Protecting your data in a mobile world
Mar 3rd, 2016

Nigel Tozer, Solutions Marketing Director for EMEA at Commvault

By Nigel Tozer, Solutions Marketing Director for EMEA at Commvault

Mobility and cloud are trends that have caused major disruption for businesses and their IT departments, representative of a larger shift toward the consumerisation of IT. While both of these technologies have the potential to offer numerous benefits to organisations, they also pose definite challenges in terms of data security.  The cost of data breaches is often significant and such events can have long-lasting effects including reputational and brand damage. Organisations need to more effectively control their data in the mobile era through effective risk mitigation and data protection strategies.

One of the biggest challenges around mobility is the fact that more and more sensitive data is now stored on portable devices that exist outside of the corporate network. If the device is lost or stolen, or becomes compromised with malware, the entire organisation can be at risk. Further adding to this challenge is the expectation of users, who want to be able to access all of their own data, as well as all of the corporate data they need to do their job, anytime and anywhere. They also demand an experience consistent with what they have come to expect from consumer applications, and this means they want a way to easily share data with business partners, colleagues and customers. Without a secure alternative, this leads to the growing concept of ‘bring your own cloud’ means that consumer devices being used for work purposes access unsecured public cloud ecosystems, opening up further vulnerabilities.

To tackle these challenges, CIOs need to balance the need of the workforce to be more mobile and use their own devices and familiar apps, with the needs of the enterprise to protect data regardless of delivery channel. Risk mitigation is essential to this balancing act, incorporating a number of elements education, effective policies, and the right technology solution and services to facilitate effective data and end-point protection. Technology solutions should provide enterprise-class alternatives for popular consumerised applications including file sharing and collaboration. Solutions also need to address the following five key areas to support risk mitigation and data protection.

  1. Enabling file synchronisation – in a mobile world people make use of multiple devices, from laptops and desktops to tablets and smartphones. Enabling them to effectively and securely synchronise files across devices not only enhances productivity, but negates the need to use unsecured third-party consumer based applications to achieve this.
  1. Efficiently protecting data – mobile devices often make use of 3G connections, so indiscriminately backing up all data at all times can be costly. Solutions need to enable smart backup of important files and file types, as well as enable policies for backup around the type and speed of the available connection. Tried and tested technology such as incremental back needs to be combined with sophisticated deduplication to maximise the efficiency of data backup.
  1. Easily accessing files when mobile – instant access is something employees have become used to as consumers, and in an enterprise context it is therefore essential to provide the same experience to prevent them from making use of unsanctioned third party tools. It is also critical from a productivity perspective in order to ensure employees can work anytime, anywhere and on any device. End-point solutions need to backup and synchronise data from all devices and provide search tools that work across all available information for ease of access.
  1. Fast eDiscovery – even in industries that are not heavily regulated it is still essential to prevent data breaches. Fast eDiscovery helps organisations identify issues quickly as well as providing evidence should this become necessary. Compliance tools such as eDiscovery can also help organisations to deal more effectively with daily issues such as HR queries, searching of files and emails across devices and more.
  1. Dealing with data on lost or stolen endpoints – with so much sensitive corporate information now stored on mobile devices, it is essential to be able to ensure this data does not fall into the wrong hands. Solutions need to provide features such as encryption, remote wipe capabilities and more to reduce the likelihood of a data breach if devices go missing.

Organisations need to implement comprehensive end point protection and security solutions. From a security perspective, this assists with mitigating the risk of having multiple devices storing potentially critical business information. In today’s world, a large proportion of important data no longer resides in the data centre, and the consumerisation of IT as well as mobility introduces new risk to data. It is essential to incorporate a suite of solutions that can provide adequate protection as well as the services and applications users have come to expect, such as shared storage and collaboration, in order to prevent them from turning to unsecured third party services. This in turn provides additional benefits, including enhanced productivity as well as a more satisfied workforce, both of which can contribute to improved competitiveness.

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