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Mobile Devices Are the Weakest Link for Enterprise Mobility Solutions

Enterprise 35,705 views
Posted Tuesday, December 09, 2014 by CHIRAG SHIVALKER, Contributor

Mobile Devices Are the Weakest Link for Enterprise Mobility Solutions
The time has come when the fact is accepted and discussed at large, the one that we have been trying to resist since long. We all are aware that today mobile Apps for Enterprise Management consider mobility at their core. It has given new peripheries to businesses by transforming operations – better engagement with customers – and of course an innovative approach in business models that boosts up revenues. 

However; we focus solely on Mobile app development only and have been missing out on something very critical, It is about the security of the devices and data, that are used as gateways to mobile enterprise.  This is the biggest challenge faced by all mobile enterprises is lost or stolen devices. 

A few numbers below highlight the gravity of the issue: 

Recent Oracle survey showed that mobile devices are being lost and stolen to a fairly alarming degree. 
  • 73 % workers in the age group of 16 to 24 admit that they lost their mobile device at least once
  • 52 % workers admit that their mobile device was stolen at least once 
  • 36 % workers in the age group of 45 to 54 admit that they lost their mobile device at least once
  • 20 % workers admit that their mobile device was stolen at least once
I believe these numbers about lost or stolen mobile devices are sufficient enough to raise eyebrows for all mobile enterprises who have invested a lot in Mobile apps development. We all know that the efficiency and enhanced productivity that we all have been discussing these days is due to the reason that they enable access to a wide plethora of systems and data, though you are on the move. 

The unpleasant episode starts when these mobile devices equipped with latest apps, gateways to the mobile enterprises, get stolen or are lost; and the one who finds it or the one who stole it, tries and uses it for malicious reasons. Nowhere am I in favor to stop businesses from moving towards mobility, instead I would want to recommend continuing mobility activities in a much more secure way.

One of the suggestions is that such devices, particularly mobile devices, are owned by the organization itself. This would help mitigate the risk to a great level as it would empower the organization to lock down the devices – password protect and in case of loss of device, can go ahead and delete sensitive information remotely. 

However; there might be, which are more likely, situations where the employees may not use a device if they are not familiar with the functionality – device is heavy handed – device is not a trend one – device usability is hampered due to enhanced security measures, and so on. In such cases one can anticipate what will happen. 

The employees would then use their personal devices for office work as a part of the Enterprise management solution, the ones they are familiar with – trendy and the one with convenient usability as it does not have those heavy security measures. IT department of mobile enterprise or developers would be helpless as if in case they are not aware of such incidents – they would not be in a position to secure such devices making the enterprise vulnerable. This is why I recommend businesses to arm their workers with the devices mutually agreed upon.

So now that we have the problem statement...let’s see who offers the best solution to this challenge?

COPE - Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled gadgets is one of the ways out. This is an option where the businesses play open minded allowing the employees to choose and use the devices of their choice for office work, but in coordination with the IT department. 

This brings in huge productivity benefits, conditional that the IT maintains the control. One more way of doing this is through BYOD – Bring Your Own Device, where employees are allowed to use their personal mobile devices, and this also brings in significant savings on procurement and network costs. 

Conventionally, something that we all have observed is, that businesses that embrace mobile strategy widely use MDM – Mobile Device Management platforms to secure the devices. However, the challenge with MDM is that it harms the usability of such mobile devices by slowing down the user experience – mentioned as one of the reasons why employees stop using the device harming the productivity.

So the need to find some solution that is more elegant and convenient, and hence the need for an enterprise mobility solution provider – an innovative partner, who understands and fulfills requirements for both the employer and the employees. Solution that secures the data – the applications and the information that the employees access through their mobile devices, has to be the prime focus.

Three Hi-Tech technologies are, as it seems, the way forward to secured yet convenient approach towards addressing this challenge at large.
  • MAM - Mobile Application Management
This is the option that gives you the liberty to extend a secure container for application security and the controls to separate – protect and wipe slate clean, corporate application and data; rather than locking down the entire device. The noteworthy aspect of it is that this is executed as a complete backend process without intruding the usability and is ideal for those COPE deployments.  

It is a welcome note in BYOD arrangements as it is equipped to securely extend all the identity policies and services required on employees/users personal mobile device; an ideal situation for employers. This allows the employees to lose their mobile devices without putting the organizational data at risk. At the same time it is welcomed by employees as well; as MAM assures that employers do not get access to the personal information of employees through their mobile devices used to access organizational data.
  • MIM - Mobile Information Management
We have been discussing all this while that lost or stolen mobile devices are a big security threat to organizational data and confidential details. However; let’s not forget that data forging or data theft can be done by intercepting wirelessly through data leakages and breaches – irrespective of the fact that the employee was in possession of the mobile device or accessing the data at that particular moment.

Here Mobile Information Management is the recommended solution. It secures data at the document level, while the user accesses the document through the application in a regular manner, however; needs access permission to actually view the documents. This empowers the business to secure crucial data at root level itself.
  • IM - Identity Management 
In the end; I would say let’s not forget that one of the challenges to data security also comes in form of Identity fraud – one of the easiest way for criminals to access organizational data. We also can conclude that identity management is one of the mandatory aspects to a successful and full proof mobile strategy as integrating step-up - multi-factor authentication & authorization with mobile security policies cannot be ignored. 

It is likely that in this rat race towards success incidents of lost or stolen mobile devices, gateways to mobile enterprises are likely to happen. I would go to the extent of saying that the numbers to these incidents may increase with the exponential growth in the number of businesses embracing Mobile Enterprise solutions. But this is no reason why we should curtail our progress – cut down on the usage of mobile devices and stay aloof from enjoying the benefits of mobility. 

Just pick up an appropriate Enterprise Mobility solution to keep your organizational data safe and secure. If required ask your innovative solutions partner to suggest the one that suits and comprehends all your requirements.




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