By Tara Savage, BT Security Marketing Manager
Demand to use tablets, personal smartphones and other mobile technology has increased dramatically since the release of the original iPhone and iPad. These devices captured senior executives’ attention and, predictably, they all wanted to use them at work. The speed of growth we’ve seen in enterprise usage of these devices was unexpected and IT departments are scrambling to keep up.
Cisco predicts over 15 billion network-connected devices will be in use by 2015; the average US citizen will own seven.
Any device really means any device, from a free mobile phone to a critical enterprise server. ‘Anywhere’ encompasses both real-world and electronic location; it includes internet, extranet, mobile, customer, partner, and all other connection types, access points, and even the phone in your pocket.
So the days of rigid mobile technology are over. How can businesses prepare themselves for the onslaught of platforms, upgrades, and support challenges?
Old thinking was to control the whole information supply chain: the devices you used, the applications you ran, the network you crossed, the resources you accessed. This was very expensive and prone to failure.
New thinking is to accept you can’t control the device or the public network, but you can control the gateways and the policy. Policy, in turn, drives exactly what and how you can access things, and what you can do once you have information on your device.
Vendors have so far managed basic things like encryption and remote-wipe, but an integrated suite of tools, built within a framework which links to existing enterprise security programmes, is essential for any mature enterprise.
Trying to prohibit the use of certain devices or certain ways of using those devices is a non-starter. There’s also a good chance that by seeking to place limits on the way technology is used, you will also place a limit on people’s effectiveness and on their ability to innovate.