Mastering security compliance for Mac and mobile devices

Learn about the cyber security compliance controls available for macOS and mobile devices and how to ensure your organization meets industry benchmarks and IT standards.

March 29 2023 by

Laurie Mona

Hand holds iPhone managed by Jamf with a lock icon on top.

As more organizations bring Apple devices into the workplace, it’s essential to develop a solid plan to ensure you can maintain compliance with IT policies and meet industry security benchmarks and regulations.

In our webinar, Optimizing Mac and Mobile Compliance, Aaron Webb, Jamf Security Product Marketing Manager, discusses various forms of security compliance and how to effectively implement controls for both corporate-owned and Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) in your organization.

Check out the Optimizing Mac and Mobile Compliance webinar.

What does compliance mean?

Compliance in security means adhering to laws, industry standards and data and security requirements. An organization’s compliance management strategy is largely dependent on their industry, their device and data use cases and legal requirements.

When thinking about compliance in the data security space, it’s critical for organizations to understand that if compliance is not met you risk:

  • Data breaches and leakage
  • Monetary loss: fines or settlements
  • Loss of customers, accounts or jobs
  • Loss of reputation

Benefits of compliance

Besides the monetary fines and sanctions, following security compliance in an organization brings several benefits such as:

  • Protecting your company's reputation
  • Mitigating security risks
  • Enhancing customer confidence
  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Staying ahead of the competition

Compliance frameworks

There are three popular compliance frameworks that organizations use to ensure that they meet certain security and regulatory standards.

  • CIS (Center for Internet Security) Benchmarks: Guidelines designed to help organizations secure their networks and systems. They focus on practical, actionable steps that organizations can take to mitigate common cyber threats.
  • NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology): Comprehensive guide to managing cybersecurity risk based on five core functions: identify, protect, detect, respond and recover. Emphasizes the importance of risk assessment and management, as well as continuous monitoring and improvement.
  • ISO (International Organization for Standardization): ISO 27001 is a standard for information security management systems (ISMS). Covers a wide range of security controls, including physical security, access control and incident management.

Many regulated industries are also required to implement a security benchmark, such as:

  • Healthcare organizations need to meet HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements
  • Retail or e-commerce companies who process credit card transactions may have systems subject to PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)
  • Schools and colleges need to apply protections for ensuring the privacy of the student education records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Compliance Best Practices

With compliance and benchmarks established, you need to consider best practices for optimizing compliance on macOS and mobile devices.

  • Security baselines and benchmarks: Organizational agreement to configure set controls on devices, with continual verification that devices remain in compliance
  • Use device management tools: A mobile device management (MDM) solution like Jamf Pro can automate configuration and deployment, manage apps, inventory all devices and enforce configuraitons and policies to ensure compliance
  • Ensure all devices are updated: Keep operating systems, apps, and software up-to-date
  • Implement encryption and password policies: Enable full-disk encryption on all devices and require strong passcodes or biometric authentication.
  • Educate end users: Train users on security best practices. According to the 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, 85% of data breaches were due to the "human element”, which shows the importance of training the workforce.

Better together: MDM and Endpoint Security

Endpoint Security solutions are critical tools for enforcing compliance policies on macOS and mobile devices. MDM and Endpoint Security go hand in hand and these technologies help organizations ensure that their employees' devices are secure, up-to-date and in compliance with relevant regulations.

Balancing security and privacy: mobile BYOD

Jamf offers workflows that streamline the way end users enroll their personally-owned devices and separates personal data from corporate data. This provides “just right” management and security for IT and maintains personal privacy for the user.

Unique considerations: Mac and regulated industries

The macOS Security Compliance Project (mSCP) aims to ensure that Apple's operating system, macOS, is secure and compliant with various security standards and regulations.

This open-source effort provides a programmatic approach to generating security guidance and is a joint project of federal operational IT Security staff from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

By implementing security controls, configuring settings, and monitoring the system, organizations can reduce the likelihood of security incidents and ensure that they are meeting their security obligations.

The Jamf Compliance Editor is a tool built on the foundations of the macOS Security Compliance Project that provides macOS system administrators with an easy way to establish and manage compliance baselines on their fleet of macOS devices.

Complete compliance with Trusted Access

The transformation of the modern workplace to an ever-more connected mobile workforce makes the protection and security of your data and devices a critical concern.

With the rise of Apple technology in organizations, how can you ensure complete compliance with faster onboarding, application-specific policy enforcement, and a simple, streamlined user experience that is consistent for employees, contractors, and third parties alike?

Jamf specializes in helping organizations manage and secure Apple at work with an approach we call Trusted Access. Trusted Access combines and connects the best elements of device management, identity and access workflows as well as endpoint security.

With Trusted Access, your employees can be productive on the devices they love while ensuring that your organization can verify and trust every user, every device and every connection made to work resources.

Ready to optimize your Apple device security compliance?

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