Managing mobile devices, both company- and employee-owned, is now a universal challenge for corporate IT. Ubiquitous workforce mobility holds the promise of increased worker efficiency and productivity, but the gains don’t come without hurdles.
Allowing a growing number of corporate-liable (CL) and individual-liable (IL) devices to access sensitive corporate data and critical networks requires stringent mobility policies and aggressive safeguards in order to ensure the security and integrity of the enterprise and its valuable information.
The challenge of making mobile-device access both efficient and secure opens significant opportunity for solution providers. A recent survey of channel partners by networking vendor Extreme Networks revealed that 72 percent of IT solution providers say mobility and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend have been key influencers for their business over the past 12 months. Security followed closely behind at 68 percent.
Asked to name the areas of strongest growth in the past year, 85 percent of respondents named Wi-Fi, followed by security and unified communications, at 61 percent and 59 percent, respectively. Combined, the three tech segments play a crucial role in mobility and BYOD initiatives as users seek reliable, secure, always-on connectivity in order to communicate and collaborate at work.
Research firm Marketsandmarkets now predicts the BYOD and enterprise mobility opportunity will top $284 billion by 2019, an annual growth rate of 26.6 percent over the $72 billion the segment accounted for in 2014. Solution providers and IT vendors are seeing increased traction in areas such as mobile device management (MDM) as more businesses try to bring order to the chaos of mobile and consumer devices in the workplace. By 2017, worldwide MDM spending will top $1.7 billion, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.
Gartner, meanwhile, estimates that half of companies will stop issuing mobile devices and will require workers to provide their own. The shift from majority CL environments to more evenly split CL-IL workplaces will require increased attention to device security, network-access protocols, and file-sharing permissions and procedures from solution providers that hope to take advantage of the burgeoning opportunity with expanded mobility services practices.
One way to approach the challenge is by leveraging a comprehensive mobile security solution such as Samsung KNOX, a defense-grade mobile security platform that comes built into the vendor’s popular Galaxy devices. KNOX can help solution providers deliver enhanced security by protecting the entire mobile device, from hardware to applications.
Most think of KNOX as a hardened, Android-compatible mobile container that segregates corporate and personal data on the device. It is all of that, and quite a bit more. KNOX is really a complete platform that provides multiple layers of protection for mobile devices in enterprise environments. In addition to its formidable Workspace container capabilities, KNOX includes:
- Trusted Boot for preventing unauthorized operating systems and software from loading at startup.
- TrustZone-Based Integrity Measurement Architecture (TIMA), which provides continuous integrity monitoring of the Linux kernel.
- SE for Android to deliver enhanced mechanism enforcement of integrity requirements.
Because no separate server is needed, KNOX reduces complexity and works well in CL, IL, and hybrid BYOD environments. KNOX integrates easily with existing MDM, EAS, and Office 365 infrastructures. KNOX supports more than 600 IT policies and more than 1,500 MDM APIs, with more being added, to continuously improve the way partners manage client devices.
Of course, the BYOD phenomenon is opening many more opportunities beyond MDM. End users are wrestling with multiple problems related to mobility and BYOD and need more than just management; they need strategies, policy development, and operating guidance. In other words, clients will need consultative services to understand and safely embrace mobile devices and applications.
Technology components such as Samsung KNOX provide the foundation upon which successful service provider mobility practices can be built. The complete value-added effort requires the partner to:
Assess: Inventory all data, applications, and equipment used in the client’s business operations that will be affected by mobile access. Define BYOD performance goals, expectations, and needs to determine how best to develop a plan that meets the customer’s needs.
Plan: Develop a BYOD management plan that takes information from the assessment phase and prioritizes it, with an eye toward regulatory requirements, industry standards for monitoring and managing mobile access, and the assignment of roles and responsibilities.
Implement: Institute a phase-driven project plan to upgrade equipment and software, establish security posture, and implement policies for mobility management and monitoring, all with minimal disruption to the client’s operations.
Test: The effectiveness of mobility systems must be tested through the use of hypothetical scenarios for breaches and disruptions. Such exercises reveal gaps in the plan while adjustments can still be made.
Monitor: Establish adequate command and control facilities to administer mobile systems on the customer’s behalf and monitor customer responsibilities related to device activations and employee access.
Combining a carefully crafted mobile game plan with a strong vendor mobile-management offering such as Samsung KNOX can take solution providers’ mobility aspirations to the next level and help them take advantage of a mobile marketplace that promises ample recurring-revenue opportunity for years to come.