Cybersecurity with a remote workforce: Why protecting your company’s mobile devices matters
In mainstream business, mobile devices for work activities were normalised by the unprecedented shift towards working from home in 2020. Accessing industry-specific apps on mobile devices in manufacturing, engineering, and utilities has a longer history, of course, but the shift to widespread working on personal mobiles has at least reminded us all that these devices are an attack vector for bad actors.
There’s also the operational need for mobile, and using mobile devices at work brings significant productivity benefits. As employees become more accustomed to working with mobiles at work and home, the use cases for mobile software in the workplace grow. A ruggedised tablet or phone can have multiple purposes, fostering a more connected and agile workforce away from the shop floor. In addition to communications, procurement, HR, logistics, and even data analysis can now happen on the go. But devices can be infiltrated through malicious software, phishing attacks or unsecured Wi-Fi connections, leading to unauthorised access to confidential data and accounts. Bad actors can exploit this access to steal sensitive information, place ransomware, and attack physical operations and infrastructure.
While smartphones may seem minor in the grand scheme of the company network, the consequences of their breach are anything but. A 2022 report found that 46 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that had suffered a mobile-related compromise said the impact was significant and had lasting repercussions.
Protecting an extensive fleet of mobile devices connected to the business network can be a daunting challenge, especially for SMBs lacking the resources and expertise for robust mobile device security. This is where a managed service solution offers a promising alternative to mitigate the risks associated with the increasing reliance on mobile devices. With mobile now an integral part of operations, ensuring security also helps ensure continuity of production. Managed service solutions provide comprehensive security features and expertise to manage device security, compliance and compatibility with existing workflows and systems.
A managed service provider’s expertise can ensure that all devices are set up for specific company roles, reducing the costs associated with unnecessary features and software bloat. As vendor software and mobile devices’ updates come on-stream, the service provider can pre-test the new versions before release into production, ensuring the new code will operate with all existing systems and processes. This is often undertaken in a ‘digital twin’ model, where proposed changes – however seemingly innocuous – can be run through their paces.
Depending on the role mobile devices play in a facility’s operations, different companies need different levels of support to ensure compliance, cyber safety and operational continuity. Guardian Managed Services from Renovotec are available in three tiers: Essentials, Enhanced and All-Inclusive. Unlike vendor-specific offerings, each level covers all mobile devices regardless of the software, OS and usage. And because every vendor has its own cadence for software and firmware updates and patches, the company’s specialised knowledge in the manufacturing sector ensures that updates and security fixes come into production pre-tested and to an agreed timetable.
Renovotec’s Innovation Centre runs devices side by side in testing ‘sandboxes’ that emulate its clients’ operations. After rigorous checking, any change is also run in a controlled environment on-site.
The detailed knowledge the company has accrued means it’s the perfect partner for the ongoing management of mobile devices in industry, plus it can advise on and implement fleet roll-outs or mass upgrades. Its processes keep companies’ devices safe from malware threats and fully compliant in environments where reliability and continuity are critical.
Vendors’ release cycles have been known to throw a proverbial spanner into the works: skipping over Android releases, for example, requiring an upgrade from version 11 to 13, or needing an OS out of its maker’s support period. Without an expert managed service partner, companies can suffer from third-party policies that translate into cybersecurity issues or negative impacts on operations.
Guardian Managed Services from Renovotec offers comprehensive security-focused support tiers to ensure the safety and optimal performance of the entire mobile device estate. Beyond traditional Help Desk support, it provides access to highly trained experts who handle third-party and manufacturer issues, plus the complexities of a company’s internal processes.
It’s a one-stop shop that goes further, providing actionable insight reports to help with the proactive management of a company’s hardware. With budget-friendly fixed monthly costs per device instead of per-ticket or per-incident charges, decision-makers and company owners can keep peace of mind while managing their business.
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