As many corporate networks around the world are quickly becoming flooded by the introduction of countless devices driven by the increasingly popular BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend, these organizations are looking for a way to allow employees to utilize their personal devices while remaining safe and secure. Enter mobile device management, a solution that enables users to have a robust offering in place that is purpose-built to secure and manage mobile apps, content, and devices for global companies.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Blue Coat has been a leader in Web security since the late 1990s when it was operating under another name and subsequently rebranded the company under the name Blue Coat (News - Alert) in 2002. Since that time, the organization has continued to see established growth in large enterprises with its product offering being extremely successful and currently penetrating over 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies including financial and federal businesses in order to provide secure Web gateway functionality both in ingress and outgress points from the enterprise to the Internet.
Recently, I had the chance to speak with Sasi Murthy, director of Web Security at Blue Coat all about the company’s mobile application control offering that will enable IT to extend corporate policies onto employee mobile devices and significantly increase visibility into what is taking place within any businesses infrastructure.
The company’s just unveiled solution was created from the ground up to help organizations keep better control over corporate networks in the face of exploding mobile applications, as well as BYOD initiatives that has allowed people to use their personal devices in the office. Users leveraging the corporate network for personal and office work can quickly become a problem when people use their own devices to access social media websites such as Facebook (News - Alert).
Murthy said, “Until this announcement, customers couldn’t see these mobile applications as the Facebook mobile app is different from the Web application. While conventional solutions simply block and allow, when using Blue Coat on the Web you can now have all these controls including over Web-based e-mail. Now our customers can have corporate policies in place that allows users to enter Facebook for only certain use cases. For example, we allow reading of information in blogging but we don’t allow uploading of information such as videos or attachments. Before this solution was introduced, a user could come in with their device and do whatever they wanted on the Facebook mobile application, but now organizations have the ability to apply that same consistent policy on any device on the corporate network.”
As far as where Blue Coast views the BYOD trend headed in the near future she added, “I think there’s definitely a rising awareness in organizations that are realizing they need to take some action in regards to the BYOD trend. My observations today in talking to our customers, is they still don’t have full BYOD policies implemented yet, so part of our role here is to help our customers understand questions they should be thinking about.”
In Murthy’s opinion, the trend will definitely continue to ramp up and organizations must remain mindful that they need to take action to protect the network and also their business assets.
“Even when they are given money to purchase their device by their employer, users still believe it is theirs and this creates an interesting conundrum and is going to force these policy decisions to take place,” according to Murthy.
Blue Coat’s offering highlights that you can have policies that are appropriate to the individual user and the devices. When you are on the corporate network with a corporate issued device such as a laptop, yes there are certain policies your organization expects to implement and you’re going to have to go with that. Luckily though, that ability to have a situational policy is available from this provider and they are helping to extend the policies that make sense to users.
Looking from the company’s standpoint, it offers an appliance-based solution that sits at the gateway and last year it introduced its cloud security offering that can actually extend out to roaming devices and so on. According to a press release, the new mobile application controls are seamlessly integrated into the Blue Coat ProxySG appliances and the Blue Coat Cloud Service. And the company makes it its mission to continuously add new applications and operations to its mobile application controls on a monthly basis to optimize the value delivered to customers.
She concluded, “The MDM strategy really plays in conjunction with that as they are really focused on helping organizations manage the devices and manage the profile, yet Blue Coats’ offering is really to secure and manage all of the Web traffic. So while we sit together, we certainly recommend organizations have a solid MDM strategy that’s not really in conflict or overlaps with what the Blue Coat solution does, but seamlessly integrates where it makes sense in the enterprise.”
At this time, very few vendors actually offer this capability so it’s further evidence that all types of businesses who are thinking of mobile devices and mobile device management really need to closely analyze the mobile applications that are running on the network today.
With recently released statistics from Forrester Research (News - Alert) highlighting that 50 percent of people are purchasing smartphones on their own and then combining that with what is happening with mobile apps as on average people have up to 65 mobile apps on their devices, this problem of keeping the corporate network highly secure isn’t going to stabilize or subside, but instead it’s going to increase and that corporate vs. personal usage vector will continue to blur.
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