Managing a mobile mess

Managing a mobile mess

With mobility on the rise, so too are IT administrator bugbears. Yet, the mobile mess should be seen as a channel opportunity.

“Even CEOs are looking for phones that are attractive from a cosmetic point of view, that bring in elements of lifestyle into the mobile environment,” RIM Asia-Pacific regional vice-president, Greg Wade, said. “They desire the same device Gen Y does – that mesh of personal and enterprise functions from one device.”

New devices, Burley said, created numerous problems when an organisation had already invested in solutions that extended applications to mobile staff.

If you are using a sales force solution, for example, often the application was developed for a single platform, be it Symbian, Windows Mobile or BlackBerry. There are significant costs involved with porting the application to whatever other mobile platform is demanded.

One potential solution is to move to a hosted web-based application model, so that applications can be accessed from any authenticated browser.

“Companies spend a significant amount of money developing these applications,” Burley said. “They aren’t going to redevelop them just because somebody wants to use a new device.”

2. Security

Can the device be secured such that it can’t be used to gain access to sensitive information should it fall into the wrong hands?

There is also a very good chance that new devices will equate to new security vulnerabilities. IT administrators that once relied on the encrypted secure ‘push’ email functions of the BlackBerry, for example, now have to consider the more open approach of the iPhone or upcoming Android phones.

There are two great fears around security, RSA Security country manager, Mark Pullen, said. The first is security of access – for which there are many mature solutions available, the most obvious being two-factor authentication (something you know and something you have).

The second, and perhaps more pressing to mobility, is to protect the information the mobile user carries with them. Most of the leading mobile platforms feature remote-kill features, enabled either by a phone call or web-based browser, should an employee lose a device.

The latest tools available look instead at the root cause of the data being vulnerable in the first place – the saving of data to inappropriate mediums. Enter the much-hyped world of Data Loss Prevention (DLP), technologies and policies that warn or prevent users from storing sensitive data in inappropriate places such as local device storage or removable media.

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