How CIO’s can fully harness the Enterprise mobility phenomenon
Two weeks ago I spoke at IP EXPO 2012 – London – where I presented on Enterprise mobility and the security challenges ahead. The following is a summary of the key facts I discussed; at a glance, you have to be able, as an IT manager or executive, to offer more granular control to the users accessing the network, based on who they are, where they are, what application they want to use and from what device, and all this in a controlled and secured way. It’s all about bringing control back to IT.
FACT: The nature of the LAN access will change from wired to wireless Ethernet over the next couple of years. This will be driven in large part by the massive influx of new and highly capable tablets and smart phones which do not have RJ-45 connections.
FACT: The time for enterprise mobility is now. According to IDC, by next year, more than 1.2 billion workers worldwide will be using mobile technology, accounting for 35% of the workforce!
FACT: We can observe a shift from PC based and corporate owned enterprise computing to any mix of devices that are corporate AND personally owned. This creates challenges around security and compliance. The same applies to the applications, where we can see a shift from corporate operated applications to chosen by the user applications. It is again a mix of both – the goal being to gain competitiveness and to bring more productivity.
FACT: The user’s end device is the weakest point in our security today and the attackers know it. The types of attacks are morphing. Today more than 80% of malware uses encryption, compression and file packing evading the traditional security technologies. Smart phones, tablets and cloud services are becoming popular targets for these attacks. Mobility forces enterprises to shift their security strategy away from a perimeter approach, making them realize that borders are now global and that their vulnerabilities are actually internal. Also mobile malwares are becoming pervasive. There is more mobile malwares than ever before, they have gotten smarter and application stores are fast becoming the prime delivery mechanism for infected applications. As a result, your “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) experience could very quickly become a “Bring Your Own Malware” (BYOM) very unpleasant experience…
FACT : Mobility is much more than BYOD. Yes, BYOD is the most common and probably feared concern today, but you also have to address corporate own devices and guest access, and all three with a common and consistent approach. The problem here is that most vendors only speak to or can address only one of the three. Experience shows that point solutions fail to deliver comprehensive enterprise network access. So, today’s business environment requires coordinated access across all the identified major mobile user types.
BOTTOM LINE: If you consider the smart phones and tablets proliferation, the fact you have multiple devices per user, you have multiple applications per devices and multiple sessions per application, all this put the campus/branch network under increasing pressure, and there is a need to rethink the way you architect the network. You need a holistic approach to coordinated security for enterprise network access, regardless of who owns a given device. This allows organisations to translate a business policy based on the user’s role and identity and to apply it to the device of the user’s choice. Productivity is enhanced and security is maintained.
IT executives and managers must anticipate this mobile devices explosion and put in place all the necessary tools and components for letting these new devices accessing the network while at the same time protecting their critical resources and assets. Yes, in most cases, this will require a rethinking of the network architecture, which needs more security coordination, more performance, more scalability and more resiliency. But in the end, organisations will be able to trust, leverage and depend on mobility to create competitive advantage and higher end user productivity. In other words, IT doesn’t need just to be aligned with the business; it is becoming part of it!