Mobile work access is no longer a gimmick to add convenience for your employees. Over the last few years, it's become an integral part of IT services, with a large (and increasing) percentage of IT employees' total work being done through mobile devices rather than a desktop platform. With the proliferation of mobile access, however, we've also opened up a new avenue for hackers and criminals looking to profit from confidential corporate data. The failure of some larger businesses to embrace mobile IT platforms can cripple them in terms of competitiveness — and their concerns aren't unwarranted, considering most are looking for the best "cost-effective" option.
Let's take a look at where the industry is at and why it's still necessary to pursue high end mobile management software to safely and successfully work in the new BYOD industry.
Concerns about mobile IT
There are a variety of cheap, mobile, browser-based, IT-related applications that can (theoretically) allow you to access your work remotely. However, there are a few problems with this approach. Browser apps don't take advantage of the features of your phone and don't integrate with your phone's hardware. This means that apps designed for an iPhone won't work very well on a BlackBerry (and vice versa), and you'll lose features that your phone is technically capable of, such as scanning barcodes or RFID.
Besides being less useful than an integrated platform, a browser-based app will naturally lack the security features of a high quality mobile management system. This means that data security is compromised more with every person who gains remote access to it. As corporations get larger and data security becomes more important, they actually become more vulnerable, which is naturally unacceptable.
How high-end products deal
High-end mobile management software deals with the security problem elegantly by directly controlling the devices that have permission to access data — not through a "key" system like a password, where anyone who can figure out the key can look at the data, but through direct integration. Additionally, these types of software that are installed to the device's system can access and make use of all of the features of that particular device.
These types of platforms require devices to be individually registered by corporations so that only those physical devices can be used to access their data. This means that third parties would have to impersonate another device if they hoped to gain access — rather than impersonating the user of that device, which is considerably more difficult.
Remote access and control
High quality mobile platforms allow for central control of mobile devices, including what apps can be installed on their devices. It can actually prevent the installation of third-party programs, regardless of the user's wishes (and this also protects against people downloading virus programs through kitten videos).
Additionally, the home business can remotely access the device and directly control it. So, if a device is lost, a user is laid off, or the device is otherwise compromised, the home business can simply remotely wipe the device and revoke access.
How does your organization manage BYOD mobile devices? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Declan Peltier writes for MasterControl about quality management system software and IT security.