Cloud Convergence for Mobile Device Data Security

By  Sean Poccia — November 28, 2010

Mobile device security has certainly changed the landscape of what could be considered traditional asset management and presents one of the most prolific challenges that IT departments face today. As technology professionals, we are continuously seeking new tools that allow for the integration of mobile devices into our portfolios.

In evolutionary fashion, IT professionals have accepted mobile devices with open arms, and early adoption into the enterprise was reserved for corporate-purchased, -deployed, and fully managed as part of the overall asset mix. From an application perspective, e-mail and telephony reigned supreme as the primary business drivers for mobility. Security was reserved for protecting the physical asset, not necessarily the content.

The convergence of consumerism and enterprise is becoming blurred by the introduction of an unprecedented number of unique devices including BlackBerry smartphones, iPads, netbooks, slates, tablets, specialty devices, Android devices, the resurrection of Palm OS (Under HP), ultra-rugged, and specialty devices unique to certain industries. As the mobility industry continues to mature, device manufacturers, in an effort to appeal to greater masses, will introduce devices that are both consumer- and enterprise-agnostic.

Long gone are the days when we would carry two devices, one for personal use and one that was issued by our employer. This is a fact we all recognize. Here is the million dollar question: who brings the device into the workplace? As companies recognize the opportunity to shed costs by allowing the employee to connect to corporate systems via their personally owned device, security concerns take center stage. Whereas in the past, we focused on device security, now the paradigm has shifted to safeguarding the intellectual property, otherwise known as data. 

As companies leverage private, public, and hybrid clouds for exposing data to their mobile workforce through applications such as CRMs, the need for data to reside locally on a mobile device is reduced if not eliminated completely. In many ways, the concept of thin client provisioning comes into play. Whereas the use and deployment of applications via a thin client framework is rapidly expanding, enterprise expansion of that framework should extend to the mobile workforce with one key objective: mitigate the loss of intellectual property on mobile devices. 

In years past, the underlying constraint to this way of thinking was connectivity, so offline applications were built to accommodate. As networks continue to expand geographically, and technologies such as 4G, WiMAX, and LTE become the new standard, IT leaders will have the opportunity to re-invent the way data is served to the workforce.

We can stop losing sleep over how to successfully manage enterprise data on mobile devices. We can reconnect with our inner self and once again drive real value to the enterprise through the artistry of delivering technology solutions.
 

Sean Poccia is the Sr. Director of Information Services at Comag Marketing Group, LLC.

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