As individuals have increasingly gone mobile for business productivity, leveraging apps to access, store, and transmit more corporate data, businesses must realize that the challenge is now bigger and MDM is insufficient on its own for all but the very simplest of use cases. The challenge is now about enabling, securing, and managing devices, apps, and data, outside the firewall, and in the cloud, requiring a more comprehensive approach to business mobility. With these diverse challenges, there are five key areas that every company should consider as they establish their mobile strategies to ensure high productivity without increasing their vulnerability.
1. User and App Access:
The people, apps, and devices that are connecting to, and accessing, business assets must be identified and validated as authorized business participants. Identity is the first and most important component to any IT strategy, especially where mobility is involved, because device and cloud access is not inherently as strict. This should be as transparent to the end user as possible.
2. App and Data Protection:
Business data must be protected at all times. This is a primary objective of any IT organization, and it’s the reason that most IT technologies exist in the first place. Mobile apps are the primary method to access, view, store, and transmit that data, and with more apps in use, there is more sensitive data on mobile devices. Both apps and data must have controls and protection appropriate to the company and industry.
3. Device Management:
Devices that access business assets and connect to company networks must be managed and secured according to applicable company policies and industry regulations. Every company should establish appropriate mobile policies, and those should be applied to all managed devices, just as policies and configurations are applied to corporate PCs and laptops.
4. Threat Protection:
With the incredible growth of mobile devices in the world, they are rapidly becoming the new preferred target for bad guys. Different platforms have different risk profiles, and it is important to understand where vulnerabilities exist and take appropriate action to secure business assets. Good threat protection should protect from external attacks, rogue apps, unsafe browsing, theft, and even poor battery use.
5. Secure File Sharing:
Although access, storage, and sharing of files is not a uniquely mobile challenge, the fact that each mobile device is typically one of multiple devices a user may have, the cloud is the obvious and simple solution for distributing and synchronizing information across devices. Businesses should have full administrative control over distribution of, and access to, business documents on any network, especially in the cloud.
Each of these five pillars represents a category of technologies that may stand on its own. In fact, there are companies that have built businesses entirely around each individual pillar. However, for mobile environments, these functions are very interrelated, and the common mobile use cases require companies to implement a combination of pillars. In most cases, all five pillars must be represented to achieve acceptable levels of productivity and protection across the business. Ideally, the pillars would be not just represented, but there should also be numerous points of integration among pillars to enhance protection, productivity, and even IT efficiency and cost. This highly desirable integration can only be accomplished by a single company offering solutions in all five pillars, as Symantec does.