Last Friday, the French government banned the use of so-called recreational applications on the professional mobile devices of the 2.5 million public sector employees. These include TikTok, Netflix, Twitter, Instagram and Candy Crush. The reason for the government’s decision is that these applications pose cyber security and data protection risks.
France is not the only country to have implemented these bans. The UK has also declared a ban on the installation of the TikTok application on government business devices. The US, Canada, New Zealand and many other countries have also followed suit.
The risks of insecure applications
Unsecured applications can pose many risks to their users, especially in the public sector. Indeed, these applications can be the cause of data leakage. The data on the professional mobile devices of public sector actors can be easily accessible to unauthorized third parties as they regularly manage sensitive information such as health data, financial information or personal information. If this data is leaked, it could have serious consequences. Unsecured applications may also contain vulnerabilities such as security holes that can be exploited by cybercriminals to access user data. It is also possible that such applications contain malware such as viruses and spyware, which can infect users’ devices and cause significant damage.
It seems essential, in this case, that governments take steps to secure agents’ professional devices. A Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution can help companies protect their business mobile devices from these threats.
Using an MDM solution to help you
MDM and the public sector
MDM software enables the remote security and management of fleets of smartphones and tablets used in the business world. This device management solution enables government agencies to deploy and manage their devices across local authorities, public administrations, town halls, law enforcement agencies etc.
Application management is a key feature of MDM software. It allows administrators to manage the applications installed on users’ mobile devices, including authorizing the installation of specific applications and pushing application updates from a console. A public sector IT administrator can approve a list of apps that agents can then find in the Play Store. They will only be able to download these apps if the administrator has not already done so. Recreational applications such as TikTok or Candy Crush will not be accessible at all.
MDMs can allow administrators to prevent users from downloading any application. However, these applications are still accessible from the various web browsers. The internet filtering functionality provides the ability to secure the agents’ internet browsing. In particular, there is a filtering feature that adds these sites (Instagram, TikTok…) to a “black list” of prohibited sites. As a result, users of phones or tablets will be able to surf the internet but will not be able to access the sites on this list.
Implementing an MDM solution in the public sector can help organizations effectively manage insecure mobile applications. The multiple functionalities offered by this software allow administrators to control the distribution, updates, access and security of mobile applications on mobile devices. As a result, administrators can ensure that agents can use the applications they need to do their jobs, while making sure that sensitive data is protected.