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BYOD – You Are What You Manage

Chris PerretThis is the second half of my discussion with Nukona CEO, Chris Perret. In Part 1 we explored some of the fundamental BYOD concerns that CIOs and IT departments should have on their radar. Today we’ll be looking at how Perret envisions responding to these concerns.

Theft, device insecurity, poorly developed apps, corporate data accessibility – these are but a few of the realities that IT departments will have to face when travelling down the BYOD road. Perret and the team at Nukona solved for a common denominator that will function as threats arise at different points in the device life-cycle. The solution they came up with, termed ‘separation architecture’, wraps enterprise designated apps in a container governed by defined policies.  Perret stated that with Nukona “apps are distributed and run on user’s device under the context of a secure policy container, almost a spacesuit if you will.” This container is subject to the controls of the organization that can be applied and modified on-the-fly. Separation architecture creates a division between personal and corporate data. “This allows IT administrators the ability to wipe out all corporate data without touching any personal data,” he explained.  In Perret’s mind this is a big plus because devices are a direct conduit to one of the enterprise’s most valuable assets, its data. With separation architecture, policy can be dynamically applied – the security logic of an app isn’t baked into the app, rather it is enforced by the container that the app is distributed and runs under. Policies can be defined based on parameters such as business group, job function, or geography. Lastly, Nukona’s separation architecture also allows users a fully native experience on the device, rather than a limited-use experience. Perret thinks that “we shouldn’t force users to have a painful experience in deployment and administration of security; it should be as seamless and easy as possible.” Perret stated that Nukona is “the only company offering separation architecture.”

BYOD Insight – Just as life outside the atmosphere is a hostile environment to astronauts – enterprise data access needs a spacesuit for the hostile environment of BYOD.

Perret also noted that “app distribution is just a part of the problem. The functionality of the app has to be mitigated as well.” App integration is so pervasive that at a touch of a button information can be shared from one app to another. The popular app Evernote is a perfect example of this. While Evernote is a fantastic productivity app, it can pose a tangible risk to enterprise data security as it is almost effortless to share data with it from other apps on the device. Perret pointed out that Nukona can “block sharing documents through apps like Evernote if the policy is configured by IT.” Aside from sharing information between apps, Perret pointed out that there is a security vulnerability of data saved locally on the device as well. Nukona solves for this by blocking that functionality through the policy if so desired. Lastly, Perret’s view is that encryption is such a critical piece of a secure enterprise deployment that all local data is encrypted at the container layer by Nukona instead of relying on the device capabilities.

BYOD Insight – Direct access to your enterprise data by apps isn’t your only exposure – make sure your management solution closes the ‘social-sharing loophole’.

When it comes to carving out their niche in the consumerization of IT space Perret thinks that Nukona is defined by mobile app and information management. “It’s all about the information; that is what is important.”  Perret views device management as a limited first step. The ultimate solution, according to  Perret, is managing at the application level because that is the functionality that is not only accessing the data, but has functionality to easily capture and share that data. By managing the app you effectively manage the information. For Perret, you then have successfully managed your risk.

BYOD Insight – You are what you manage – managing devices is not the same thing as managing data.

NukonaAbout Nukona – Nukona has designed a unique enterprise-grade mobile management solution that delivers an outstanding, intuitive consumer-like app store user experience for employees, while also providing the level of management, control and security that IT requires to support data loss prevention and compliance on both personal and corporate devices. To learn more visit http://www.nukona.com

 

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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The Evolution of BYOD – What You Should Be Losing Sleep Over

Today starts another series on BYOD insights from industry leaders and influencers. My goal is to combine industry details with key takeaways that can be consumed quickly. I have no personal or financial affiliation with any of the parties involved with these interviews.

The Evolution of BYOD – What You Should Be Losing Sleep Over

Chris PerretI spoke recently with Chris Perret, CEO of Nukona Inc., to get his take on the Consumerizaton of IT.  Chris’ balanced command of industry insight and technical detail bodes well for Nukona, whose innovative solution is the epitome of a better mouse trap. His well-tempered outlook allowed for a nuanced mobile management conversation that, buoyed by his strong technical foundation, provided excellent insight into the future of BYOD.

Nukona is a relatively new company to the relatively new space of BYOD. The company began 18 months ago when Perret and the Nukona team decided to approach the problem of consumer devices in the enterprise. They believed that what many enterprises were and are undergoing is not a transition to consumer devices, but “something far more fundamental than that”.  According to Perret “we are undergoing a move toward an “app-centric enterprise.” This means that apps are taking center stage in the access to corporate data. “The app is the terminal to the enterprise data and therefore, it is the app that you need to secure and manage,” noted Perret. His perspective is that the information is most important; it is an organization’s information that is the liability and not the device. “The device no longer matters in terms of management.”  Perret warns that “in an app-centric world users want an instant on, app for anything, unfettered access experience – so much so that they will go around IT if the experience is locked down too tightly.”  This expectation can cause data exposure if not managed properly.

BYOD Insight – It is the access the apps have, not devices that endanger your data.

 

Perret’s default position is that “the device is a hostile environment.”  He views the trust model as fundamentally broken.  Devices have multipath connections (3G 4G LTE etc). They can run anonymous code. They can travel away from the corporate environment. “Even with well-intentioned employees organizations need to assume that the device is hostile.”  Many of the endpoint management solutions currently available don’t manage apps from this perspective. “They don’t have software control over apps, they can’t prevent the running of anonymous code, they can’t do packet inspection to detect data exports, etc.” Perret thinks it is imperative that IT shouldn’t trust the environment in which employees are accessing enterprise data.

BYOD Insight – Devices are hostile environments – manage accordingly.

Perret was also very astute to point out that the early MDM vendors took on a hard problem. They began developing solutions back when Symbian and other older systems were the top enterprise devices. Early MDM vendors had to write low-level code to control these first-generation devices. They did this because device management was the natural place to go.  Yet, once deployed, “organizations realized they needed apps for their managed devices,” Perret noted.  As time went on app requests expanded even further into the 3rd-party ecosystem.  IT departments found out that they got right into mobile app management as soon as device management was complete.  Perret argues that “every MDM customer will have need of mobile app management solutions as time passes.”

BYOD Insight – Managing devices is just the first step – recognize that you’ll be managing apps as well.

The last piece of the puzzle that Nukona wanted to solve was how to handle the diversity of app development. Perret noted that there are standards and APIs available to developers but that this approach has serious limitations. “Both approaches expect a behavioral change in developers,” he warned. This also places a reliance on audit mechanisms. It is a weak security practice to expect developers to become experts in security. Perret thinks that the role of developers should be to focus on leveraging the best tools available to create the best apps they can rather than on becoming security experts.

BYOD Insight – Don’t rely on the app development process to protect your data.

 

Next up – how Perret envisions enterprises can solve these challenges. 

 

NukonaAbout Nukona – Nukona has designed a unique enterprise-grade mobile management solution that delivers an outstanding, intuitive consumer-like app store user experience for employees, while also providing the level of management, control and security that IT requires to support data loss prevention and compliance on both personal and corporate devices. To learn more visit http://www.nukona.com

 

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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The Future of BYOD

Ojas RegeThis post is the last in a series on industry insights gleaned from my conversation with MobileIron’s Ojas Rege, Vice President of Products and Marketing. In the first post we looked at the past of BYOD, the second examined how to implement BYOD today. We now turn our focus to the future of BYOD and the role IT.

For the last 20 to 30 years the enterprise productivity mind-set has been in a rut guided toward a fixed point; the desktop PC. That rut is slowly being washed away.  Yet in this, the twilight days of PCs era, the future is looking bright for mobile devices and IT professionals.  But, before we can shift away from the box under our desks to enterprise productivity via mobile devices and the cloud there are some gaps that need to be closed.

Specifically, there exist gaps in the current device capabilities that are holding back the future of enterprise mobility. Rege was emphatic that there are some must-haves, such as encryption, that are not uniformly supported on device platforms outside of iOS. For example, encryption on a Windows Phone is currently non-existent.  He was clear to point out that “this isn’t a knock against Windows Phone, they [Windows Phone] just aren’t there yet.” He went on to say that “both iOS and Android waited until version 3 to add encryption.” Android needs to mature in this area as well. While encryption exists in newer OS versions of Android it is still in the process of being rolled out to the entire device ecosystem. Rege mentioned that when it comes to the latest release of Android “it will take 6-9 months for all the devices to be upgraded.”  That doesn’t mean Android is out of the mix from an enterprise perspective though. Encryption can be handled by the MDM platform. As Rege noted, “MobileIron handles encryption for Android in the meantime.” Android would be greatly improved as an enterprise option when a unified security mechanism exists across all flavors of Android. The irony of the “Consumerization of IT” is that, though the consumer is the driving factor in introducing mobile devices in to the workplace, the consumer perspective will have to take a back seat to enterprise needs in order to make the evolution complete.

Key BYOD/MDM insight –To be relevant in the future of enterprise mobility, device OS’s must evolve beyond consumer requirements.

In a future dominated by a range of mobile devices as the primary means for enterprise productivity, where does IT fit in? IT personnel who want to stay on top of their game they will need to find their way in a mobile and app-centric world. “IT needs to provide a value add” and for Rege this means figuring out device specifications, enterprise apps, and how to manage them. “Those who figure it out will be the expert and will find it to have been a very good career move.” Rege also sees IT doing more with fewer resources.  He provided a great example of this with one of MobileIron’s customers who had 7 iPhones under management when they began using MobileIron 2 years ago. Now that same customer has 3000 devices being managed – and all by the same, single individual.  This individual is the point-person for the entire organization for all things mobile and has become an invaluable resource to that organization. 

Key BYOD/MDM insight – Want to secure a future in IT? Make yourself a mobile ecosystem expert.

 

The future of BYOD is anything but completely defined. The boundaries are being tested every day – from corporate policy, to devices, to the app ecosystem, to security – there is an ever-changing environment to be navigated. There is a fantastic opportunity ahead for enterprising IT personnel who are not afraid to sail through these uncharted waters and become a key resource. To be successful, organizations will need to leverage a strong partner, like MobileIron, who has the depth and breadth to provide the platform and people to execute now and into the future of BYOD.

 

MobileIronMobileIron, founded in 2007, simplifies the chaos of workplace smart devices and mobile apps. These devices and apps are today’s employee business computing solution of choice. More than 1,400 firms use MobileIron’s mobile device management software to reduce cost, risk, and usability challenges that traditional mobile device management strategies fail to address.

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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How to successfully implement BYOD – On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

Ojas Rege
This post is the second in a series on industry insights gleaned from my conversation with MobileIron’s Ojas Rege, Vice President of Products and Marketing. In the first post we looked at the past of BYOD. Today we focus on the present and what it takes for a successful implementation of MDM.

 

On Your Marks

Planning is key to any successful project and MDM is no exception. Rege noted that beyond the requisite procedural checklist that needs to be compiled for implementation (certs, firewall configuration, etc) IT departments must consider the two following key areas:

  • Scalability
  • Policy

With traditional technology deployments, IT has been able to manage scale through a controlled roll-out of new platforms to select users. Rege explains that IT does not have the same luxury with BYOD. IT departments “have to plan for massive, fast growth,” Rege said, “they can’t incrementally add devices because user demand will necessitate otherwise.” He suggests planning right from the start what the processes to handle thousands of devices is going to be. He has personally seen the dramatic increase of devices that companies needs to be prepared for. “In most organizations adoption move s faster than IT can.” The message is clear; be prepared for mass adoption or you will become overwhelmed.

Besides scale, Rege views policy planning as imperative to success.  “Implementation is relatively easy,” it is determining the “security and privacy policies that are the biggest planning time commitment for enterprises” he stated. Organizations should plan on spending “several weeks” on developing these policies and strategies toward security and privacy. To assist in this process MobileIron offers guidance and education on best-practices as a free of charge service to their customers.

Key BYOD/MDM insight – IT has to be ready to blast out of the blocks or chance being left in the dust by size and standards.

Get Set

With so many MDM solutions currently available in the market, product evaluation will be a challenge for organizations. Rege thinks that organizations need to dig deeper than just getting rid of data from a lost phone; “Remote wipe is a commodity item and any platform worth its salt will have it,” he said.  Rege believes that strategic items are more important. This includes such features as the ability to set privacy policy, monitoring the right set of data on the device, certificate integration to manage identity, and access control for email. Rege recommends that companies should really be looking at MDM platforms that manage the complete lifecycle of applications, “The platform should be able to manage apps as an entire system,” he said.

Key BYOD/MDM insight – A good MDM platform should offer more than just water on race day, it should coach for the entire season.

GO!

Once an enterprise has settled on a platform, Rege recommends an evaluation period where the IT department can get a real sense for the full feature set. This will not only provide organizations the ability to determine if the platform will meet all their functional requirements but also provide a chance for IT to become comfortable with the solution ahead of time; thus helping avoid the stress of learning on-the-fly.

Rege stated that, given that organizations do the prep, implementation should be straight-forward and companies should “expect devices to be under management by the end of the first day using MobileIron.” Rege views the real challenge to success in the implementation of MDM to be shifting IT’s priority towards the end-users; “The IT department has to be absolutely focused on the user experience.” MobileIron views the user experience as a core tenet to a successful MDM deployment. If IT departments lock down useful features, require complex authentication, or have a lack of privacy then adoption challenges will be inevitable.  End-users will either abandon using the device or find loop-holes and go rouge. Rege noted that the successful implementations he has seen are “when the IT department has the mindset that is first focused on user experience.”

Key BYOD/MDM insight – Want to win the race? Then don’t forget BYOD is a team sport.

Next up: What does the future of IT and device management look like?

MobileIronMobileIron, founded in 2007, simplifies the chaos of workplace smart devices and mobile apps. These devices and apps are today’s employee business computing solution of choice. More than 1,400 firms use MobileIron’s mobile device management software to reduce cost, risk, and usability challenges that traditional mobile device management strategies fail to address.

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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Going Behind the Scenes with BYOD

I am beginning a new series on BYOD and MDM insights from industry leaders and influencers. My goal is to combine industry details with key takeaways that can be consumed quickly. I have no personal or financial affiliation with any of the parties involved with these interviews.

Going Behind the Scenes with BYOD

On Wednesday January 11th 2012 I got the opportunity to speak with Ojas Rege, Vice President of Products and Marketing for MobileIron. Rege has been with MobileIron since the first line of code was written back in 2008. A very lively discussion, Ojas’s palpable passion for the topic of BYOD past, present, and future coupled with his deep corporate, customer, and industry knowledge clearly demonstrates why MobileIron is an industry leader in the crowded field of Mobile Device Management solutions.

iOS – The Trojan Horse of BYOD

How did we get to where we find ourselves today with BYOD?  Rege views the introduction of the iPhone as the start of the BYOD movement in enterprises. “iOS was the catalyst that got devices in to the enterprise”. Once the devices began to arrive, users wanted to leverage them to connect to the corporate network. With Apple’s firm grasp on device development and manufacture, this provided the positive effect of device consistency. This led to what Rege sees as a second driving force of BYOD. Besides providing quasi- standardization, the iOS consistency created a platform where there was, as Ojas stated “less users could do to crash the device; less user created problems.”  The last driving force of BYOD Ojas pointed out was that the curated App Store. This greatly reduced the risk for malware while upholding standards and best practices.

Key BYOD/MDM insight – iOS was the epitome of the “easy first child” which made for a smooth introduction of consumer devices in the enterprise.

Savings vs. Support

From a business perspective Rege and MobileIron have seen the economics of hardware procurement as another driving force for BYOD. Businesses see the upfront economic savings of BYOD as a positive aspect. Ojas noted that for many customers it was, initially, an argument of cost benefits weighed against the pain(read cost) of support. MobileIron’s customers have however, in reality, found that helpdesk costs haven’t been an issue. In fact, calls to the enterprise helpdesk have been reduced after the implementation of their MDM solution. Ojas attributes this to pride in ownership – “individuals take the extra minute or two it takes to figure out the problem themselves rather than calling the helpdesk” as they don’t want IT touching their device.

Key BYOD/MDM insight: With MDM, customers see cost savings in hardware and helpdesk.

Droid Does BYOD

“BYOD has brought Android to the enterprise,” noted Rege. Of the 1400+ MobileIron’s customers, 60% of them have included Android in their BYOD planning and implementation. As this percentage increases the corporate device mix is beginning to closely mirror the consumer mix. Unlike iOS, Android has not retained tight controls over device manufacture, OS versioning, and app development. This has led to some unique mobile device management challenges. But as IT departments have matured in their MDM deployments, Ojas says, “they have learned quite a bit from the BYOD experience with iOS.”

Key BYOD/MDM insight: Android’s fractured nature has and will continue to pose challenges to MDM.

Past is Present

BYOD is driving rapid changes in the enterprise. Understanding the little history there is will help IT departments plan and implement MDM successfully. The novelty of BYOD as an enterprise directive has all organizations learning and creating best practices in parallel. We are a little ahead here in the US as compared to Europe. The US is about 6 to 12 month ahead of Europe according to Rege when it comes to MDM deployments. But the industry as a whole is still maturing.

Key BYOD/MDM insight: In BYOD’s short history seek out all the success stories you can.

Next in the series: Continued perspective from MobileIron’s Ojas Rege on enterprise MDM implementation.

MobileIron, founded in 2007, simplifies the chaos of workplace smart devices and mobile apps. These devices and apps are today’s employee business computing solution of choice. More than 1,400 firms use MobileIron’s mobile device management software to reduce cost, risk, and usability challenges that traditional mobile device management strategies fail to address.

Benjamin Robbins is one of the founders of AdminBridge – providing IT Administration from mobile devices. For more information visit http://adminbridge.com

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