Tablets and smart phones are infiltrating the enterprise in droves. Many, employee-owned, are loaded up with games, family photos, and vast libraries of personal music. All are itching for access to email and corporate data, if they're not already tapping in. So how is IT supposed to rationalize users' right to a productive and personal mobile experience while adhering to the company's strict requirements around security and data protection?
It's a balancing act consuming IT today as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobile revolution sweeps through the enterprise. The number of smart phones will surge to 1.4 billion by 2016¹, according to International Data Corp. with tablets poised for more explosive growth. In Gartner research conducted in 2011, CIOs surveyed said they expected 38% of their work force to be using personal devices at work by the end of last year.²
This rapid adoption of mobile devices has already resulted in significant changes to enterprise working styles. Today, the majority of new applications are headed to the cloud to accommodate the newly mobile workforce, enterprises are increasingly allowing more of these mobile devices entrée into the corporate network, and workers are embracing mobility with a fervor, some juggling upwards of three devices.
Many IT shops, overwhelmed by potential security risks and the management challenges around mobility, are either ignoring BYOD or proceeding with caution, applying traditional IT controls to the new employee-owned devices to prevent data leakage and provide threat protection. Yet innovating companies, those that welcome change and are early adopters of new technology, are moving full speed ahead with mobility and BYOD, according to Symantec's 2013 State of Mobility Survey. In fact, the survey found that 66% of innovators are convinced that the benefits associated with mobility--increased worker productivity, customer satisfaction, and higher employee retention, to name a few -- far outweigh potential security risks.
There's another reason why innovators aren't overly concerned about the mobile workforce wrecking havoc on their security infrastructure. The Symantec survey found that most of these companies are more likely to have mobility policies in place in addition to mobility management and information-protection technology that cover both company-owned and employee-owned devices.
So what exactly is the best mobile deployment strategy? Turns out there are a variety of options. The default is often where the company owns, manages, and controls standard devices or where the employee owns the device, but cedes the management and control to IT. While whole device control is the traditional approach in the PC and laptop world, many companies are finding it impractical for BYOD, especially if the measures and controls are too invasive. Users, understandably, don't want IT and the business mucking with their personal data, and IT doesn't want the liability for that data. Their hesitations are leading to yet another mobility deployment approach whereby a user-owned device is managed by IT, with IT controlling only relevant apps and business data.
Many companies are also turning to Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology to deal with the security and management issues related to BYOD, however, MDM alone doesn't cover the entire spectrum of requirements. An effective mobility strategy needs to address these five critical pillars in order to deliver high levels of productivity without sacrificing protection:
Ensuring secured access to apps. Identification and validation of the users, apps, and devices connecting to business assets is critical to any IT strategy, particularly for mobile because the device and cloud access aren't inherently well controlled.
Protecting apps and data. As more sensitive data gets stored on mobile devices, data and apps must have the appropriate controls and protection policies in place that are in line with company policy as well as industry requirements. As opposed to total device control, direct control of specific, critical apps and data can be a more effective way of applying the desired layers of protection exactly where they are needed as opposed to taking over the entire device.
Device management. Companies should establish appropriate mobile policies, which should be applied to all managed devices, just as they are to laptops and PCs. Capabilities such as remote locking and wiping are critical in the event a device is lost or stolen.
Threat protection. Mobile devices are rapidly becoming a key target for attacks. While different platforms have different risk profiles, companies need to understand where vulnerabilities exist and put tools in place to guard against external attacks, rogue apps, unsafe browsing, and theft.
Secure file sharing. Mobility leverages cloud solutions for distributing and synchronizing information across devices. As such, companies need full administrative control over the distribution and access of business documents on any network, including those in the cloud.
Symantec's Mobility Solutions are designed to scale with companies as they move through the various stages of enabling mobile computing. The Symantec Mobile Management Suite integrates MDM, Mobile Application Management (MAM), and security technologies while delivering solutions that address each of the five pillars of enterprise mobility. In addition, the suite employs unique wrapping technology so controls and protection can be applied to individual apps and data, not the entire device.
Symantec Mobile Management Suite offers a scalable MDM platform that provides password and access controls and maintains separation of corporate data and personal data. The Suite’s app management technology facilitates the distribution and management of apps and content, uniquely providing enterprise-grade security on a per-app basis. Symantec also delivers antivirus technology, advanced firewall, and SMS antispam features to safeguard mobile assets and maintain compliance policies. In addition, Symantec O3, a cloud information protection platform, delivers identity and access control capabilities as well as information management protection in the cloud, ensuring secure access to cloud apps and services. Mobile Management Suite can integrate with O3 to extend single sign-on and other protective measures from native apps on the device across to approved cloud applications.
To find out more about how these and other Symantec solutions integrate management, protection, and security capabilities to enable mobile productivity without compromising protection, check out Symantec Solutions for Enterprise Mobility
- ¹ IDC Worldwide Smartphone Mobile OS 2012-2016 Forecast and Analysis, Doc # 238366, December 2012
- ² Gartner BYOD: New Opportunities, New Challenges, August 2012