Best of 2019: Securing mobile devices in the new 5G world

SOTI Inc. Australia

By Michael Dyson*
Monday, 23 December, 2019

Best of 2019: Securing mobile devices in the new 5G world

The introduction of 5G within Australia will present both benefits and challenges for the business sector, particularly given the growth of flexible work conditions that sees employees conduct part or all of their roles remotely, along with the prevalence of mobile workers.

The launch of 5G with its faster download and upload capabilities will deliver operational advantages, providing a more seamless work experience and improving communication with head office.

Exposed, whether you like it or not

Many businesses will be looking to upgrade to 5G in order to benefit from improved bandwidth, capacity and reliability.

But importantly, even if businesses are not planning on upgrading to 5G-enabled devices in the near term, they will still be exposed through workers bringing these devices into work (BYOD).

If businesses have workers using their own devices to access work-related data, it is crucial that they ensure that these devices are properly managed.

This could involve securing all business data so that no matter what device it is accessed from, only authorised personnel can view sensitive information, and that data can be locked down if a device is lost or stolen.

Not managing devices can be costly

It is anticipated that in the future, 5G will deliver connectivity speeds approximately 20 times faster than 4G, with low-latency capabilities able to support remote or mobile workers that require real-time access to changing data.

The enhanced video streaming capabilities presented by the 5G network will also better connect remote workers, enabling them to attend virtual meetings and provide visual updates.

While 5G presents tangible benefits for remote workers, Australian businesses will need to carefully manage the usage of their company-owned devices to ensure excessive data costs are not incurred.

For instance, in a world with ever-faster download speeds, it is crucial to manage employee device data limits.

A solution that enables network or device data usage limits to be set at a defined amount, with alerts sent when approaching the limit and data shut down once it is met, can potentially save significant amounts of money.

For businesses with workers who travel internationally, restricting data usage on mobile devices (or limiting usage overseas to Wi-Fi connectivity only) is also an important consideration given the higher rates telecommunications providers charge when a device is used outside its region.

Protect against data breaches

Data breaches, whether from data being mistakenly sent to the wrong person or a device being lost or stolen, are a key concern.

Data breaches can end up being extremely costly for businesses, not just through compensation to affected individuals and paying fines, but also through lost revenue as a result of diminished confidence in an organisation’s ability to protect sensitive information.

With 5G devices, it will be much quicker to download data mistakenly sent to the wrong contact, and for it to be sent off before the worker can fix their error.

The same could be true if the device is lost or stolen, and private data is not secured and the wrong person gets hold of the mobile device, enabling them to share its data very quickly with a 5G network before the device can be shut down remotely, if at all.

Implementing an integrated enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution will simplify the security and management of mobile devices and IoT endpoints for business-critical mobility.

Having an EMM solution in place can remotely wipe data from compromised devices and shut them down, along with preventing any sensitive information from being sent to unauthorised persons or even allowing a screenshot to be taken.

Through a single, easy-to-use interface, an integrated EMM solution can enable businesses to have full control over a variety of mobile devices across multiple operating systems, while securing confidential company data.

Secure now to prevent problems later

While many Australian businesses are aware of the need to secure critical private information, devices that connect to corporate businesses are still fundamentally undermanaged.

Alarmingly, research conducted by VDC Research revealed that only one in five organisations claims to have complete visibility into the performance of mobile technology.

With the introduction of 5G networks into Australia, with their faster connectivity and download speeds, it is crucial that businesses have the right management solutions in place that can secure confidential company data as well as provide operational benefits to their remote workers.

*Michael Dyson is the Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand at SOTI. He has 15 years’ experience working with the technology integrator and reseller community to develop and implement mobility solutions for business-critical applications.

Image credit: © Marko

This article was first published on 16 September, 2019.

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