Five software protection strategies to speed mobility in the enterprise

By Becky Lawlor

Embracing mobility in the enterprise presents a Catch-22 for chief information officers (CIOs). On the one hand, mobility is transforming today’s businesses by increasing productivity and innovation. On the other, however, the adoption of mobility leaves the enterprise vulnerable to a host of security risks that could inhibit productivity and risk the leakage of critical data. What’s a CIO to do?

Here are five software protection strategies to help resolve this Catch-22, making it possible to speed the adoption of mobility while still protecting the enterprise from security vulnerabilities:

1. Adopt a BYOD Policy

While Tech Pro Research’s latest survey shows that 74 percent of organizations are either already using or planning to allow employees to bring their own devices, as reported by ZDNet, another survey by Ovum and Dimension Data revealed that 71 percent of organizations do not have a formal bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy.

Allowing BYOD into the enterprise without a formal policy is like leaving a wallet in plain view in an unlocked car: It’s begging for trouble. A good BYOD policy that keeps security top of mind should:

  • Specify what devices and operating systems are permitted;
  • Require registration of all devices;
  • Establish robust security policies;
  • Determine what apps are allowed (or banned);
  • Create an acceptable use policy;
  • Have an exit strategy to secure data when employees leave.

2. Create a Risk-Averse Culture

Mobile security is only as good as the weakest link: the employees. In a recent survey by Checkpoint, 87 percent of IT managers said they believed that the biggest threats came from mobile devices in the hands of careless employees. While an enterprise may never get employees to take security risks as seriously as the IT department, more awareness about mobility can certainly be infused into the organization.

Here are a few ways to cultivate a culture that takes mobile security seriously:

  • Make the cultural shift start at the top and push it down.
  • Raise awareness and train users in mobile use best practices.
  • Implement tools to track and monitor mobile use.
  • Provide access to and support the tools employees require.

3. Implement a Layered Security Solution

No single security measure can cover all the vulnerabilities that mobility will expose in an enterprise — especially since security threats target devices, apps and data. This is why it’s important to implement a number of security measures that, when combined, can establish a strong defense.

Here’s what a layered solution might include:

  • Device management databases (DMDs) operate on the device level and facilitate the remote management of the device, allowing IT to monitor and manage devices. DMDs include the ability to selectively wipe devices to remove enterprise data when a device is lost or an employee leaves.
  • Virtual private networks (VPNs) provide secure and encrypted communications. VPNs designed for mobile devices are not tied to physical IP addresses and can enable secure, tunneled access by authenticated, authorized VPN clients no matter where the mobile device is located.
  • Identity-based access control (IBAC) allows IT to create a certificate-based identity for every device and ensures that data is only accessible to authorized users. This kind of system is especially useful in organizations with statutory and regulatory requirements for privacy and confidentiality.

4. Develop Apps With Security in Mind

Adding security controls after the fact is costly and leaves the enterprise open to attack during the interim. The better solution is for developers to build security and privacy controls in from the start.

However, since many apps will not come packaged with the security and privacy controls an enterprise requires, a company app store that allows IT to select which apps are acceptable for use can provide further software protection and eliminate the use of apps with high security risks.

5. Integrate With a Content Management System

Employees need a way to access and share content from any device and any location. A mobile content management (MCM) system securely allows employees to access, collaborate on and share documents on-premises, from email and from cloud content management repositories such as SharePoint, Box and Dropbox. Identity-based access control to data can be integrated into the MCM system to further protect critical content and data.

As mobile technology continues to develop, so will the security threats. Staying ahead of the game requires constant awareness and software protection management of all mobile technology. Incorporating the strategies discussed here is a solid beginning, but not the end of the story.

Written By

Becky Lawlor

Technology Writer

Becky Lawlor is a freelance technology writer specializing in mobility, cloud computing, unified communications and collaboration solutions. She develops and writes content that helps technology buyers understand and evaluate technology solutions, modernize their IT infrastructure…

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