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Mobile Device Management: Balancing Business Agility and its Risk

In just two short years, mobile devices on a corporate infrastructure have gone from barely perceptible to ubiquitous. Allowing mobile devices on the network, or supporting a customer’s device is now commonplace.

In providing network access to external customers, the general conclusion is that it is no different than if the customer were sitting on a web browser or at a desktop. Because it is not possible to determine from where the customer is accessing the site (a library or friend’s computer loaded with malware), a best practice is to take the approach that managing the mobile device is the customer's responsibility.

While Android, Windows and Apple devices have all found their way onto corporate networks, some organizations continue to require employees to use Blackberry devices. The reason for this is that some regulatory requirements mandate certain activities that cannot be performed with Android, Apple and some Windows phones. Financial organizations, for example, are mandated to log every SMS message and Blackberry is the only mobile device that supports such a requirement.

Adoption policies vary, driven by the risk appetite of the organization. Some organizations allow only certain brands of devices, such as Apple or iOS. Other organizations are allowing the employee to use their device. Because they cannot control the device, organizations have turned to sandboxes, VDI and Citrix implementations as solutions to control the data. It is reported, however, that sandbox technology is a huge turn off to the users.

For some organizations, the deployment of mobile devices has increased security because it eliminated the need to deal with paper or email. By thinking out of the box and approaching mobile devices in a way that the technology lends itself to, organizations can turn a challenge into a benefit.

It is difficult to do forensics on mobile devices. If they are lost, they are gone. For most organizations, the problem is that they don’t know what they lost. To avoid such scenarios, the deployment of mobile devices requires a strong upstream log and data analytics management solution. Such a program allows organizations to know what information is being pushed to the device.