Living and working in a mobile environment creates opportunities for dynamic workplace productivity and flexibility, but these opportunities have also generated a heightened amount of cybersecurity vulnerabilities across enterprise systems and network endpoints. The 2022 Verizon Mobile Security Index, which features Ivanti insights, found that almost 60% of public sector organizations said that while the use of internet-of-things devices is essential to accelerating innovation, it is a daunting security and privacy challenge.
Many of the challenges that accompany a mobile workforce land on IT teams within organizations. In fact, 79% of organizations agreed that remote working had negatively impacted their cybersecurity and increased the burden on security teams. This can create strain both on individuals and the overall organization, which I’ve found is often heightened by various additional limiting factors, including cybersecurity workforce shortages and talent struggles.
Nevertheless, 85% of respondents said that “flexibility in where they work and what devices they can use will be important to attracting the best new talent.” The 2022 Ivanti Digital Employee Experience Report identified that 59% of respondents are managing mobile devices as IT assets, showing the greater reliance on devices other than traditional computer setups. Additionally, with 69% of knowledge workers globally working remotely at least 25% of the time, there are not only more devices being used, but they also are accessing more business applications and data than ever before.
Overall, organizations should keep up with changing workplace expectations without risking cybersecurity. I believe it is possible to maintain this balance if organizations prioritize vulnerabilities and take a proactive approach to security. Here are three recommendations to secure and protect mobile endpoints at every stage:
1. BUILD INTERNAL AWARENESS OF RISK
Providing all employees with guidance and communication about the security risks that accompany mobility can equip employees to recognize and help prevent risks from turning into active threats. By educating employees on common mechanisms of attack, including password compromise, phishing, and malicious content, you can give them a more comprehensive view of the goals and concerns of IT teams. Essentially, this can serve to integrate cybersecurity awareness into the everyday activity of individuals and benefit the entire organization.
2. PRE-IDENTIFY VULNERABILITIES AND, IN TURN, SECURE YOUR SYSTEMS
Having a comprehensive view of all the devices in the enterprise and prioritizing vulnerabilities in your system can help decrease the overall potential for a successful attack. This will require more up-front investment but can prepare systems to withstand compromise and continuously maintain a more secure environment. Utilizing mobile device management and developing unified endpoint management are just two ways to ensure your systems are secure far before an attack ever happens.
3. UTILIZE TECHNOLOGY TO IDENTIFY RISKS QUICKLY AND MITIGATE DAMAGE
Finally, organizations should utilize programs and technologies that can prioritize vulnerabilities that are actually being exploited and automate the response or remediation. This removes some of the burden on individual IT teams and can allow for faster and more accurate responses to active exploits.
Seventy percent of public sector respondents to the MSI said that the use of mobile devices is essential to the modernization of digital delivery of citizen-facing services. While mobility poses new challenges to organizations and IT teams, I believe the flexibility and opportunity mobile work brings are non-negotiable for many employees. Added and continued investment into risk-based vulnerability management, orchestration and automation, and other innovative technologies can allow for companies to align with the expectations of a dynamic workforce and contribute to the overall security of an everywhere workplace.