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October 13, 2011

Joining the dots of mobile enterprise security

Writing exclusively for CBR, Jayaram Bhat, CEO of mobility management firm Zenprise, says the rise of tablets in the workplace mean it's time to think differently about security

By Cbr Rolling Blog

In the past, security was a matter of protecting devices from external threats. As such, the enterprise could set up a bastion – a secure island cut off from the world with a handful of properly protected routes for data to get in and out. But times are changing.

Today, the burgeoning array of mobile platforms and form factors (tablet, smartphone etc) means an organisation’s data can end up inevitably distributed across the planet. Consequently, these become tens of thousands of mobile weak spots just a clumsy moment of neglect away from turning into serious data leaks.

Think you can just wipe them remotely? Think again about the number of times in the last month you were sitting somewhere without a data connection. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What’s more, even the borders around your own internal network are no longer absolute protection. With the increasing array of their own devices that consumers are bringing to work with them, do you really know what’s connecting to your network?

What’s next?
In today’s ultra-connected world, and especially with mobile enterprise, the latest platforms require a different degree of security and different strategies to ensure protection.

At the same time, there’s a growing opportunity for businesses to take control of the devices entering their network and actually encourage workers to bringing whatever equipment they choose, safe in the knowledge that they can define and enforce prerequisite conditions for successful connection.

This management function is vital to the eventual realisation of the mobile enterprise in its most efficient and effective form. But with it comes another set of challenges and another set of questions for admins to ask themselves.

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How much do you know?
With what degree of detail can I scrutinise people’s devices and understand the threat posed? Where are we happy to draw the line with consumerisation and which systems should we let them access?

These strategic considerations are all enabled by the power of properly understanding and managing mobile enterprise. And they’re finally becoming possible and available today.

The key is that it requires a shift in thinking as much as it does technology. But because of the new possibilities it enables, this extra time will only benefit your business for the long term.

Key considerations:

  • What security policies should you use for personal and corporate owned devices?
  • Have you considered strategies on how to prevent unauthorized personal owned devices from accessing your network?
  • Have you put thought into how to integrate mobile security with your existing security infrastructure?

For connected devices like smartphones and tablets, true security can only come from end-to-end protection – each link in the chain is a battle in the larger war. As we move toward an even more cloud-based structure of data, this is only going to become truer and more important for businesses to address.

Jayaram Bhat, CEO Zenprise

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