The continued proliferation of mobile devices in South Africa, along with cheaper bandwidth, has resulted in more people wanting to access corporate information and applications from cellular phones and tablet computers. Business is now facing the challenge of making mobile access simple and convenient, while mitigating the security risks mobility brings.
“To keep their data secure and comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act and the Consumer Protection Act, not to mention governance standards such as King III, companies need to implement effective mobile device management processes to govern access to their systems,” says Paulo Ferreira, Head of Mobile Product and Software Solutions for Samsung SA. “Effective management will not only empower organisations to protect and manage their systems and information, but will also secure their mobile devices should they fall into the wrong hands.”
Ferreira notes that security is uppermost in the minds of IT leaders when it comes to mobility. Devices can be lost and information stolen, while the common practice of downloading apps from public sites opens the door to mobile malware. Once infected, a smartphone can easily infect the corporate network the next time the user logs on, or covertly share sensitive information with the wrong people.
“That’s not to say apps are bad,” adds Ferreira. “In fact, I would recommend companies provide users with in-house apps written to fulfill a business need. In this way, the company controls the flow of information as opposed to allowing open access via a mobile Web browser.”
Mobile management processes will also ensure devices that are lost or stolen can have the data on them wiped, keeping corporate information safe. Additionally, a missing device can be locked and, in certain cases, it can also be traced – just look at an app such as Samsung Dive*.
To control the risks of mobile technology some companies try to limit which devices are allowed to access business information, but this is not a feasible option in a world with almost unlimited choices. There is a global move to BYOD (bring your own device) in which users choose their own hardware for business use. This allows everyone to use the system they prefer, but can lead to access control headaches for companies if not managed correctly.
“In today’s connected world, companies can’t control the mobile systems that try to access their systems, but they can ensure access is only granted according to approved corporate policies. Mobile Device Management (MDM) suites ensure users gain access to what they require from whatever device they choose, while ensuring the company meets its management obligations. Samsung smartphones and tablets support a variety of third party MDM solutions such as Microsoft Exchange Active synch policies, Syabse Afaria, Mobile Iron, and Airwatch. Mobility is a reality, but it doesn’t have to be a security or management calamity,” concludes Ferreira.
* The Samsung Dive application is currently only available locally on the Samsung Galaxy S II