Why should you use PKI with your MDM solution?
Mobile devices are an integral part of any modern workplace. They allow employees to work remotely, and access company resources on-the-go. However, this also presents new security challenges for organizations when it comes to managing these devices and their access to corporate resources. Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) help organizations address these challenges. While MDM focuses on the management of mobile devices, PKI brings value by enhancing security and at the same time improving user experience.
What is MDM?
MDM is a set of tools and policies that allow organizations to manage and secure mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops that connect to their network to access corporate resources. MDM solutions provide a centralized platform for IT administrators to manage and monitor device configurations, enforce security policies, and control access to corporate resources. It also enables organizations to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices, ensuring that sensitive information remains secure.
MDM solution is critical for organizations that implement BYOD policies, allowing data to remain secure even when accessed from personal devices.
What is PKI?
PKI enables authentication, data integrity and data confidentiality and provides the foundation for authorized access to services and secure communication between devices over unsecure networks. It ensures that messages are not tampered with or intercepted by unauthorized parties. PKI allows organizations to provision digital certificates to people, things, and applications. These certificates are then applied for user authentication and authorization, device identification, and signing and encryption.
How can organizations leverage MDM & PKI together
MDM and PKI work together to ensure that mobile devices are managed and secured, and that MDM devices can authenticate and access corporate resources, like the corporate Wi-Fi network, in a secure and user-friendly manner.
MDM solutions can enforce the use of certificates issued by PKI on mobile devices, enabling strong, certificate-based authentication and access to corporate resources. This helps prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. In addition, it significantly improves the employee user experience as it removes the need for username / password-based authentication.
A proper MDM integration to a PKI also manages these PKI certificates lifecycle, guaranteeing that authorized devices always have valid and verifiable certificates which helps reduce downtime and that the certificate is automatically revoked when a device is decommissioned.
PKI also enables secure communication between mobile devices and other corporate resources. PKI, for example, can be used to encrypt data sent between a mobile device and email servers or VPN gateways. This ensures that the data is protected even if intercepted by an attacker, thus preventing man-in-the-middle attacks.
Benefits of combining MDM & PKI
Enhanced security: MDM and PKI technologies provide enhanced security for mobile device authentication to corporate resources such as the corporate WLAN. Digital certificates can additionally be used to secure mobile device communication channels, protecting them from data theft and data loss, man-in-the-middle and phishing attacks, etc.
User experience: Integrating MDM with a PKI removes the need for username/password-based device authentication and all the hassle that comes with it; such as requiring users to frequently change their password with complicated format conditions, often backfiring as users' recourse to writing their passwords down in order not to forget them.
Compliance: MDM and PKI solutions can help organizations comply with regulatory and data protection requirements such as GDPR, PCI, etc.
Improved productivity: With security and compliance concerns taken care of, organizations can support their workforce to access corporate information and resources on-the-go to promote flexibility and in turn improve productivity.
Centralized management: MDM & PKI provide centralized management of mobile devices and their digital certificates. This means, IT teams can easily manage their mobile device fleets with zero downtime due to expired certificates.
In essence, beyond the obvious ease-of-management benefits, a MDM solution backed by a sound PKI brings immense intrinsic values such as improved productivity and boosts overall organizational security and compliance while drastically reducing access problems and management costs.
How can Nexus help?
With Nexus GO MDM PKI service you can integrate a third-party CA seamlessly with common MDM systems. The service supports leadings MDM solutions including Microsoft Intune, Apple jamf, VMWare Workspace ONE (former AirWatch), SOTI MobiControl, etc.
The service is based on standard certificate management protocols and enables complete automation of the certificate management process from certificate enrolment for device activation, certificate validation, and certificate revocation for device deactivation. As fully managed service, the GO MDM PKI helps securely manage fleets of mobile devices, for organizations of all sizes and across industries.