The impact that mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are having on the way we do business is nothing short of revolutionary.
Consider: One recent study found that consumer device deployment is now "the standard,” with 84% of enterprises supporting at least one type of consumer device.1
Another study says we’ve reached a “tipping point” in the business use of mobile devices. According to Symantec's 2012 State of Mobility Survey
of more than 6,000 businesses worldwide, most organizations are now commonly making line-of-business applications accessible from mobile devices.
Mostly prohibited by IT just a few years ago, smartphones and tablets are now being used by hundreds of millions employees worldwide to access corporate information in today’s 24/7 business environment.
What explains this dramatic transformation?
"The answer is that mobile technology has proven itself as a legitimate source of business agility," says Rob Greer, Vice President of Product Management, Endpoint and Mobility Group, at Symantec. "Consider that about three-quarters of businesses surveyed expected to increase efficiency through mobility, and a full 73% actually realized that gain."
But the advent of the so-called "extended enterprise," and the ease of accessing corporate information on any device, introduces new challenges for IT. Not surprisingly, security has emerged as the No. 1 challenge posed by the BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) phenomenon.2 IT organizations voice a number of specific concerns, topped by device loss, data leakage, and unauthorized access to corporate resources.3
Given that the "Consumerization of IT" and BYOD trends show no signs of losing strength, what are struggling IT organizations to do?
Two recent acquisitions by Symantec should help them protect and isolate corporate data and applications across both corporate-owned and personally owned devices.
Symantec extended its enterprise mobility portfolio recently by acquiring Odyssey Software, a provider of mobile device management (MDM), and Nukona Inc., a provider of mobile application management (MAM).
Odyssey provides the MDM foundation to enroll and manage all of the necessary device settings across a broad range of platforms, while Nukona takes a MAM approach to help enterprises distribute, secure, and control applications and data without requiring them to manage the entire device. By offering MAM across Android, iOS, and Windows Phone7 devices, Symantec can help enterprises secure their mobile apps and data while managing and protecting them with policies, including authenticating users, encrypting sensitive files, preventing data leakage, and selectively wiping corporate data.
With the Odyssey acquisition, Symantec also offers mobile management from two of the most widely deployed systems management solutions: Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and Altiris Client Management Suite from Symantec.
With Nukona’s ability to natively protect and control iOS, Android, and HTML 5 apps, Symantec addresses the core problem of corporate and personal data separation without limiting the end-user experience or application adoption. By securely distributing and managing mobile applications and content, organizations will be able to address corporate data security concerns around data leakage, encryption, and authentication on a per-application basis, for both BYOD and corporate-owned devices.
Unlike traditional proprietary "sandbox" solutions, this approach provides protection by “wrapping” both native and Web-based apps with a management layer that allows IT to apply security policies without requiring any changes to the applications. This method leaves personal apps and activities untouched.
Christian Kane, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., put this focus on mobile apps and data in perspective recently: "Managers struggling with mobile should take notice and remember that your mobile strategy isn’t complete with MDM alone. Applications and data will ultimately be where you need to spend most of your resources because it’s where your employees, clients, and partners are spending their time."4
To address consumerization and mobile access to enterprise data and applications, enterprises need a comprehensive strategy that includes device management, application and data protection, threat protection, and enterprise integration. They should also focus on protecting information as opposed to focusing solely on devices, securing information so it is safe no matter where it ends up.
Enterprises that have been reluctant to embrace the "Consumerization of IT" and BYOD trends should know that they now have a way to completely separate personal and corporate data. This allows personal devices to be used for business purposes while ensuring that the business apps and data are managed and secure. That's a trend any organization can readily embrace.
- ¹ “Consumerization of IT Study,” CSO, October 2011
- ² “Consumerization of IT Study”
- ³ “2012 State of Mobility Survey”
- 4 "Symantec's Acquisition of Nukona Is a Signal That Mobile Management Is Finally Growing Up," Christian Kane, Forrester Research blog, March 22, 2012