Mobile security becoming a focal point in the wireless market
Last month, I attended CTIA’s Enterprise & Applications conference. The highlight of the show: mobile security.
The space is becoming more complicated, as vendors have developed myriad ways to secure information in the enterprise. One new popular method is sandboxing applications — offering an encrypted container at the application level to secure applications and services.
Good Technology, Research in Motion and others offer this type of solution. But newer players also have come to the market. Nukona has developed a mobile apps management solution for the enterprise that lets IT folks secure, manage and deploy apps via an app container. Regardless whether the app is native, web or doesn’t come with a source code, enterprises can attach policies to each without changing the app. Policies might include authentication, encryption and API restrictions.
Mobile operators also are jumping into the fray. Both AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless announced they would offer mobile virtualization to the enterprise. The idea is to let employees toggle between personas as they use both enterprise and personal applications, essentially running two versions of a mobile operating system at the same time — one for business use and one for personal use. Of course, the business-use version would be significantly more secure, and IT managers would control the apps on the business side.
AT&T is using Enterproid for its offering, while Verizon Wireless is using Vmware for its service. Both offerings won’t be available until later this year, and a smartphone needs enough processing power to handle what amounts to two operating systems.
An argument can be made to secure a device at the OS level. Three Laws of Mobility (3LM) — a Motorola Mobility subsidiary — is improving security at the Android OS level. It has developed an add-on to the Android OS that addresses company concerns over security management and has teamed with virtually all major Android handset makers to deliver a secure device out of the box. 3LM CEO Tom Moss told me that the move creates a container that can support thousands of enterprise apps out of the box.
Unfortunately, there won’t be one silver bullet to mobile security. All of these solutions could be incorporated into the enterprise, but businesses need to figure out just how they will fit together. Vendors and mobile operators are finally making some good strides; now, it’s time to package these solutions in a way that works with systems that enterprises already have in place, such as mobile device management systems.
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