Securing the Office

By Elizabeth Millard Print this article Print

In the mobile software arena, major players--Apple with its iPhone, Google with its Android platform, RIM, Palm and others-- are duking it out for control of an emerging market where start-up applications on open platforms are winning consumers and business users alike. Will features that emphasize efficiency win, or will the gold medal go to apps that promise better integration with enterprise systems?

Securing the Office

For some enterprises, quibbling over the features and functions of different mobile applications may be a fruitless discussion, since there are still numerous companies that aren't embracing mobile technology due to perceived security risks, Pelino notes.

"These risks are often related to the devices, rather than the applications, but they hinder adoption of mobile apps because IT doesn't want to deal with all the security issues," she says.

As mobile applications mature in the marketplace, security is likely to become a much larger discussion, notes Richard Rushing, CSO of AirDefense: "Security at the device level is a relatively easy process, but on the application level, it's much more complicated. It's not being addressed, and as a result, as an industry, we're cleaning up mess after mess."

Mobile apps in the near future are likely to win more users through emphasis on features like encryption and authentication. "Security is now becoming a forethought in these apps, instead of the afterthought it once was," he notes.

As IT departments peer more closely into security controls, employees devoted to their devices are likely to keep pushing for more access to applications, particularly as the consumer space brings continual innovation.

Much like PC-centric applications, what becomes adopted at an enterprise may depend largely on user preference, and how emphatically they push for apps, believes Stephen Katz, founder and president of Security Risk Solutions, and formerly the first CISO at Citibank.

"Demand is spurring manufacturers to improve mobile technology offerings, and creates this need to have more mobile apps in the office," he says. "Now, it's up to the enterprise to recognize how to make the best use of them, instead of throwing up roadblocks."

This article was originally published on 2008-08-20
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