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Future Considerations

By Darrell Dunn  |  Posted 2007-08-14 Print this article Print

As mobile devices get smaller, become more widespread and harbor an increasing amount of business data, I.T. executives are using new strategies and software tools to keep these devices secure.

Future Considerations

Policies that restrict an employee's use of certain mobile computing platforms can be effective but difficult to enforce. While large-scale enterprise deployments of laptop computers have become common, personal cell phones, smart phones and removable media have added complexity to a growing—and sometimes largely neglected—part of I.T. management.

PDAs and cell phones are much more likely to be lost than laptops; a survey by encryption specialist Pointsec of taxi drivers in 10 large cities around the world found PDAs were about 14 times more likely to be left in a taxi than a laptop.

Laptops are much more likely to contain sensitive data, however. So, businesses are putting the bulk of their efforts and dollars into securing laptops. But as PDAs improve in processing and usability, analysts believe more critical applications will move to the devices, forcing businesses to revisit their security strategies.

"There has been talk for years that security and management functions need to converge, and there is some of that happening," says Gartner analyst John Girard. "But while CIOs profess a love of platforms, they also still tend to buy elemental products that are best of breed to solve specific issues."

Options for mobile security are expanding, and CIOs will determine if there is an ultimate showdown between policy-based and disk-level encryption, and which of the dozens of small data protection vendors survive and prosper. Technologies to monitor and filter data security based on assigned criteria continue to improve, but demands for data protection and privacy rights will continue to drive more enterprises to think deep and wide when implementing a mobile security strategy.

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