Secure mobile working? We have an app for that
I don’t need to repeat what my esteemed colleagues have already been sayingabout the mobility-related announcements we made at Symantec Vision this year. However, it is worth picking up on some of the context – not least about how organizations are dealing with the challenges.
Earlier this year we released the results of a global survey into enterprise mobility. From the 6000-plus responses, most findings corroborated what we have been hearing from our own customers. Notably that mobile technologies do make it easier, more efficient and effective, to do business – even though they create new challenges which need to be addressed.
Indeed, 41% of respondents placed mobile computing at the top of the pile of technology-related risks for their organizations – above, for example, cloud computing. The top three issues incurred in the past 12 months were loss of data (with all the potential compliance and litigation implications); loss of money or goods (including the device); and highest of all, lost productivity, a situation experienced by a third of respondents.
Despite these very real issues, some three-quarters of respondents still feel that mobile technologies have a positive impact. The answer, then, is to minimize the likelihood of things going wrong, without limiting the functionality and usefulness of mobile devices.
According to the survey, organizations are grasping the bull by its horns and focusing equally on the applications people load onto their devices. We’ve talked previously about the data being more important than the device – but the application controls what data is present, and how it is managed. It’s very interesting therefore, that 30% of respondents have already implemented some kind of ‘app store’ so employees can download corporately supported applications; a further 36% are considering this.
Organizations recognize that it’s better to lock down specific applications, rather than try to lock down entire devices, and we’ve applied the same principle across our portfolio of enterprise mobility solutions. By focusing on application management, mobile device management and data leakage prevention, organizations can ensure their employees get the maximum benefit out of mobility, whilst minimizing the potential dangers and indeed, support overhead.
Nobody can make mobile devices completely theft-proof, and there will always be a place for policy setting around acceptable use. But with appropriate focus on applications, data and devices, organizations can maximize employee effectiveness without sacrificing control. Which is a pretty good place to start.