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The Mobile Workspace: A Strategy for Security – and ROI

What is it about mobility that brings out the ad hoc in IT? According to the 2014 Global State of Information Security Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and CIO magazine, only 42 percent of companies have a mobile security strategy.

Good for the 42 percent. But what about the 58 percent, a clear majority, that don’t have a mobile security strategy? It’s a sure bet that most of those companies have employees who use mobile devices. But security for those devices and the applications and data on them is not part of any strategy. Shocking.

The IT pros responding to that survey are refreshingly honest, but you have to ask, just what are they waiting for? In my last blog entry, I asked the somewhat rhetorical question whether the mobile enterprise is a passing fad or a permanent characteristic of enterprise IT. It’s permanent, of course. Unless you think we’re going to return to the pre-mobile era. So what are the 58 percent waiting for?

“Right now PC and mobile security are still fairly separate,” says Christian Kane, an analyst with Forrester Research. “Companies don’t have policies in place regarding personal devices. They might not have all the data and application security tools they need.” Indeed, [link to Desmond paper here] many survey respondents have not implemented such technologies as virtualized desktops, data loss prevention tools, asset management tools and a centralized data store. These technologies should complement an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution that brings together mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MAM), enterprise file sync & share, single sign-on, virtual private networks (VPN) and more.

Additionally, a mobile security strategy should go hand-in-hand with a mobile return-on-investment (ROI) strategy. The ROI of your mobile strategy will not entirely be tangible, but should account for the increased productivity of mobile users and of the company as a whole, among other factors. Not surprisingly, some of the same technologies, like virtual desktops and enterprise mobility management, come into play for both security and ROI.

To best address both the security and the ROI challenges that come with mobility, organizations should focus on finding a single solution that enables employees to be productive – securely - wherever they are, on whichever device they happen to be using, over any type of network. This can be done with a mobile workspace solutions that delivers a portable, always on and always connected work environment. That will maximize your employees’ engagement level, which should in turn reduce turnover, both key to productivity and ROI.

So think of mobile security and mobile productivity at the same time, as inseparable components of a single strategy. If you’re part of the 58 percent, it’s never too late to start.

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