Content Filtering

A Guide to Content Filtering for Mobile

This report from Wandera explores the benefits of implementing content filtering within organisations.

Whilst seen by many as an old-fashioned solution that remove employee’s freedom; the reality is that it can solve many difficult mobile challenges facing enterprises today. The ease with which mobile devices can access content means they are becoming increasingly difficult to manage and control by enterprise IT departments. Considering that mobile usage has now surpassed that of desktop and laptop it has never been more essential for corporations to ensure that content filtering is extended to mobile devices and not reserved for desktops and laptops.

Mobile content filtering allows organisations to clearly articulate to employees what their ‘acceptable usage’ policy is, which apps are approved for download and which classifications of websites are permitted all whilst mitigating the risk of employee misuse.

THE TRENDS

1. With so much work now happening on mobile, the ability to discover and control data becomes critical.

2. The significant confusion from employees as to what constitutes acceptable use on mobile. Unlike traditional PCs, there is a stronger perception that mobile devices, even when corporate owned or corporate liable, are ‘unmanaged’ employee devices. Despite this, the company can be held legally liable in the event of an incident.

3. A greater opportunity for information leaks or productivity drain. The long tail of over four million apps that can be easily installed by users makes potential unapproved usage much more likely. The same is true for the countless website and domains accessible via mobile web browsers.

4. The overall lack of visibility for administrators into how users are engaging with apps and content through their mobile browser. Carriers often provide only aggregate data usage with limited granularity.

5. The impact of reduced controls is only starting to be addressed, for example, in Apple’s Device Enrolment Program. On Supervised Devices, enterprise-level controls are being introduced to begin to address the imbalance and return some control from users to the enterprise.

SHADOW IT AND FILE-SHARING

Shadow IT refers to the unapproved technology that conflicts with existing IT policy or services.

Traditionally administrators would employ numerous tools and mature user expectations to tackle these issues. However, considering that the extensive mobile device usage is a relatively new concept to the corporate world, IT departments are struggling to implement similar effective policies across their mobile fleets.

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT?

  • Due to the large amount of different network that mobiles can connect to it is far more difficult to manage the devices
  • Companies are often unaware of which apps are downloaded, which websites are visited or which services are accessed
  • Sites and apps can be used for both business and personal use
  • Employees will often use external or even personal file-sharing services such as Dropbox or Google Drive to share business related documents often without the company’s knowledge

PREVENTATIVE SECURITY

The multitude of apps available for mobile users introduces added risk into a business’ infrastructure. The quick turnaround expected of app designers and the emphasis on usability means that often security falls to the bottom of the priority list.

SOLUTION

Content filtering provides a proactive approach to security allowing for the ability to block the riskier sites and apps, helping to eliminate exposure to many threats before they manifest.

PRODUCTIVITY GAIN

As well as maintaining information security CIOs and their team must also support and help maintain employee productivity. Mobile devices present a unique challenge when compared as the user has access to web surfing at any time which includes games and apps that disrupt their work. Wandera found that most corporate devices are used for recreational activity for an average of 30 minutes during a typical working day.

SOLUTION

Implementing content filtering on an organisation’s mobile devices means that IT administrators can block users from having access to corporate phones, eliminating the productivity drain.

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS

The new tough GDPR regulations mean that now more than ever employers are liable for the actions of their employees. This can often lead to large fines and damage to the company’s reputation if the offending employee is involved in any wrongful, negligent or intentionally tort activity. Employers can also suffer the same fate if employees infringe copyright.

SOLUTION

  • Prevent employees from using peer-to-peer networking sites to download copyrighted videos and music
  • Prevent access to content deemed to be offensive such as pornography, weapons or hate speech
  • Restrict access to social networks on corporate mobile devices unless thought necessary for an employee’s job role
  • Have HR produce a social media policy that provides guidelines on how employees should/should not express opinions and post information on social media sites, blogs and other sites

MOBILE EXPENSE MANAGEMENT

Mobile content filtering provides an opportunity to gain a tangible return on investment. Wandera customers reported an increase in the growth in video content usage using mobile data from 5.2% to 57.4% between January to May. This can be attributed mainly to the use of personal apps such as YouTube and Netflix. This can lead to huge bill shock cases which can be avoided using content filtering.

On average, it was found that organisations saved 35% on data expenditure after content filtering was implemented.

SOLUTION

  • With real-time access to the mobile activity of staff, mobility admins can create alerts and workflows to address data consumption issues as they emerge. They can also customise policy depending on the department, for individual users or during expensive overseas trips.
  • The notifications and analytics features are useful for both admins and employees alike. Research from Wandera has shown that by simply alerting users to their data usage in real time helps to inspire behavioural change and provoke user-driven cost reduction

SUMMARY

It is evident now that content filtering on mobile devices has evolved from a should have to a must-have. It is no longer good enough to reserve a high level of scrutiny for managing desktop computers whilst neglecting mobile devices.

As demonstrated in the information above, content filtering can be applied to a range of challenges across the organisation. To find out how to implement content filtering from Wandera whilst enhancing employee productivity, tackling obscure and expensive data costs and protecting your company from legal liability and corporate risk then get in touch.