A Higher Calling

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

Mobility has come of age, but IT still struggles to manage a tangle of devices and systems. Best-practice organizations attempt to focus on the data rather than the device. See Also: Mobile Means Business and Five Ways to Put Mobility to Work

A Higher Calling

To use mobility successfully, organizations must focus on a key underlying principle, says Clinton Smith, manager of IT risk and compliance for Grant Thornton. “It’s critical to protect the data rather than the device,” he says. “Trying to build the ultimate padlock is both impractical and inefficient. Establishing foundational controls, such as encryption, across all mobile platforms is crucial because the underlying mobile technologies undergo constant change.

A common denominator among companies that successfully tap mobility is the use of enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, according to Aberdeen’s Borg. “Executives are beginning to understand that the loss of a device might cost $500, but the loss of the data on the device could expose the organization to well over $1 million of liability,” he points out. “The critical issues revolve around data management, compliance and security.”

EMM can rein in the chaos and ensure that users adhere to software application, device and security policies. These solutions—such as products from BoxTone, Zenprise, MobileIron and Good Technology—address these mobility management issues by providing a robust and extensible framework. The tools enable IT departments to establish and enforce an approved list of devices and applications, and they can help implement consistent security policies.

“The more advanced solutions enforce compliance to IT policy in a granular way,” Borg says. “For example, if you have an app that isn’t compliant with policy, you will be kicked off the network automatically.” These EMM solutions can automate device procurement, manage the mobile infrastructure over its life cycle, and provision and deprovision quickly and effectively.

Within this rapidly changing mobile arena, authentication, encryption, digital rights management (DRM) and endpoint security take on added importance. Training and awareness are also crucial—along with appropriate policies and remote wipe. “Building a secure environment requires a multipronged approach,” Grant Thornton’s Smith says.

This article was originally published on 2011-01-28
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.