Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and the cloud have opened up a great challenge for enterprise IT, making shadow IT ecosystems almost too easy for employees. The way IT must be conducted within the enterprise has irrevocably shifted, and the heavy-handed IT control of yore will no longer stand. If there is control without choice, workers will just go around the IT department.
At the same time, choice without any control is dreadfully insecure, and firms are feeling it as they try to figure out any way to lock down their sensitive data.
The front lines of this war are being waged by mobile device management (MDM) firms. The latest battle: How to secure content, not just applications.
For MobileIron, an MDM leader, it is all about having a content ecosystem in place that lets content move freely among applications, keeping the content itself secure and shifting the focus away from trying to secure and certify every app. In other words, secure the stream of content, not the app that is using the data stream.
This starts with making standards and technology that allow for accurate and cross-device rendering and editing of content. Anyone who currently tries to use a mobile device for slideshow presentations, for instance, knows how difficult it can be to accurately present and edit without a laptop.
“Instead of trying to solve document editing and competing with the many partners we’re working with in the space, we focused on the primary problem we heard from our customers,” noted Sean Convery in a recent MobileIron blog post. Namely, make it easy and secure to share comments and modify files.
“We automatically live-convert office files to PDF, and then let you use all the great capabilities of PDF document annotation: highlights, strike-through, shapes, comments, questions, etc. all in a format that you can send back to the author and they can view in their PDF reader on their mobile device or on their laptop,” he noted.
MobileIron is then pairing this enhanced ability to work with content with on-premise file access through services that can be secured and are widely used, such as Sharepoint, WebDAV, CIFS and the company’s AppConnect framework.
The same forces that created the BYOD wave are not just going to stop with the device but will extend to cloud services and applications, he predicted.
“This is why a Mobile IT Platform matters; it allows the entire industry of innovation to be leveraged by our customers around the world,” he wrote. “This ecosystem is part of our core mission: enabling the next-generation of productivity by embracing user choice with IT control.”
This is a fundamentally sound idea, and likely the direction of the future. All possible apps cannot be controlled, but creating a framework for locking down the data stream and keeping users within a secure framework is indeed possible – and MobileIron looks to make that a reality.
Edited by Blaise McNamee