Friday, June 21, 2024

Local firms face new IT task: Securing enterprise mobility

The last five years have seen the explosive use of wireless devices and data in the country, with more local businesses embracing the so-called BYOD (bring you own device) strategy.

Guido Crucq, general manager for security solutions and enterprise mobility at Dimension Data

Smaller and lighter devices have replaced larger machines, enabling people to do business whether they are in the office, at home, or stuck in traffic.

But, just like most technology trends these days, it also has its own risks.

These perils, however, can be mitigated ? if not entirely eliminated ? if the right steps are employed, according to ICT services and solutions provider Dimension Data, which has deployed wireless infrastructure and enterprise mobility (EM) solutions across multiple industries and geographies.

With valuable insights gained from these deployments, Dimension Data has pooled its best practices and technologies in the EM space with its Enterprise Mobility Development Model (EMDM) to help organizations prioritize their investments in wireless and mobility projects.

EMDM is a collaborative workshop tool that enables users to cycle through critical reflection points for addressing and progressing through its EM capabilities and strategies.

It maps the current stage of an organization’s standing in terms of the various disciplines of enterprise mobility, their desired future state, and a development path to achieve their goals.

Going mobile

Speaking at the Ayala Group of Companies’ recently concluded ICT Summit 2013, Dimension Data general manager for security solutions and enterprise mobility Guido Crucq weighed in on the pros and cons of EM, BYOD, and wireless connectivity.

With EM, Crucq said organizations can respond faster to customer needs, reduce costs, and increase productivity by saving time on paperwork and processes by empowering their personnel to complete these tasks while on the go.

Crucq said that while BYOD is gaining popularity, many enterprises are cautious in their approach to wireless connectivity and EM ?because of security concerns, and the need to be flexible in using multiple platforms simultaneously, among other things.?

He cited a recent Ovum survey on BYOD across 20 industries. The study showed that 57.1 percent of businesses allow and support BYOD in the workplace.

The top industries that have embraced the BYOD trend are IT and telecoms and financial services (close to 70 percent) and media and publishing (over 65 percent).

Crucq also cited a study by Gallup Consulting that showed that ?companies with engaged employees see 18-percent higher productivity and 51 percent lower turnover.? According to him, organizations ?see a 20-percent to 25-percent boost in productivity with the use of social media.?

New needs

Cost-efficient, productivity-enhancing, and choice-empowering system are good, but Crucq cautioned that organizations seeking to leverage EM must also focus on securing their networks and supporting several operating system platforms and versions across several device types.

He added that in the Internet-connected world, any organization adopting EM must be vigilant about external threats such as distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks and identity theft, which target not just the organization?s IT systems but end-users and customers as well.

Crucq also shared EM best practices: First, ?establish a strategic roadmap? to enable the organization to ?better understand the EM environment and develop their strategy.

He said organizations embarking on the EM path should ?produce a prioritized list of projects and visual roadmap to close the gap? between where an organization stands and where it wants to be.

Also, companies should be on the lookout for security threats in mobile operating systems, Crucq said. Consider these stats: Android (over 600 versions and 79 percent of total malware attacks); Windows 8 (five versions and 0.3 percent of malware attacks); BlackBerry (four versions and 0.1 percent of malware attacks) and; MacOS (three versions and 0.7 percent of malware attacks).

Lastly, Crucq said the chief information officer and tech team of an organization should ensure that its secure device management covers device configuration, device inventory, user access, secure connectivity, the ability to do a remote wipe on a misplaced or stolen device when needed, data protection and encryption, and the white-listing and black-listing of specific applications.

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