Customers and employees are demanding greater mobility of services. Organizations are being driven to it by competition. Mobile applications are being created by the dozen for all types of needs; and there is a rush to download and use these applications to meet employee demand for mobile versions of traditional applications or fear of falling behind the competition. But, the overarching question remains—are all these applications and devices that connect to the enterprise network safe? Will the proven risk mitigation practices work in this new scenario? Can mobility be embraced without worries?
Mobile application development is at its infancy. A quick survey of existing and mobile applications in-process of development reveals that most applications are being developed to address traditional productivity tasks such as customer facing activities, email, sales forecasting, online banking, online shopping carts, and order tracking applications. These applications aim to provide employees and customers instantaneous access to corporate networks. This is being promoted, encouraged and used by many organizations. Such applications seem to fly in the face of all logic when security breaches and cybercrimes are on the rise. Unfortunately, the dangers of the practice are but dimly perceived, as needs are alleged to be urgent.
Security of mobile devices is a dimly perceived need. A 2012 Global State of Information Security Survey (PWC with CIO and CSO magazine) reported that out of the 9,600 C-Level executives surveyed, less than 50% of them had ensured that their enterprise was guarded against mobility related security hazards. 43% of the enterprises had implemented a security strategy for the use of employee owned mobile devices. Clearly there is a rush to adopt mobility. There is only a vaguely acknowledged requirement for mobility specific security practices.
The altruistic adoption of employee devices, third party mobile applications, and the business-needs-driven efforts at expanding enterprise reach cannot be stopped. It follows that access to devices and management of security must be improved. The vulnerabilities of mobility will have to be identified, addressed and appropriate security measures adopted.
Cloud backup service providers are conscious of the revolution that has been unleashed. They recognize that a paradigm shift has occurred. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers centralize and coordinate the development of mobile applications that run on a variety of platforms, so that enterprises are not burdened with the task of developing boutique applications for different devices or grappling with the hostile environments that are pervasive in the mobile world. They effectively identify vulnerability points and design applications that build security into the lifecycle of the product.
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