Mobile Device Management: An Essential Part of a Law Firm's Cybersecurity Strategy

What is MDM?


MDM or Mobile Device Management is software that allows I.T administrators to secure, enforce, and control policies on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices like laptops. The intent of mobile device management is to optimize the security and functionality of mobile devices within your enterprise while protecting your network at the same time. It is mission critical to any Cybersecurity plan.

What it looks like to your attorneys and support staff is a simple app they download to their devices, which can optionally be configured as a folder containing company versions of all the apps they need separating the business stuff from their personal stuff.

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MaaS360 Work Folder on an iPhone, a popular MDM


Why Do Law Firms Implement MDM?


1.) Control Blurring Boundaries

Mobile technology is the new frontier. With smartphones and tablets becoming more and more capable, most people tend to carry work data on their personal devices. Accessing critical business information on the go is not only convenient but sometimes necessary as well. Mobile device management allows you, as a firm manager or owner to control access to your sensitive data on any device that your employees use. From whitelisting or blacklisting applications and websites to requiring email to be opened in a 'secure container', MDM allows unprecedented monitoring and security for your data wherever regardless of geographic location.


2.) Detailed Reporting

Are your law firm’s employees on a data plan paid by the company? MDM allows you to pull reports on who is utilizing how much data. Want to check on an employee who should be a client office? MDM allows you to *optionally* track devices via GPS with astonishing accuracy. You can see who is downloading which documents and what they’re doing with them and you can analyze reports to assist you in making more informed decisions regarding organizational change. That being said we recommend discussing the level of reporting you wish to implement with your IT support provider and partners of your firm, then documenting what this entails in your employee manuals.


3.)  Automatic Application Installs and Updates

One of the most useful features of MDM is the ability to push applications specific to your firm’s needs to each employee’s enrolled mobile devices regardless of operating system and manufacturer. This type of controlled uniformity allows for more efficient processes and outcomes and allows employees to have the tools they need without them having to search for them on their own. Also, you are able to push out all necessary security updates to all applications, ensuring that no outdated and unsecure applications are being used. One app we see a lot with our smaller firms is Clio Practise Manager.


4.) Enforce and Audit Enhanced Security

With mobile device management in play, you are able to enforce strong security measures such as timely password changes, password complexity requirements, log-in timeouts, and fingerprint or face detection entry. In today’s complex technological workplace, it’s not wise to leave security and data access up to chance by simply recommending requirements. With MDM you are able to enforce them uniformly across your firm’s diverse mobile data landscape.


5.) Control and Recover Lost and Stolen Devices

These days, mobile devices are subject to theft and human error more than ever. Whether an employee’s device is damaged or stolen, MDM provides the technology to be able to control your data to prevent it from getting into unwanted hands. With features such as mobile device wipe and lockouts, it’s easier than ever to maintain strict control to your firm’s data no matter where a particular device ends up. Also MDM can be configured to allow GPS tracking of stolen devices and push notifications requesting the return on screen.


There you have it

Products such as IBM's MaaS360 provide unprecedented security and control to sensitive legal data, so your firm’s employees can take advantage of the convenience and efficiency that mobile devices have to offer without compromising the security of your firm's network, all while remaining compliant with all security standards. The ease of controlling multiple devices through one portal while being cost-efficient and secure is a no-brainer. 

Looking for more local resources or IT Security help for your firm? Check out our Managed IT Support for Bay Area Law Firms page.

Chris Stovel

President, Tech+ Consulting