You Experience #3 – Get A Life
As the divide between our personal and work-life blurs, consumerization is making us sensitive to exciting and desirable user experiences on the mobile devices of our own choice. Mobile Device Management helps to stay in control and keep heterogeneous platforms secure, thus satisfying enterprise-level requirements. However, mobile operating systems increasingly support mixing private and business roles, while bringing us the next level of user experience. It’s a matter of finding a healthy balance between the perspectives of the consumer and business professional in order to get the most out of the mobile revolution.
The explosion of smart phones and tablets has resulted in consumers bringing their own devices and applications into the workplace. It’s becoming a firmly accepted business practice simply because employees empower themselves with the best technology to be able to respond to the heightened expectations of the digitally empowered customer. In turn, the need to manage and secure those devices has given rise to sophisticated Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools and security applications. Cloud-based, scalable, and affordable MDM solutions such as AirWatch are now widely available on demand.
But if enterprises are to maintain a truly secure and carefully managed environment, while also providing their employees with a dynamic and exciting consumer experience, there’s a strong case for Bring Your Own Device to be transformed into Bring Your Office Device — providing company-issued devices that can be used at work and away from the office for consumer applications. Some organizations decide this approach for their privileged users like top-management with access to the most sensitive data, while enabling a more flexible approach to all other users.
Another evolutionary approach is to go from only securing the device towards securing the asset (e.g. the data) in addition. Especially when users choose to bring not only their own device, but also their own applications, like for example Gmail, Dropbox or Evernote, to the workplace, then the approach to maintaining enterprise grade security needs to change. In addition to educating the user about the risks and the consequences of a security breach, modern tools need to be installed that actively monitor network traffic and user behavior. By comparing traffic and behavior to a baseline pattern, possible issues are identified and mitigated early on
Operating systems such as Windows 10 (but increasingly also iOS and Android) provide a rich consumer experience as well as powerful and secure business functions, helping organizations and their employees to create a new work-life balance, whatever device they choose to use. Employees are more likely to adhere to company policies for example, if they’re able to switch identities easily between business and consumer. It’s no coincidence that IBM and Apple embarked on a partnership that aims at enterprise mobile users, marrying the enterprise-grade attributes of IBM’s MobileFirst platform with Apple’s notorious design qualities.
There are some key practical reasons for companies to issue devices to employees, starting with security. By owning and managing devices, companies can be certain that they’re able to lock them and wipe sensitive data remotely in the event of theft or a security breach. As a result, enterprises are more likely to provide employees with access to critical data and applications through a company-owned and company-managed device — often leading to greater productivity. Company-issued handsets also manage and encourage the use of branded enterprise apps and content.
Whether businesses restrict mobile device usage to company-issued products or encourage a Bring Your Own Device strategy, consideration must be given to the apps themselves and how they’re secured, managed, and deployed. Apps and data must be secure across all devices. Mobile Application Management (MAM) complements device security by wrapping apps and data individually at the application level. Encryption and other security controls offer data protection and access control while still giving users the mobile experience they want. Increasing attention is given to the discipline of application security testing, both through static code inspection as active application monitoring.
Enterprises need a coherent, end-to-end policy strategy and a flexible content-management system to manage corporate and consumer apps running across different operating systems. And they need data-loss protection controls that restrict the forwarding or accessing of sensitive data.
It’s time to assess the potential merits of a Bring Your Office Device approach. Enterprises could take greater control and use the full capabilities of an increasingly business-oriented mobile OS, issuing a company-standard device that is easier to manage and secure and — by switching to a different identity — also satisfies consumer needs away from the workplace. However, it must be clear that workers choose to use their own devices or apps for work related matters aspiring to do a better job.
In the end however, no matter what approach an enterprise chooses — Bring Your Own Device or Bring Your Office Device — it’s key to understand the dynamics of our rapidly intertwining business and work-lives and turn it into a proper mobility strategy. This is where the new value is hiding. It certainly brings a new meaning to the ‘get a life’ catch phrase: from now on, it’s about minding your own and your business.