securing mobile dataMore and more employees are working on a device which is no longer company owned, the so-called Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement. On average employees do work on 3 different devices during the day to perform their tasks and of which one device does belong to the employee him/herself.

Due to the growing number of devices the number of different applications on different devices is growing as well. Many enterprises do already support around 200+ applications and in the near future many of these applications will be web based, SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) and mobile applications.

The 5 A’s: Any Place, Any Time, Any Device, Any Connection and Any Application

This trend is causing nightmares for enterprises as the mobile world is consumer driven. Enterprises are working very hard to keep up to speed with the developments in the market and to define smart processes with the focus on securing company data and the company network against potential treats. But the users often forget that other aspects are important for the company as well e.g. asset management, repair processes, lifecycle management, application support, manuals, environment friendly disposal processes, ordering process, cost charging and service desk support to name a few. A company can’t just rely on the employee that he will insure his own device and has a replacement in stock and will reinstall the device outside working hours…The goals of the employee and employer are slightly different here but still do need each other. It should be a healthy partnership and cooperation.

The solution for BYOD

What’s the solution for the “mobile-first” future? A good start is an Enterprise Mobility Management solution which does support new (mobile) devices, applications and data. To name a few:

  • Support for company owned and privately owned devices
  • Safe email, browser and datasharing
  • Securing and checking of third-party apps
  • Secure access to company data
  • Availability of a company appstore
  • Asset management
  • Feature/functionality control
  • Remote support

Talking about EMM means often talking about money as the software/service is not for free. Many IT departments are still seen as cost centers whereas in our opinion they should be profit centers. Offering an EMM platform is seen as a heavy investment for IT, but for the business it means more efficient use of the resources, less time-loss with setting up devices and searching around for the best apps, faster response to decisions, better up-to-date information at hand and easier and faster support in case of problems. The company wide advantages of EMM are at least twice the investment, but the problem is that many controllers only do believe in numbers and unfortunately EMM can’t just be explained by numbers, it’s a holistic approach. Instead of working 3 months on an TCO/ROI calculation, just start and do it! Every day is a lost day for being ahead of your competition. In our other post about saving time you can read about other tools which will make your workforce more productive as well.

Your strategy

Before you can start with Enterprise Mobility Management you should first decide as enterprise the level of security versus workload. Of course the easiest way is to only choose one manufacturer, one operating system and one device as that will result in limited work in the organisation, but one-size-fits-all does normally not work in large companies. A mobile device is still very personal, people are attached to it…Just look around in a pub and restaurant, how many are just staring at their magical screens instead of having real-live conversations with their friends!

Mobile security technology strategies

Graphic: Gartner Symposion 2013, Dionisio Zumerle

Yours or mine?

Another thought is how far you will go with providing company owned devices and not to allow BYOD, or do you open the door for BYOD? How much do you want to stay in control. A user might be suspicious if the company can see everything (privacy) and can also wipe anything (legal), versus a change of the user interface with an additional container on the device. Right now it will be a delicate balance, but with open and clear communication upfront with the pro’s and cons often the pain points can be taken away. Yes, it’s can be that simple!

technology to secure apps and content

Graphic: Gartner Symposion 2013, Monica Basso

Of course there is much more to write about the way you can secure your data, but in the end people have also to work with the data so a certain level of trust has to be present from both the user and the employee.

If you are interested to discuss this topic further and what MobilityWorks can do for your company, just contact us.