The role of MDM in compliance

By Nick Taylor,Key Account Manager – UK & IE Finance, Jamf

The financial crash of 2007 set in motion a level of scrutiny, policy oversight and public pressure that is still having a significant impact on financial institutions. Legacy brands face the highest level of compliance to everything from personal data of customers to internal processes. This, alongside legal demands such as GDPR, has led the need for millions to be spent not only remaining compliant but demonstrating it to regulatory boards.

To sustain profits and ensure that they remain compliant, financial institutions are constantly looking for the best technology and means to deploy that technology across thousands of employees. This is where the importance of Mobile Device Management (MDM) has never been greater, as more and more devices mean a greater chance of a mistake being made.

From controlling rogue devices in the hands of employees that are in the process of leaving to deploying same day updates, MDM solutions have begun to play a key role in ensuring compliance and operational efficiency. It’s not just the way devices are managed either, but the devices that being used in the first place.

An apple a day keeps the maintenance away 

One of the biggest trends across financial institutions has been the rise of Apple devices within the workplace. This may not seem like a big deal, but with IBM recently revealing that only 7 engineers are needed to support the deployment of over 200,000 Mac devices, compared to 20 for Windows-based, the operational efficiency for large financial institutions is clear. The fewer engineers you need to be dealing with maintenance, the more you have available to deal with the task of demonstrating compliance and improving processes.

It’s not just in-house equipment that IT needs to worry about either.

Protecting inside and outside the four walls

 There was already a lot of important and private data to be protected, but with the advent of GDPR, financial organisations took on even more responsibility for ensuring this data is safe. What makes this task so onerous is that there are often thousands of employees using not only desktop computers, but smartphones, tablets and personal laptops. Add into this the fact that many employees are looking to access information remotely, and you have a mammoth task for IT to stay on top of making sure every device is only being used by the right person, at the right time.

Where MDM solutions come in here is that they allow for IT to remotely lock remotely lock and wipe a device, reset a passcode, or deploy or remove apps across a whole suite of devices. Additionally, same day updates can be rolled out without the employee needing to do anything.

MDM also helps comply with GDPR through the following:

    • Insights into how apps are being used and what data is being collected
    • Keeping personal and business data separate
    • Helping maintain proper data audits

Ultimately, for large institutions to stay on top of compliance, they need to be able to reduce the dependency on large IT teams, maintain control over every device and be aware of what ever employee is using their different devices for.

Learning from the new kids on the block

Many smaller fin-tech start-ups have risen in prominence since the financial crash, thanks to their ability to quickly adopt new services without legacy infrastructure holding them back. Because they have less resources, they have looked at the ways for smaller IT teams to manage and be able to scale.  MDM has been a cornerstone of this, as it lets just a few people manage thousands of devices.  This is not just a good philosophy for smaller companies, but one that should be adopted by the whole financial industry. The more free time IT has, the more good they can do and the more they can do to ensure companies remain compliant in the face of increasing pressure.

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