Mobile World Congress Reflects Importance of Mobility
Mobile World Congress was amazingly popular again. Four full days and approximately 75,000 people, it was a busy show for any organization involved in mobile technology. From chipmakers like Qualcomm, to car companies like Ford, anyone who is heavily invested in mobile showed up.
While I’d love to personally touch on each vertical, new technology or announcement, the event was just too vast. That said, I did come away with several key takeaways in areas that directly relate to Mobile & Identity Security. An area that we’ve been focusing on heavily here at Entrust.
Near-Field Communication (NFC)
Some said it was dead in the water. Well, I didn’t see a single device there (pretty much) that didn’t have NFC. Every major handset vendor has an NFC device and, with that, an NFC strategy; the notable exception being Apple.
I liked how Mobile World Congress developed an NFC badge app. Its purpose? Allow users with NFC handsets to bypass some of the longer lines to get in. NFC was everywhere at this show — not only in all of the handsets that vendors were touting, but NFC tags were scattered all over the show hall.
Essentially, these tags replace the function of QR codes. So, rather than having to line up your camera to take a picture of the QR code, you simply tap your NFC-enabled device and you are taken to the advertisement, coupon, offer, landing page, give-away, etc.
The key takeaway? NFC isn’t totally ready for prime time today, but many organizations are getting it ready. From mobile network operators, banks and retailers, organizations are moving ahead with NFC strategies. Even if you are a small- or medium-sized business, NFC will impact you one way or another, so my advice is to keep a keen eye on it.
Embedded Security – Personal & Corporate Collision
One of the key announcements that stuck in my mind was Samsung Knox. It essential allows true secure separation of a user’s personal and corporate data on their mobile device.
By simply touching the “Knox mode” icon, you can switch in and out of a secure mode, where the data, and processes, are “ securely “separated” from each other. It’s a very interesting development.
Of course, we’ve seen this with BlackBerry already, but clearly a key area to address is the wave of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives. While the vast number of smartphone models were first made with the consumer in mind, they are now taking the enterprise environment much more seriously. It’s smart for organizations to make sure they understand what is possible with current handsets. For those organizations that have employees that are using mobile devices with this functionality, consider using it. At a minimum, it should decrease your attack surface (amongst other things).
Trusted Execution Environment
Being a security vendor — and the fact that we produce mobile apps to secure identities and transactions — we have a big interest in Trusted Execution Environment. What is it? Well, it’s essentially an area on a mobile device where secure/sensitive transactions can occur — things like mobile wallet, online purchases and access to buildings, parking and so on.
We met with an organization called Trustonic, which is doing some very interesting work here. As the mobile market matures, technology like Trustonic’s will be embedded into more and more devices. If you are concerned about security, and you are using mobile devices today, this is an area you should keep an eye on.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) Evolution
I have been interested in MDM technologies and vendors for quite some time. I followed many of the vendors, tracking their progress. The leaders in the space are demonstrating some impressive growth rates.Many of them have demonstrated a clear understanding of the market and are reacting to rapid developments at a good pace.
Many MDMs were born out of a core problem: “how can we manage all of the different devices.” The disruptive MDMs in the space are making the leap to truly become innovators that will enable organizations to realize the competitive difference of mobile. The vendors that aren’t trailblazing, or even following this path, will likely fizzle.
This was an exciting event that we were a part of. I had the pleasure of talking to some AirWatch prospects, customers and partners — all of whom were doing some very cool things with their technology.If you haven’t invested in mobile device management yet, it is certainly something to consider. There are a number of very cool MDM vendors out there today. Talk with each because some might be better for your organization depending on your goals today — and where you want to be tomorrow.
When you engage with your MDM vendor, try to gain insight on their long-term vision. And ask yourself, does this align with where we want to be? The MDM market is evolving and there will be more major market shifts to come.
This was a quick glance at the technology and innovation that really stuck in my mind from Mobile World Congress 2013. This certainly doesn’t cover everything, but capsulize the topics I thought would be worth discussing. From Entrust’s perspective, this was an extremely valuable show that allowed us to talk to prospects and technology partners, all who had one thing in mind — mobility.