Device Control in 2024: Best Practices, Challenges & Solutions
As more devices become available and organizations use more data, it’s crucial to protect this data. The use of USB drives and other portable storage devices can lead to data leaks. Device control software and practices are important for managing this risk. These include practices that help control access to data, like blocking or read-only permissions, to stop unauthorized data transfers and prevent data theft. This article is a guide on how to use device control effectively, covering best practices, challenges, and solutions.
What is device control?
Device control is a software application that offers security to your network. The application guards against data loss caused by data theft and malware followed by unauthorized use of removable devices. The most popular external devices are USBs, printers, smartphones, USB modems, cameras, removable media, and more devices connected by Bluetooth.
How does device control work?
Device control solutions monitor and process variables such as network components, log information, identify anomalies, and alter operating systems as needed, despite specifications differing depending on the hardware needs and system supplier. Device control allows you to control and monitor external device behavior in accordance with predetermined authorization requirements.
Why do we need device control?
This section explains the importance of having an effective device control setting to safeguard sensitive data. Effective tracking and controlling of user log reports prevents organizations from loss of reputation, legal issues, and, ultimately bad finances.
1. Insider threats
Removable devices bear the burden of putting vulnerable data at risk by spreading viruses and leading to data loss. Established connections via Bluetooth or an input port pose high risks. Back in 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense suffered incredibly from a data breach caused by the insertion of an HDD in its network, which led to the leakage of confidential information in the Middle East. The Pentagon had taken strong security measures to prevent any recurrence. Security measures have been formed by such irrevocable accidents.
Managing your organization in compliance with regulations issued by respected agencies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) not only enforces security standards but also adds value to your organization through acknowledgment and encourages others to do so. On Forbes, you can find out more about staying up to date with data privacy standards.1
Device control is an effective way to reduce the risks to your finances. According to the report prepared by IBM in 2023, “the three most impactful cost mitigators out of 27” were each compared between its low- and high-level versions and with each other by the cost of data theft. The following table shows the highest difference between organizations with a high level of DevSecOps and those with a low DevSecOps approach.
Figure 1. Cost of data breaches
Device control challenges and solutions
Device control software is frequently used to prevent data leakages caused by removable devices. Device control tools screen access parameters, and block user access or lock files when unauthorized device access takes place.
1. Device diversity: Introducing new devices into a network requires a neat analysis of devices’ information regarding their operation system, authorization level, and their types. All these factors may require different sets of policies and configurations, which can be challenging.
Solution: Opting for device control software that can operate in different systems with unreduced efficacy can rule out complex operations.
2. Bring your own device (BYOD): After the Covid-19 pandemic, people are encouraged to work remotely or in a hybrid model. More so, on-site working organizations enable their employees to work with their own devices. Though this approach may save organizations costs, it also puts them at risk by the unregistered broadening of its network. Asking its employees to have access limits on their personal devices may damage the employer-employee relationship. The entrance of such removable devices, including smart phones, may open a security hole hard to patch.
Solution: Educating employees about data protection and its management will encourage the implementation of security regulations. Without disrespecting employee privacy and space, two parties can transparently comply with clear and intelligible described policies.
3. Constant updates and patches: Updating security settings and installing new tools can be time consuming. During patching and updates, to ensure total security, organizations are advised by service providers to avoid continuing to operate on devices at hand.
Solution: Many device control software come with SaaS, cloud service, and virtual appliance options, which mitigate response time in accordance with the deployment kind. These options help reduce response time based on the type of setup used. They also reduce the need for manual work when there is a mismatch in the services chosen by an organization, ensuring better efficiency.
Device control best practices
Here are some best practices that can enable business leaders to implement device control in their organization.
1. Regularly update firmware and software
Developers improve device control software constantly. Ensure that you are using the most recent versions of system applications and software. If there isn’t an automated update service available, you might have to choose manual updating. Also, it is important that service providers receive feedback regarding updates in order to facilitate amendments. Applications that are no longer in use should be disabled and removed because they may fail to match with up to date security requirements.
2. Authenticate and limit authorization
This practice is one of the most important to achieve effective device control. Consider using strong passwords and updating them regularly. You can also leverage multi-factor authentication (MFA). Make it a practice to run authentication and authorization steps for each device. You can also consider storing log reports and analyzing them to gain valuable insights into system performance and security vulnerabilities.
3. Raise awareness of your organization
Technology is always improving, so we need to work hard to create terms that focus on sustainability, respect, and protecting rights. While many policies, like those from NGOs, are recommended but not required, some rules, like the EU’s GDPR, must be followed. Stay in line with these policies and keep your organization informed about them by training and educating them.
Please take a look at the links below to see more information about data security and data monitoring:
If you need help finding a vendor or have any questions, feel free to contact us:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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