Striking the right balance between security and mobility strategies

Sponsored By: Blackberry

The majority of IT decision-makers say that although a mobility strategy is a priority, controls to address mobile security challenges are a source of frustration.

Mobility is a fundamental element of digital transformation, said Jim Love, ITWC CIO and host of the recent webinar, Strategic and Secure Mobility. But it’s a balancing act with security measures, he added. “If security gets in the way of business users, the frustration causes them to go around the rules”.

Sponsored by BlackBerry, the webinar looked at how to raise the bar on mobile security without having a negative impact on productivity.

Competing Priorities?

“There’s no doubt that mobility is transforming business,” said Love. He pointed out that half of mobilized companies have achieved business benefit gains of 20 per cent and that 73 per cent have reduced IT operations staff time. Overall, the average return on investment for implementing mobility solutions is 150 per cent.

Mobile devices and networks have the speed and capacity to deliver on the promise, according to Alex Willis, vice president of technical solutions at BlackBerry. Companies are moving up the scale in using mobile not just for email, but for applications and business processes.

At the same time, protection of data is at the forefront, said David Kleidermacher, senior vice president and head of security at BlackBerry. In 2015, the world saw the ten worst data breaches in history, while in 2016, there’s a ransomware epidemic. “Attackers are more determined and sophisticated,” said Kleidermacher. “You can’t simply cobble together components anymore.”

A BlackBerry survey of 1000 IT decision-makers revealed that mobile devices are perceived as IT’s weakest link in security. While 77 per cent of the respondents acknowledge that employees access sensitive enterprise information via mobile, 86 per cent say they’re not confident in mobile security. Another 83 per cent say mobile security causes frustration among employees.

The value proposition for mobility transformation must “find the intersection between high value security and business productivity”, added Kleidermacher.

A Holistic Solution

Security policies limit what people can do, said Willis. “A holistic mobility solution is about enabling people to gain a competitive advantage.”

As part of its “epic turnaround”, BlackBerry made acquisitions in the last two years to provide enterprise mobility management across all platforms, from IoS to Android, said Willis. “Software is our business.”

Organizations need a toolkit that addresses annoying security problems. As an example, a common irritant is the need to authenticate for access to each application, after you’ve already signed into the workspace. Willis said BlackBerry now provides a service called Mobile Zero Sign-On for cloud applications which automatically provides access to the applications once you’ve signed in.

Another challenge is how to securely share documents with people outside your organization. Businesses can use BlackBerry’s WatchDox service to extend file security beyond their firewall, said Willis. When you send a file, all of the security controls, like a prohibition on printing, go with it. “The advantage is that people can still send files from their phone. They don’t have to change the way they work,” said Willis.

Kleidermacher emphasized, however, that when companies begin this journey, it’s a mistake to start with the technology. “They need to review their processes and standards first,” he said.  BlackBerry offers a free 90-minute review of an organization’s security practices, benchmarked against industry peers, he added.

A fully integrated solution is the best way to help organizations with a mobile first strategy, said Willis. “If you do it the right way, and make it easy, people will use it.”


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Sponsored By: Blackberry

Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.