Mformation Study Reveals Tablet Security Fears

Employee-owned, ‘backdoor’ mobile devices entering the corporate network and the WikiLeaks affair, have combined to highlight ongoing security challenges with enterprise mobility, according to new research from Mformation Technologies.

The company commissioned Vanson Bourne, a research-based technology marketing consultancy, to survey 200 chief information officers (CIO) from the US, and 100 from the UK, working in organizations that employ more than 3,000 people.     
According to the survey, 76 per cent of CIOs say employee-owned mobile devices are creating security headaches. 78 per cent don’t even know what devices are connected to the corporate network. Consequently, 77 per cent of enterprises have no idea what data is on all of these devices. In fact, one in three aren’t able to track data on devices that they themselves issue to employees. More worryingly, in the likely event that a device is ever lost or stolen, only 56 per cent of businesses are able to secure them.

“Enterprise mobility may well be a business imperative, but it remains a massive risk,” says Mformation CEO, Todd DeLaughter. Indeed, 67 per cent of organizations today are more concerned about mobile data security because of the recent WikiLeaks revelations. But this is only part of a more complex problem that most businesses face today.

“Attempts to improve the management of mobile devices, such as smartphones and more recently laptops, netbooks and tablets, as they connect over cellular networks, are hampered by a number of challenges. For example, IT strategies such as simplifying management by standardizing on specific devices or platforms are regularly overturned by users, who now want to bring their own devices into the enterprise. First it was in the mobile phone arena. Now we are seeing employees bring in computing devices like the iPad and Galaxy tablets.”

Mformation notes that, unlike traditional IT infrastructures, mobile platforms tend to be fragmented, and are changing at a rapid rate. This means that unique processes are required, even for standard management tasks such as security, software updates, device configuration and trouble-shooting. These processes must also be performed over-the-air, as the device is often off the corporate network, and becomes costly to recall for everyday support issues. Point solutions do exist to address the problem, but have significant limitations in terms of cost, as large upfront CAPEX investments are needed, as well as the ability to keep up to date with the latest devices.

In fact, 77 per cent of CIOs say that, unlike management of traditional computing devices that are on the network, limited time and budget, coupled with increasing complexity, has led to a lack of maturity when it comes to managing mobile devices.

“From my past experience building enterprise IT management solutions, I was shocked at the lack of maturity around deployed management solutions for mobile devices compared to the traditional tools managing servers, routers and applications,” adds DeLaughter. “IT is literally flying blind. Enterprise IT organizations need solutions that can integrate into existing IT service delivery frameworks and extend them with these new mobile device management capabilities. New models such as cloud-based device management from service providers and IT organizations are one route to solve this problem and support this category.”

Mmformation’s mobile device management (MDM) technology is used by 70 per cent of the largest Tier-1 mobile operators worldwide. The company offers a lifecycle management solution that enables operators to accelerate their data revenues and reduce support costs.