) allows organizations to remotely configure, monitor, and manage the device, applications, and data used by their employees. Enterprise organizations rely on MDM to ensure data security, enforce corporate policies, and streamline device deployment and management. A well-tuned MDM program helps protect organizational data by requiring users and devices to establish and meet compliance policies.

MDM can improve these compliance policies as MDM has inherent auditing and reporting capabilities, empower IT departments to oversee crucial metrics and device usage seamlessly. Moreover, with government regulators intensifying their scrutiny on data protection and implementing stringent privacy laws worldwide, leveraging MDM's robust encryption and data management capabilities becomes not just a strategic move for security, but also a crucial step in ensuring regulatory compliance.

Are there some best practices that make it easier for an organization to achieve compliance?

Compliance doesn’t have to be a painful exercise and done right it can be a powerful lens by which to guide your decision making. It’s better in the long-run to uncover the gaps in your security posture via your own internal audits than to find out in a security breach or in a live incident. One practice to make it easier could be to use scorecards to benchmark progress and to help prioritize urgent issues. Voluntary compliance helps orgs create a scorecard to measure their progress and benchmark against industry peers. Key tracking metrics could include the percentage of devices with up-to-date security patches, the number of devices with unapproved apps, or the proportion of devices using encrypted communications. Remember, compliance is not a one-time process; it requires continuous monitoring and updates. It’s important to be mindful of the human element and how to teach users how to protect themselves within the context of different compliance frameworks.

While compliance can feel like an onerous burden that stifles innovation, it can also serve as a roadmap to better security, improved governance, and shared accountability. As the enterprise continues to embrace new technologies and endpoints, a new generation of MDM tools figure to play an important role in integrating these elements, ensuring they not only coexist but also thrive. ###


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