Mobile is the new black. Every major analyst group seems to have a different phrase for it but we all know that workforces are increasingly mobile and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is quickly spreading as the new standard. As the mobile access landscape changes and organizations continue to lose more and more control over how and where information is used, there is also a seismic shift taking place in the underlying mobile security models.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) was a great first response by an Information Security industry caught on its heels by the overwhelming speed of mobile device adoption. Emerging at a time when organizations were purchasing and distributing devices to employees, MDM provided a mechanism to manage those devices, ensure that rogue devices weren’t being introduced onto the network, and enforce security policies on those devices. But MDM was as intrusive to end-users as it was effective for enterprises.
In the MDM model, employees relinquished control of their devices to their employer. Big brother knew what was installed, how the devices were used, what data was on the device, and MDM gave organizations full control to wipe device data at-will. As a result, many people chose to carry two devices; one for personal use and the other for work. As device manufacturers dramatically improved products every six months, people quickly began using personal devices as the primary communication mechanism and work devices as-needed to perform certain tasks. It also drove people to insecurely send work data to personal devices for convenience increasing the risk of data loss. For these reasons and with the upswing of BYOD, MDM has been relegated to playing a supporting role in Enterprise Mobile Security.
Mobile Application Management (MAM) has emerged as a better alternative to MDM in the world of BYOD. MAM solutions create a secure mechanism for employees to interact with corporate data and apps without infringing upon personal apps and data. With MAM, organizations can control application and data access, how data is used on mobile devices, and to enable new mobile access scenarios without compromising security. MAM embraces the BYOD movement and encourages employee mobility while also locking down data, reducing exposure, and responding more efficiently to compliance mandates about how data is used. But MAM isn’t the end of the story.
Mobile access isn’t much different than other types of access. It’s just another access point that should be part of an Enterprise Access Management approach. Securing access via mobile devices shouldn’t require an entirely separate technology silo, another set of management interfaces, and yet another point of integration for corporate Access Governance. Also, most MAM solutions fall short on a variety of use-cases. By rationalizing MAM into an enterprise Access Management approach, organizations gain extremely valuable capabilities that are otherwise unavailable in MAM solutions alone.
For example, MAM-type on-device virtual workspace approaches don’t work very well in B2C scenarios where apps are delivered via well-known public app stores. Nor do they make sense from a user experience perspective in those scenarios. Also, for advanced Access Management scenarios such as risk-based transaction authorization, integrating basic app security with back-end adaptive access solutions provides extremely compelling benefits. With apps looking to leverage modern protocols such as REST to access legacy system data, there are benefit from Access Management infrastructure such as API Gateways that provide those services. Providing support for these advanced scenarios in a solution that provides a single point of management, single infrastructure, and unified audit trail is where Mobile security is heading.
Next generation mobile security solutions will see MDM and MAM features integrated into more traditional and enterprise-centric Access Management solutions. This single platform approach simplifies management, reduces cost, and enables an improved user experience. But more importantly, incorporating the capabilities of a robust Access Management platform opens new avenues through which to do business and engage with customers, partners, and the extended community. Oracle has a focus on providing exactly this kind of integrated and consolidated approach to securing the mobile platform through securing the device, applications and the access with the Oracle Mobile Security Suite
In our next post in this series, we’ll look at the various deployment phases through which cloud technologies are being adopted by increasingly mobile workforces starting with cloud-based file sharing services.