Episode 4: Addressing Cybersecurity with UEM

[Intro Music: “Tech House vibes” by Alejandro Magaña (A. M.)]

TUN XIANG: Welcome to Mobility@Work and my name is Tun Xiang from SYNDES Technologies. We at SYNDES cover the must-have technologies for your business to keep you ahead of the curve.

[Intro Music: “Tech House vibes” by Alejandro Magaña (A. M.)]

TUN XIANG: Today, we’ll be talking about cybersecurity, which is quite a popular topic lately in the technology world with Amith from Mitsogo. Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important concern as more parts of the world embrace digital technologies. The growing adoption and reliance on devices leads to concerns of data leaks or unauthorised access. Protecting ourselves in the digital world is now just as important as in the physical world. But we can’t deny the portability of mobile devices ensuring work can be done almost anywhere. It also plays a role in fast-tracking digitisation around the world and raising digital literacy. 

That said, we’re interested to know about the role of UEM in regards to maintaining security and privacy in the digital world. If you have not yet known what UEM is about, feel free to listen back to our previous podcast episode. We’ve talked about it in depth and how powerful it is, so, for today, Amith, could you elaborate with us on how Hexnode deals with cybersecurity?

AMITH: Alright, so, hey there, everyone. Hope everyone’s having a good day so far. In today’s times, employees using laptops, mobile devices and other devices need to access data from everywhere, be it within the office while working from home or while travelling. So, enterprises also contain a mix of windows, macOS computers, along with personal phones going to the, you know, BYOD policies that we mentioned before. And I don’t see this setup changing anytime soon, so this calls for a strong security system that enhances the organisation’s security. 

Hexnode takes cybersecurity pretty seriously. Being a UEM solution, security and data privacy has always been an integral part of our product and we ensure at most security to your devices and their data. We’ve set a well-defined set of policies, stringent rules and encryption methodologies on the transmission, processing and storage of data we collect from our customers and their devices. And our network security system incorporates a dedicated security team and modern technologies to defend the cloud, client devices and data managed by them from unauthorised activities and attacks.

TUN XIANG: Hmm. I assumed at first like biodiversity in real life, having a diverse ecosystem of smart devices would create more protection overall. But however, since hackers nowadays are very competent in how various operating systems work, especially with some being more vulnerable than others like Windows, you know, It’s just a matter of being the path of least resistance within the network regardless of the diversity, unfortunately. And that’s on top of tweaking security policies for each device because as we all know, every system it’s running on works differently. So, I’m really hoping the security part of Hexnode is up to the mark. Let’s go into further detail, yeah? What sort of security does UEM provide to ensure the data store is confidential and secure?

AMITH: Well, data confidentiality and user privacy are something that should not be taken lightly, especially among enterprises. In an enterprise, as part of a BYOD policy when employees enrol their personal devices for corporate use, enterprises take it as their utmost priority to protect their employees’ personal data. In fact, there are quite a few regulations in place, such as, let’s say, GDPR that direct uh organisations to recognise and enforce user privacy, and severely penalise companies that violate these regulations. People think that UEM solutions are a deterrent to user privacy. They believe that the UEM agent installed on their personal devices can access and monitor your personal data and information. That’s just not the case at all.

TUN XIANG: OK. So, I’ll ask you a couple of questions I have with me and you can answer whether a UEM can access that information.

AMITH: Let’s do this.

TUN XIANG: So, the first question is can a UEM see my device screen?

AMITH: If it’s a personal device, then no, it cannot. Neither can the UEM agent remotely control your device. However, it is possible for IT admins to view and/or control the device screen for corporate-owned devices. As mentioned earlier, UEMs like Hexnode can also configure policies, set up device restrictions and network configurations, and push remote actions to personal devices, including enable lost mode and corporate data wipe.

TUN XIANG: Alright, I see. So, the next question is can a UEM see my personal messages, calls and chats?

AMITH: Nope, UEMs cannot view your messages or calls on your behalf. Such an act would be an invasion of user privacy and it’s just not possible.

TUN XIANG: That’s great to know. Alright, next question, yeah? Can a UEM collect my web browsing history?

AMITH: Hmm, UEMs cannot collect information on the websites you visit, be it your IP address, browsing history, cookie data, and other such personal data. However, it is possible to block access to specified websites that are deemed dangerous by your enterprise, with web content filtering policies, but that basically works on URLS.

TUN XIANG: I see. Alright, so, moving on to the next question, can a UEM view and access my apps, files and pictures?

AMITH: Nope, enrolling your personal device into A UEM solution does not provide IT access with your personal photos or apps.

TUN XIANG: Alright, great. So, here’s the last question: Can a UEM see my passwords?

AMITH: This one’s pretty obvious, but nope. A UEM software cannot store or view your passwords. That would be again a violation of user privacy and that would be punishable by law.

TUN XIANG: Yeah. These are great responses to all those questions, Amith. I really like how you flip the question around as in something along the lines about UEM working against privacy.

With your responses to the questions, you basically address how UEM can keep sensitive data secure in the end. It’d be really ironic and concerning if something that’s meant to ensure your work devices’ security ends up compromising it. These questions should be asked in Malaysia too as we have our own Personal Data Protection Act to comply with. 

So, next up, one thing our listeners may be concerned about is are there any security gaps introduced with mobile devices? What other mobile security solutions does Hexnode use to fill these gaps?

AMITH: Well, where do I begin? So, mobiles are an extension of ourselves with about six billion people worldwide using a mobile phone right now, right from monitoring their heartbeats to taking selfies. However, this has led to a significant rise in mobile threats. Some of these include data leakage through apps, network spoofing, encryption gaps, outdated OS, poor password habits… UEMs like Hexnode do everything in their power to ensure the ideal mobile experience. You’ll be able to set permissions and restrictions on apps, allowing you to control what information the app will be able to access. 

Hackers set up a fake Wi-Fi hotspot in public places all the time that require users to provide their emails and password. I think the rest is pretty self-explanatory. With Hexnode, you can configure Wi-Fi settings such that you can restrict users from connecting to a particular network apart from the corporate networks. Apart from that, always ensure employees access organisation resources using a VPN. Hexnode can do that. Hexnode provides you with a whole suite of security features to manage and encrypt your corporate devices from a central console. Even in the worst case scenario of your employee losing their device, you’d be able to remotely lock and encrypt the devices. The fate of the employee who lost the device, though [laughs] that’s up to you. [laughs] Apart from that, the strong password policies can be assigned to all your enterprise devices. Restrictions on a password’s length, complexity, age, history, attempts before the device wipe and, you know, screen auto-lock and features such as that.

TUN XIANG: It’s really reassuring to learn about the security measures in place to protect mobile devices. There are plenty of users who started using smartphones without learning how to use a computer, so I suspect there’s a huge chunk of users who are not as tech-savvy serving as easy targets for these security exploits. For example, keying in your details for Wi-Fi hotspots is like second nature since so many genuine hotspots want your data too for whatever purpose. It’s somewhat like placing our bank cards in the ATM scanners when it’s possible someone might have installed a card skimmer. Oh-

AMITH: Exactly.

TUN XIANG: Yeah, let’s not get started with the same group of people failing to update their phones, you know, using an outdated OS and if not that, using the same or weak password across different websites, you know. Something like passwords, it’s crazy.

AMITH: Yeah.

TUN XIANG: I can see how UEM comes in with all these ways to protect both the employer and employees so human ignorance or error won’t make way for compromising everyone’s precious data.

Alright, do your company clients themselves worry about privacy breaches when using UEM? For example, if a rival company’s program or app installed a device and turns out to be passively recording a private conversation, what features does UEM provide to help mitigate these issues?

AMITH: Well, the concern is pretty valid. As mentioned earlier, there would be a notion that given how UEMs monitor and have access to your personal data, there’d be concerns. Like I said, we have a well-defined set of policies, stringent rules and encryption methodologies to take care of the data and privacy. And apart from that, there are regulations set in place like GDPR and HIPAA for medical institutions, which established the ground rules for collecting user data. So, you mentioned privacy breach, yup? Well, UEMs are used to prevent the very privacy breaches you mentioned. 

With Hexnode, enterprises can set up compliance settings, containerisation policies for enrolled personal devices, allowing IT to separate and secure both corporate and personal resources on the device. And for your very specific example about a rival app being installed for malicious purposes, there are more than a couple of ways to ensure that doesn’t happen in the first place. First, with Hexnode, you can restrict access to the Play Store or App Store completely. You can also provide access to any website using a web content filtering whitelist and blacklist policy. So, you can remotely block or give access to particular websites. In case these aren’t followed and the person does manage to install the app, the IT admin can uninstall the app remotely from the Hexnode portal as well.

TUN XIANG: Definitely. You know, regulations are so important and we all have a part in making sure it’s enforced. If anyone gets caught breaking those regulations, their actions should always be reportable. Here’s hoping that the authorities will take action as soon as possible if that happens. It’s good- 

AMITH: Yeah.

TUN XIANG: Yeah, to list out those features that are meant to prevent privacy features, especially whitelisting and blacklisting. It’s really a huge shame that Google Play Protect or the App Store can’t 100% protect the user from malicious apps. But at least we have an additional layer to complement their security measures with UEM, right? You know, it’s idiot-proofing the whole system in a way. 

AMITH: Exactly, it is.

TUN XIANG: I appreciate the time you’ve taken to explain about the relationship between UEM and cybersecurity, Amith. Before we call it an episode, what other concerns are there about UEM that you know of that you would like to address?

AMITH: Well, I’m strongly in favour of organisations  adopting UEMs obviously. I mean, we’ve covered two episodes about UEM and its benefits, and it’s so evident that UEM is a big deal. The bigger the organisation, the greater the number of devices, the bigger the security concerns and ultimately, bigger the headaches for the IT team having to manage all those devices manually. And UEMs would greatly help in reducing the headache. So, do yourself and more importantly your IT admin a favour and start considering a UEM for your organisation. Have a great day, guys. Cheers.

TUN XIANG: Same to you, Amith. Thank you so much for your time. I don’t think UEM should face any problems, regardless of the number of devices. And let’s hope more organisations do their IT department a favour and hop on the UEM bandwagon.

[Outro Music: “Tech House vibes” by Alejandro Magaña (A. M.)]

TUN XIANG: Thank you for joining us on this episode of the podcast with Amith from Mitsogo. Amith will be sticking around for a few more episodes to talk with us about MDM and Mitsogo’s one of a kind UEM solution, Hexnode. Do check out our website syndes.biz and follow us on social media for more content about managing your businesses with technologies. I am Tun Xiang and thank you for listening to Mobility@Work. Stay tuned for the next episode. Goodbye for now!

[Outro Music: “Tech House vibes” by Alejandro Magaña (A. M.)]

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