Thoughts: Mobile management futureproof?


With so many mobile management tools on the market, what capabilities are actually needed to ensure that businesses are futureproof, asks Darren Gross, Centrify's EMEA director

It is an inescapable fact that more and more people are using unsecure mobile devices to access valuable corporate data. Employees want to increase their flexibility and productivity by using their favourite device to work on. In many corporate environments employees can gain access to network resources (email, Wi-Fi and VPN) before their employers are ready to authorise or secure the connection, often using their devices without a proper security and management system in place.

It is important to think about how these mobile devices will be managed, and what capabilities will be needed to ensure that a mobility policy is futureproof and able to deal with the multitude of different services and applications offered to businesses. Simple mobile device management may not be enough for your needs.

Call in the SaaSIn particular, software as a service (SaaS) has risen sharply in importance in an effort to move business initiatives along faster than the traditional cycle of implementation, integration and ongoing maintenance associated with on-premise applications.

Businesses are finding that they can vastly reduce IT expenditures and deploy services quickly, but this can create unnecessary confusion and inefficiency for the end user as the business environment is transformed into a mess of web-portals and multiple usernames and passwords.

It is vital for businesses to deploy a mobility policy to manage BYOD expansion and provide a simple method for users to access a variety of SaaS applications. Without it, businesses run the risk of slowing business or opening security holes. They also may alienate employees from the process, running a heightened risk of causing them to break security policies, store passwords unsecurely and expose the business to outside threats.

Beating the challengesTo tackle these challenges, businesses need to deploy a mobile device management (MDM) solution that will protect both employees and the employer from current and future threats. With the constant evolution in the mobile market, it is important to choose a solution that is forward thinking and flexible to changes in the industry.

While MDM is the most commonly used phrase when referring to mobile management, the capabilities of such a system should extend far beyond the management of the device itself. Take PC security; it's not managing the computer itself, but protecting the valuable software and data on the inside. The same can be said with mobile devices. Business should look for a solution that can provide additional levels of security and management, such as:

Mobile authentication services (MAS): Zero sign-on authentication spanning mobile applications to cloud services, increasing identity efficiency and providing an easier and simpler experience for employees.

Mobile application management (MAM): IT should be able to control the device and the content that rests inside. In particular, MAM should have the flexibility to cover mobile and web applications, with the ability to assign access rights based on roles, as well as auto-provision and de-provision mobile applications centrally.  Unified HeatherMcLeanistration: With mobile devices regularly outside the office, a cloud service gives IT the ability combine functionality in a single management console that is accessible from anywhere. A cloud service should not be a separate entity; in fact, it should seamlessly sync with an identity management system already in place. This would allow an IT manager working in a remote office to feasibly lock an employee's stolen device, syncing with the central management silo without having to connect directly to it.

Comfortable BYODBy deploying a management solution that covers these basic principles, employers will be comfortable allowing employee-owned devices on the network for business purposes, bringing increased productivity and flexibility to the workplace. Furthermore, authentication services will reduce unnecessary actions for IT departments as SaaS account lockout and password reset incidents will fall.

Above all, a mobile management solution requires a trusting relationship between the employer and employee. However, by ensuring that certain security standards are met through a sensible BYOD policy, organisations can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach or failed audit, keeping employees happy working on their favourite devices and IT staff confident they have the controls in place to manage devices securely and efficiently.

Centrify provides unified identity services across data centre, cloud and mobile, resulting in one single login for users and one unified identity infrastructure for IT.


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