Home EMEAEMEA 2013 Secure mobile distribution of corporate content

Secure mobile distribution of corporate content

by david.nunes
Ian EvansIssue:EMEA 2013
Article no.:14
Topic:Secure mobile distribution of corporate content
Author:Ian Evans
Title:Managing Director EMEA
PDF size:237KB

About author

Ian Evans is Managing Director for the European, Middle Eastern and African regions (EMEA) region at AirWatch, specialised in enterprise mobility management, mobile security, mobile device management (MDM) mobile application management (MAM) and mobile content management (MCM) solutions. Mr Evans has more than 20 years of experience in the software industry. Mr Evans worked previously as Managing Director, EMEA of Aste, a software solutions company. Before Astea, Mr Evans was director, EMEA for O4 Corporation, and a vice president at InforGlobal Solutions.
Ian Evans holds a degree in Computer Science

Article abstract

When sharing corporate content in the cloud, with everything accessed via mobile devices, it can be difficult to manage access. Free cloud file sharing services distribute corporate documents to employee-owned devices, but offer businesses little protection or control. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions provide secure corporate content management and protection,; they prevent leakage and theft while enabling distribution. Hybrid approaches using a combination of internal and external storage can provide the most flexibility and help companies control employee user costs.

Full Article

Revoking all access to corporate content when an employee left a company used to be easy a decade ago, when removal of door entree blocked admission to all corporate information and data. The year 2013 brings new ramifications, as employees have come to expect easy access to corporate resources from any device, anywhere at any time. With corporate content often shared across users and in the cloud, IT departments may find it hard to keep control. As mobile access is becoming increasingly business-critical, IT departments in companies across EMEA are challenged to securely deploy content to mobile devices, to enable collaboration and to prevent data loss and leakage.

Business challenges
During the past few years I have seen the first generation of mobile natives enter the workforce. A new set of business challenges emerged, as mobile workers increasingly utilise widely available and free cloud file sharing services to distribute corporate documents, potentially risking data loss and leakage. Challenges exist also in the proliferation of personal accounts used for business, the rapid adoption of mobile devices and file sharing apps, and employee-owned devices with access to corporate content.

In the cloud-collaboration space, users are very often ahead of IT. When employees started to collaborate online, they introduced basic, consumer-grade cloud storage solutions that do not normally offer the data protection or enterprise control capabilities businesses require into the workplace, as alternatives were not readily available. Today, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions provide content management security and protection alongside wider mobility support to help businesses prevent leakage and theft and enable the distribution and sharing of corporate information while ensuring that it remains secure.

The role of mobile content management across industries

The uptake of mobile devices varies across countries, industries and job roles. While sharing content on tablets and mobile phones may not be suitable for everyone, many have seen great benefits:

• Aviation: This is an example of an industry where tablets have completely transformed customer experience and the work environment. Air France now offers customers the possibility to download digital versions of newspapers on their mobile devices on the day of their trip , and KLM and Air France have recently announced the launch of inflight Wi-Fi .

Aircraft operators also utilise Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) to streamline updates to their flight manuals. Instead of providing paper copies of manuals that had to be reprinted every two weeks, digital content can be stored on tablets and updated with ease. With a conventional flight bag containing an average of 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot, EFBs offer significant green benefits by reducing paper use and, through decreased weight, reducing fuel consumption. Having switched to EFBs, one airline expects to save nearly 16 million sheets of paper a year and 326,000 gallons of jet fuel. By abolishing heavy 40-pound flight bags in favour of EFBs, airlines have also been able to address back injuries, a health and safety issue not uncommon among pilots. As EFBs are subject to stringent compliance and security measures to ensure passenger safety and protect sensitive data, a suitable enterprise mobility management solution is critical.

• Education: Tablet devices are changing the modern classroom, and schools see better engagement from students and increased relevancy of the instructional materials from eLearning, as videos, presentations and eBooks become readily accessible. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) schemes that allow pupils to access teaching material on their own mobile devices are becoming more important to schools and universities, with 67 per cent of UK schools currently considering BYOD important, up from 52 per cent in 2012. To ensure that pupils have access to required classroom content, remain secure and not access unsuitable content, schools and universities utilise device and content management systems that enable them to restrict access to inappropriate websites as well as push relevant study material to devices in specified classrooms only.

• Healthcare: Healthcare providers across Europe are under increasing pressure to realise cost savings and improve patient care, which lead to this industry seeing rapid uptake of mobile devices. Health workers can access patient information on-the-go, eliminating the need to go into the practice before being able to see patients. Mobile devices are streamlining work processes, with doctors and nurses having information about a patient immediately available on their tablets, eliminating the need for a computer or paper chart. A lot of work is now done exclusively on tablets. Patient information is accessed through mobile devices that are shared across shifts and can travel anywhere and healthcare privacy laws requiring data security become increasingly important. Mobile device and content management solutions that enable shared device ownership ensure that patient data is only accessible to the appropriate healthcare individual.

• Field Sales: This is an area where tablets will ultimately take over and laptops will be phased out as companies update their PC inventory. Field sales teams will do sales presentations on mobile devices and access corporate content such as brochures and pricing information through these. With content managed centrally, any additional information a prospect or client may require can be pushed to the individual device immediately, providing the sales executive will any content required.

Integration with existing infrastructure ensures simplicity
The influx of mobile devices in enterprises has, to a large extent, been user driven and users have determined which solution is being used, without the enterprise taking cost, architecture, security, audit-ability or logging of activities into account. Professional procurement of content management solutions, with distinct prerequisites, regulatory and integration requirements is only now starting to emerge.

Through integrated, secure content repositories, businesses are able to control not only content but also the geographic location the content is enabled for – only in proximity to the office for example, the tools that can be used to open and read content, and the rights and permissions around the content, limiting which content can be printed, edited or forwarded. To prevent leakage of corporate data and ensure that devices read contents securely, organisations can use network directory credentials for subscription access control lists to enable EMM integration with corporate repository services such as SharePoint or encrypted file share drives such as Amazon drives.

The importance of user experience
Enterprise-grade content management solutions need to be user-friendly and non-invasive if they are to successfully replace consumer-grade solutions in the enterprise. A hybrid approach where storage is a combination of internal and external storage can, for example, allow for the most flexibility. It enables companies to share content with their own employees through secure mobile access to SharePoint or File servers and allow employees to utilise personal storage areas, utilising third party repositories in cases where companies don’t have sufficient internal storage capacity.

Cost ramifications of unmanaged content management solutions
Collaboration is one of the two main factors in the content management space, the second one, which many businesses are not taking into account, is cost management. The cost ramifications of synchronising gigabytes of files are often overlooked. While data plans may be fairly generous in some countries, they can become a major cost factor when employees are using mobile devices while travelling across EMEA, or are using BYOD devices. Companies that sign employees up to automatically receive digital content but don’t limit content from downloading while roaming may face major cost implications. Cost control is a main control factor companies need to take into account and chosen enterprise mobility management solutions need to be able to facilitate this granular level of control.

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