Effective security in an ‘any device, any place at any time’ business world


By Rob Bird.

Enterprises are increasingly looking to innovation to drive a continued and fundamental shift in their business models. The continued economic uncertainty makes the ability to bring new products to market quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively more important than ever for businesses.

The desire for on-demand, anywhere, anytime and enhanced enterprise mobility are key factors in this business change. But what does this actually mean for the business environment? What additional technologies are needed to make mobility a success? Can a business maintain some form of control over the devices and applications used within the workplace? Can they keep confidential information secure?

Any device, any place, any time

Business is now more global, immediate and mobile than ever before. Technology enables employees to always be in touch with the office – tablet PCs and smartphones help employees connect and make decisions faster, increasing productivity and impacting the bottom line, and mobile applications quickly deliver data to enable employees to respond to partners and customers more efficiently. Faster networking is improving the way stakeholders communicate, and expanding the enterprise’s reach.

Adoption of mobile devices and technology is booming. Leading industry analyst firm Gartner recently reported that 1.8 billion mobile devices were sold worldwide to end users alone in 2011, up 11.1 per cent on 2010 and smartphones accounted for 31 per cent of all device sales with 472 million units sold, up 58 per cent year on year. At the start of 2011, half a billion people worldwide had a mobile broadband service and by 2015, it is expected to top more than 3.8 billion. Mobile devices will soon eclipse PCs as the primary mode of connection to the Internet.

Today, ‘mobility’ is about much more than communication on the go. It’s about using technology to enable the extended enterprise to connect and collaborate, linking customers, partners and employees to valuable online information services, from any device, any place and at any time. And importantly, it’s about opening the enterprise to added-value, and innovative services that can enhance its ability to reach its customers – whether through presence or location-based technologies, or more.

The impact of ‘bring your own device’

As successive waves of digital natives bring the ingrained behaviour of constant digital communication into the enterprise environment, business structures, service delivery models and security policies that are, by necessity, having to evolve to keep pace. One of the most notable challenges for today’s CIO is the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon.

Digital natives are used to the wide range of choices that are available to access information, communicate, collaborate as well as the location they want to do all of these from, in whatever format they desire. They see minimal – if any – distinction between personal and corporate information access, which fits neatly with the 24/7/365 global working environment, but doesn’t fit the historic parameters and restrictions of the corporate laptop and smartphone.

The end result is a steady increase in the number of consumer mobile devices being used in the business environment. And as the use of mobile devices in the workplace escalates, so does the demand for intelligent business applications that can run on multiple platforms—and the data, bandwidth, and computing power to operate them.

With this in mind, enterprises are already looking to integrate consumer-driven IT approaches into the workplace, and equip mobile workers with cloud-based applications that work just as securely and reliably on portable devices as the desktop, but are integrated. Device management and content delivery systems are the key to success in this environment. They will enable CIOs to transform the office intranet into trusted social workspaces which extend beyond the office walls to give stakeholder ecosystems the freedom to innovate and collaborate, enabling the benefit of fresh thinking to be quickly realised.

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