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How niche financial service companies can keep mobile data secure

Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Combining Windows 10 and AirWatch makes it easy to manage today’s mobile enterprise so teams are productive and compliant

• Windows 10 is Microsoft’s first truly mobile operating system
• Combining Windows 10 with AirWatch makes new technology accessible to smaller organisations
• Employees can work remotely while keeping corporate data secure
• Mobile devices are no longer tethered to the corporate IT system, making them easy to manage

Small and specialist financial services companies can be forgiven for thinking that, because they are not large corporate entities, mobile devices and their security either isn’t relevant to them, or isn’t achievable.

But regardless of organisation size, we live and work in a mobile world; one that pivots round the ongoing quest for ever more flexible and functional mobile technology.

Niche organisations now have access to new technology via cloud and mobile
In 2015, Microsoft launched Windows 10 – its first truly mobile operating system – in what has been called a paradigm shift for the company. This change in approach was driven by the recognition that, while large scale enterprise IT still has its place, the business environment is increasingly cloud and mobile focused.

Cloud and mobile offerings serve large corporates, but their on-demand, ‘As-a-Service’ attributes also make them accessible and affordable for a growing army of ambitious and innovative small organisations, with use of the latest technologies enabling them to punch above their weight.

Windows 10 therefore supports niche financial services companies, enabling them to tie together desktop and mobile experiences, in a way that is fully secure and compliant.

Managing risk in the connected world
In a previous blog post ‘The age of the mobile workforce has more opportunities – but also more risk’ we go into detail about the fundamental ways in which having permanent access to a portable personal device has changed the way we work. The increasingly blurred line between personal and professional lives sees users wanting to use the device with which they are most comfortable rather than one provided by their employer, for example. This connected world, while dynamic and productive, opens organisations up to more risk, not least because it means data no longer sits safely inside an impermeable organisational wall.

Windows 10 and AirWatch give equal priority to mobile working and corporate security
Windows 10, combined with VMware’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) tool, Airwatch, lets companies embrace this growing modus operandi that sees people work in a variety of locations, whether that is their company office, on their commute, at home, at clients’ offices, while travelling, etc, with mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets.

EMM has been developed to handle the potential security issues of remote working. Employees more comfortable using their own device rather than one chosen by the company can do so without compromising corporate information, for example. Personal and business data is separated, with strict controls to prevent sensitive information being shared outside a defined scope. Segregating data in this way allows the organisation to control and even erase all work documents without touching a user’s personal documents and photos; this is especially useful when a person leaves the company.

Devices can also be fully encrypted and then wiped remotely, significantly reducing the risk of business information falling into the wrong hands.

Mobile device management is no longer restricted by corporate IT infrastructure
The cloud-based nature of Windows 10 means laptops and mobile devices are no longer tethered by a virtual leash to an on-premise corporate IT infrastructure. This is nothing short of a revolution in terms of managing a company’s technology.

Without cloud technology, the IT administration of devices typically needs to take place within the corporate domain. For example, the company selects the make and model of laptop and each is configured to a set specification; this ‘imaging’ means that every device in corporate circulation is a clone, with all employees having a ‘standard issue’ computer.

A Systems Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) handles activities such as upgrades and patching, but requires machines to be physically brought back to the IT department. It’s not hard to see why this isn’t always practical.

Remote devices (and therefore corporate data) remain secure and compliant
The combined force of Windows 10 and AirWatch makes this a different game entirely.

Corporate data on personal devices
Employees can have AirWatch added to their own laptops and smartphones or purchase the machine of their choice, pre-installed with AirWatch. In both scenarios, the apps relevant to their role are automatically downloaded to devices, which can be remotely managed to be secure and compliant so that corporate data is protected.

Security patching
This sees AirWatch handle security patching for example, as well as the Windows 10 Semi-Annual User Cycle, which produces software updates every six months (while beneficial for users, this is a huge headache for systems admins, tasked with keeping the network secure).

Encryption
The status of AirWatch-enabled devices can be reported in real-time. This reduces the chance that they are lost or stolen, but those that are can be rendered worthless through the whole-device encryption enabled by AirWatch.

Virus management
Meanwhile, instead of corporate anti-virus checks that verify information coming into the organisation, AirWatch focuses on rules and processes. For example, a full virus scan could be required every week; if this hasn’t taken place, or the device is shown to have a virus, access to corporate documents is denied.

Sophisticated mobile security is straightforward – find out how with Lanware
Using the AirWatch portal with Windows 10 enables the sophisticated levels of security and compliance that are essential in the mobile world. At the same time it takes a common-sense approach; it is straightforward for both users and IT admins, allowing as it does many activities to be performed in one-click.

Windows 10 and AirWatch make an organisation mobile by default. As well as this becoming business-critical in terms of productivity and effectiveness, it is a prerequisite to attract the increasingly ‘digital-native’ workforce, which is less likely to accept the restraints imposed by the more traditional way of working within corporate boundaries.

To find out how Lanware can help your company combine the benefits of Windows 10 and AirWatch, please get in touch.

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