Thursday Jun 12, 2014

BYOD is not a fashion statement; it’s an architectural shift - by Indus Khaitan

Ten years ago, if you asked a CIO, “how mobile is your enterprise?”. The answer would be, “100%, we give Blackberry to all our employees.”

Few things have changed since then:

1.    Smartphone form-factors have matured, especially after the launch of iPhone.
2.    Rapid growth of productivity applications and services that enable creation and consumption of digital content
3.    Pervasive mobile data connectivity

There are two threads emerging from the change. Users are rapidly mingling their personas of an individual as well as an employee. In the first second, posting a picture of a fancy dinner on Facebook, to creating an expense report for the same meal on the mobile device.

Irrespective of the dual persona, a user’s personal and corporate lives intermingle freely on a single hardware and more often than not, it’s an employees personal smartphone being used for everything.
A BYOD program enables IT to “control” an employee owned device, while enabling productivity. More often than not the objective of BYOD programs are financial; instead of the organization, an employee pays for it.  More than a fancy device, BYOD initiatives have become sort of fashion statement, of corporate productivity, of letting employees be in-charge and a show of corporate empathy to not force an archaic form-factor in a world of new device launches every month.

BYOD is no longer a means of effectively moving expense dollars and support costs. It does not matter who owns the device, it has to be protected.  BYOD brings an architectural shift.  BYOD is an architecture, which assumes that every device is vulnerable, not just what your employees have brought but what organizations have purchased for their employees. It's an architecture, which forces us to rethink how to provide productivity without comprising security.

Why assume that every device is vulnerable?

Mobile operating systems are rapidly evolving with leading upgrade announcement every other month. It is impossible for IT to catch-up. More than that, user’s are savvier than earlier.  While IT could install locks at the doors to prevent intruders, it may degrade productivity—which incentivizes user’s to bypass restrictions. A rapidly evolving mobile ecosystem have moving parts which are vulnerable.

Hence, creating a mobile security platform, which uses the fundamental blocks of BYOD architecture such as identity defragmentation, IT control and data isolation, ensures that the sprawl of corporate data is contained.

In the next post, we’ll dig deeper into the BYOD architecture.

Wednesday Apr 30, 2014

Identity Enabling Mobile Security - by Suresh Sridharan

Smart Connected Device Growth: The growth of smartphones and tablet devices has been phenomenal over the past 4 years. Global smartphone shipments have grown extensively from approximately 100m units in 2010 to 725m units in 2012, reaching 1b devices in January 2014. Simultaneously, tablet shipments have grown from 5m units in 2010 to approximately 125m units in 2012. Tablet numbers are likely to touch 400m units by 2017.

This explosion in the shipment of smart connected devices has also led to a significant change in users’ behavior and expectations.

In a corporate environment, the phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is gaining momentum. Gartner predicts that 38% of all organizations will have an “all BYOD” policy by 2016, up from 6% today (2014). If the same device is being used for both personal and work purposes, users will expect the same experience across corporate and personal apps. Further, employees regularly use similar apps for both business and personal purposes examples include: WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook..

Mobile devices present benefits both for organizations and for individuals. Surveys show that a BYOD policy helps employee gain an extra 37 minutes of productive time every week. To increase sales productivity, some of our customers are mobile-enabling sales teams to ensure that they have access to the latest information when they meet with customers.

Security is one of the most significant mobile device challenges both for consumers and for enterprises. Although mobile-commerce is growing rapidly (to $25b in the US alone), 60% all retail transactions that get to the checkout stage are abandoned with security as one of the main causes, according to recent data.

As corporate data on the device co-mingles with user data on a personal device, it becomes challenging for enterprises to impose restrictions on the use of devices. About 40% of adults do not protect their smartphones with a passcode, with married adults that number goes up to 45%.
In order to address security challenges, IT should be able to define and enforce policies that meet security and privacy standards to protect intellectual property, other corporate assets and optionally, personal employee data.

There are three things to consider while implementing security in the new mobile age:

  1. Implement a strong identity management system that allows one to manage users and ensure that they are able to access information based on the principle of least privilege to carry out the necessary tasks.
  2. Implement an access management solution to secure data based on who is accessing it and the risk profile of that specific transaction.
  3. Implement a mobile security solution that will help secure data on the device and ensure corporate security policies are enforced on the device from which assets are being accessed.

In essence, organizations need to ensure that application data is secured based on the user accessing it and the device and location from which it is being secured. Securing the device and the user identity, in isolation, is not sufficient.

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Oracle Identity Management is a complete and integrated next-generation identity management platform that provides breakthrough scalability; enables organizations to achieve rapid compliance with regulatory mandates; secures sensitive applications and data regardless of whether they are hosted on-premise or in a cloud; and reduces operational costs. Oracle Identity Management enables secure user access to resources anytime on any device.

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