BYOD, MDM and the definition of “Good” technology
As an industry and a market mature, there is a natural “raising of the bar.” In the early days, just the fact that you can do something is impressive. Once you get used to doing that thing, then you start focusing on the how.
How convenient. How cost effective. How it fits into my everyday life.
We have seen this phenomenon with how we access corporate data on our mobile devices. Ten years ago, the fact that you could get your email on your phone was amazing. Now, it is expected. But when BlackBerry went out of style, and people started using personal Androids and iPhones it changed the game for enterprises. Companies used to own the BlackBerrys that had corporate email and documents on them.
Next, people wanted that content on their own devices. So many companies started using lots of “protective” layers that can get the data out there on personal devices, but still ensure that the enterprise owns and has control of that data. So we all let our company put something on our device that opened up email and maybe even documents. These solutions were “good” for the company. They ensured that a device was being monitored, and could be wiped by the company. For the user? That was a different story. Often times the software was at least 10X slower than how they accessed their own personal email and documents.
But remember, the market was young. The focus was not on the “how” of the user experience but on the fact that we can just get it done. Users look at having to put a Mobile Device Management (MDM) container on their device as a major inconvenience. They see that their email takes several minutes to load for their work account, compared to seconds for their personal account. They do mobile banking and mobile payments without all these inconveniences, so they know that security does not have to be intrusive to them.
Could you imagine if your bank asked you to put their MDM on your device?
This is the time to rethink the legacy strategy of MDMs and secure containers. Instead of securing devices, why not secure the back end? That is where everyone’s email, documents and corporate apps live. In a real time, always connected world, it seems like we are clinging to outdated habits by storing data on devices and trying to protect it. The secure container should be your data center. The user should securely interact with it and when they are done they should not have anything remaining on their device. This is logically the best way to secure the enterprise. It is also the most convenient for the user. They can get access their work life as conveniently as their home life without having to put intrusive software on their personal devices.
Here are some pointers on how to adopt BYOD securely without a Stone Age user experience:
- Bring the focus of security back to the enterprise, not the device. Hybrid cloud platforms can give the users “cloud” accessibility that is always monitored, secured and controllable.
- Give users real-time access and don’t store anything on the device. Users don’t download movies from video services or download songs from music services–they stream them. Modern smart apps can stream email, documents and even corporate apps in real time with very fast performance.
- In a world of SaaS you can be agile. One size does not have to fit all. Review your strategy regularly. Split your needs into categories. Do what is best for the immediate needs and make sure your decisions are flexible towards change in the future.
As BYOD goes from the cutting edge to common everyday life, users will raise the bar on how they interact with their work life. The days of putting intrusive security software on every device are on their way out. Smart organizations are shifting their focus on securing the enterprise by giving real time access without ever storing data outside of their internal systems.