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Legal wrangles and enterprise apps put mobile security in the spotlight

By Tim Hutchinson, Managing Director

March 11, 2016 | 5 min read

Ongoing legal wrangles between the FBI and Apple (after the FBI requested Apple’s help to break into the iPhone 5c as part of investigations in the US) open up a much wider debate around mobile device security worldwide. Interestingly, Apple is not alone in rejecting the calls to allow officials to bypass its security measures and is backed by other tech giants, including Google and Microsoft. Weakening smartphone security and encryption could open up vulnerabilities across all devices. If an encryption tool is forced to become available by the US authorities, it could be exploited to retrieve data from mobile phones if it lands in the wrong hands.

Tim Hutchinson is managing director at Eighteen.

Tim Hutchinson is managing director at Eighteen.

As mobile technology use becomes increasingly blurred between our personal and professional lives, security and privacy issues have far reaching implications. With many individuals preferring to use one ubiquitous device for all contexts, how do we ensure all data remains secure and businesses, in particular stay protected?

Enterprising solutions

Employing enterprise level apps could have some of the answers. The International Data Corporation predicts that 2016 will see enterprise applications eclipse their consumer counterparts thanks to a suggested four­fold increase over the next twelve months. Enterprise apps are not only bringing efficiencies to organisations, they can also ensure all data remains robust and secure, regardless of the device or location.

For years, many firms have chosen to base their enterprise app strategy on a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, and are also adopting a COPE (Corporate-Owned Personally Enabled) model where business devices are used for pleasure. This avoids employees having a separate device to access enterprise apps, which can be not only very costly, but also requires the user to retrain on a new platform. This is something which will certainly impact on productivity regardless of how well the employee adapts.

When every employee has the ability to share knowledge, communicate and collaborate in a professional context irrespective of the time or their location, enterprise apps facilitate not only increased productivity, but also the improvement of business functions and how its employees are able to creatively approach problem solving. The growth in use of cloud-based Collaborative Virtual Workspaces (CVW) is also allowing teams to work together securely and remotely from anywhere.

Whether you are using enterprise apps to interact with customers, coordinate projects, manage documents and meetings, or respond to real­time stock levels, the benefits of being able to operate in a secure and professional manner whilst on the go are clear to see. Some estimates place the increase in productivity at around 34 per cent per worker. This growth is not something which businesses should take as a given – obtaining the maximum Return On Investment (ROI) from your enterprise app depends entirely on the development of an effective enterprise mobility strategy which facilitates governance and transparency.

Keeping apps secure

Mobile applications are central to the enterprise security ecosystem, linking the device to the cloud, on-premise systems or data centres. This allows employees to access sensitive data remotely and securely whether it’s via smartphones, tablets, desktops, wearables or any other mobile devices, in an environment that they can trust.

Several Enterprise Mobility Management security features can be adopted, such as device access control, content management and data loss prevention, encrypted data storage, user authentication, anti-virus software etc. To be effective, implementation of enterprise apps need to be consistently rolled out across organisations to protect valuable company and customer data.

At present around 75 per cent of companies on the Fortune 500 are in the process of developing enterprise mobility strategies and the apps to enact them. With a solid blueprint comprising of realistic and relevant goals, these businesses are seeing their customers increasingly satisfied, their workforce more productive, and they are also observing quantifiable ROI.

Whatever the outcome in the US, the financial rewards gained from adopting new processes and streamlining existing systems, combined with ensuring reliable, secure and robust company data, are enticing more and more businesses towards enterprise app development.

Tim Hutchinson is managing director at Eighteen.

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