Conversational Security / 01.10.2013

How to create a Secure and Flexible Workplace in the Mobile Era

A recent Gartner report concluded that “the rise of ‘bring your own device’ programs is the single most radical shift in the economics of client computing for business since PCs invaded the workplace.”

While it may be tempting to ban the use of personally owned devices in the enterprise as a result of the added support and security complexities, corporate policies that take a hard line may simply not be enforceable. Corporate smartphone and tablet users may circumvent corporate policy, putting the enterprise at greater risk. In addition, not embracing BYOD can also lead to lower employee satisfaction and difficulty attracting and retaining top talent.

So how do you say “yes” to personal devices without having the mess of governance, security, integration and support issues? By taking a methodical approach, rather than a reactive one. The following are a few key questions to consider:

  • Mobile device support—What mobile devices will you support? What work needs to be done and where? While supporting a large variety of mobile devices will likely increase end-user satisfaction, this support can also increase costs, complexity and deployment time.
  • Corporate culture and corporate policy—Does your company have a policy for the use of personally owned devices? Is the policy voluntary? What corporate data can be accessed? What is the security policy? Will you have a re-imbursement policy for mobile expenses? What is the corporate culture for mobile workers and does it align with your organization’s strategy? Do you need to separate work and personal data on mobile devices? Do you have a strategy in place to handle lost or stolen devices and employee separation?
  • Information Technology—What IT solutions do you need to implement your strategy? How do you manage and secure mobile devices? What is your mobile application strategy? How will you support a wide range of mobile devices? How do you monitor compliance with corporate policy?

Once you have carefully considered your BYOD strategy, you will want to explore IT solutions that can successfully carry it out. The following are a few key areas you may want to consider:

  • Security: How will you manage and secure mobile devices and data? Do you need to segregate work and personal data? How do you remove corporate data if the employee leaves the company or changes job roles? How do you check the security posture of the device before it is allowed to connect to the corporate network? (e.g. is the device jailbroken or rooted?)
  • Applications: What applications will users use? Are they available out of the box? Are they web, native, hybrid or virtual? Do they meet my security requirements? Do I need to create custom applications? Do you need to explore Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms? (MEAP). How will you deploy and manage application? Do you need an enterprise application store to manage and distribute applications? Should you prohibit the applications that users can access on their mobile devices? Are there required applications that must run on the device? Are there applications that cannot run on the device? How will you update applications?
  • Network: How will users connect their devices to the corporate network via Wi-Fi and cellular? If employees are connecting to the corporate Wi-Fi network, is there adequate Wi-Fi coverage and capacity? If employees are connecting from offsite, do I need one or more VPN solutions? How will you manage the added complexity and network traffic these devices could bring?
  • Support: How will you provide support for a variety of devices? Will you automate common tasks such as device registration to reduce administration overhead? How will you educate employees on how to use mobile devices effectively?

About Uniphore: Uniphore Software Systems is the leader in Multi lingual speech-based software solutions. Uniphore’s solutions allow any machine to understand and respond to natural human speech, thus enabling humans to use the most natural of communication modes, speech, to engage and instruct machines. Uniphore operates from its corporate headquarters at IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai, India and has sales offices in Middle East (Dubai, UAE) as well as in Manila, Philippines.