It’s certainly been a while, but welcome back to the latest edition of Inside Looking Out. We had the opportunity to sit down last week with Naeem Zafar, CEO of Bitzer Mobile, an enterprise mobility solution provider that utilizes a secure, mobile app container to isolate corporate access and data. We covered a broad range of topics, including mobile application management, mobile application development, mobile security, and BYOD. You can check it out below.
The Enterprise Mobility Foundation: Hi Naeem, Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. There’s a lot of talk these days about CoIT/BYOD. Do you think they are one and the same or different? How so?
Naeem Zafar: It’s good to be here. Consumerization and BYOD are different but related. BYOD is just one part of CoIT. A perfect example of CoIT is the fact that today employees are buying smartphones and tablets, which are consumer-centric devices, and they are requesting enterprise access. Then there are other aspects of CoIT that have their own life outside of BYOD, such as the cloud and especially social media.
EMF: How does that impact user expectations in terms of the experiences users will have on their business apps?
NZ: With consumerization come new expectations about the user experience. What makes Apple smartphones and tablets so popular is the incredible user experience. What has made these consumer multimedia devices explode is also the fact that they have raised the bar—they’ve set a “new normal” for users’ expectations of business apps and business access from their personal devices. IT needs to recognize that a new balance must be found between security and usability, because end users have entirely new expectations about how they interact with their mobile device.
EMF: So how does this affect how companies balance the BYOD vs. COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled) requirements?
NZ: More and more enterprise end users already own smartphones capable of running business applications. This means that companies don’t have to issue as many corporate devices to employees, although many companies have simply shifted their existing budgets from BlackBerries to iPhones and issued the devices as employee perks. The bottom line is that users don’t want to carry two devices. Companies therefore need a way to isolate personal use from business use on the same device, and they also have to find a balance between security and usability.
EMF: Speaking of balance…we haven’t really talked about security yet. How should companies balance the needs for high-performance security and high-performance user experiences? Can they co-exist?
NZ: They can co-exist, and many solutions are emerging to help IT tackle this problem. The big realization is that the data, not the device, is the most important thing to protect. If intellectual property is stolen or sensitive data is leaked, nobody cares that a $100 device was lost. What matters are the millions of dollars in lost business reputation and fines that result from compromised data. Once we realize the importance of securing data and focus on isolating enterprise access from personal access, then solutions start to emerge.
EMF: I would imagine that some of this must be handled via a combination of mobile device management, mobile application management, and enterprise mobility management.
NZ: Certainly all these solutions can come into play. I see MDM and MAM as part of a larger EMM strategy. MDM can still be an important solution for COPE deployments, but many privacy concerns arise if MDM is applied to BYOD, especially in Europe. MDM does nothing to provide authenticated access to data or to protect the corporate data propagated by backups of mobile devices.
We should be looking at EMM. The corporate asset is the data, and access to that data must be secured both in transit and at rest. On top of that, the strategy must include the prevention of data leakage, e.g., not allowing the backup of corporate data to personal PCs or cloud services such as iCloud. Again, a balance must be found between user experience and security. We ran a recent survey of corporate end users, and 47% of them reported that they would decline enterprise access if the company forced them to give up iCloud or Android Backup Manager.
EMF: So now what? The apps are developed and deployed to employees. Are we done?
NZ: Not at all. To gain the benefits of mobility, the first steps are security, access, and deployment, but after that comes continuous monitoring and improvement of the apps. The apps are what make smartphones and tablets shine. We need to follow what has worked in the consumer space and focus on making cool apps that users love. We should get the security questions out of the way as quickly as possible and start focusing on apps. Monitoring usage, user ratings, and feedback is what comes next. But apps come in many shapes. Users are looking for a solution that allows them to run HTML5 apps that they have written as well as third-party apps, not to mention a way to mobilize customized applications where no apps exist. Companies that address all of these use cases are likely to leap ahead in this emerging market.
EMF: OK – we’ve covered a bunch of topics here today. If you had to give one final “Net Net” recommendation to someone as they are planning their mobility strategy, it would be…
NZ: I always say, “It’s about the data, stupid.” That may not sound very kind, but it brings the point home that just adding MDM solutions does not address data security and enterprise mobility. Data is the corporate asset. To gain the advantages of mobility, data-protection solutions must retain the incredible user experience of modern mobile devices. One must address all four legs of the stool to achieve true enterprise mobility: authentication, data security, data controls, and apps. This is critical to the “net net” goal, which is delivering a rich, engaging user experience with excellent security!
Well there you have it. Thanks Naeem, for taking the time to chat with us about your views on enterprise mobility. Do you know anyone who should be a guest here on Inside Looking Out? Drop us a line.