I’m going to throw a bunch of statistics at you, because I think statistics provide instant street-cred (at least until you drill below the surface a little bit) and, by extension, I think that marketing people sometimes need some street cred. So here we go:
- 21% of companies have no restrictions on the use of personal devices – while 58% have lightweight policies and only 20% have stringent guideline – this I got from a USA Today article;
- 40% of organizations responding to a recent McAfee survey reported mobile devices lost or stolen often involve the loss of critical business data
- More than 50% of large enterprises expect to purchase tablets for employees over the next year – from Morgan Stanley
- 50% of firms have embraced a mobile platform strategy
- 60% of firms provide some support to personal devices (Forrester Fall 2010)
- 56% of enterprises allow personally owned smart phones to access company resources
- 16% of CIOs and IT leaders see mobility as a critical priority and 46% see it as a high priority (Forrester September 2010)
- 75% of organizations deploy mobile applications to increase worker productivity, and 65% to increase worker responsiveness
- 61% of enterprises will deploy 2FA mobile devices to their executives within 12 months, 59% to field service employees and 58% to their sales force (Forrester Technology Adoption Profile commissioned for Entrust)
So, why is this important. In a nutshell, mobility in enterprises is here to stay. But while mobile devices offer a great opportunity to enhance productivity they also present a number of challenges. The other day one of my colleagues, Dave Mahdi, presented on a webcast about this topic, with Forrester (see: Leveraging Mobile Devices for Stronger Security) in which he presented a number of the challenges often seen with the growth and adoption of mobile devices within the enterprise. Unlike laptops and PCs, the rise of mobile devices presents IT organizations with a host of new issues, such as:
- the need to deal with multiple platform types – particularly when leveraging personal mobile devices, not everyone is going to have the same platform
- inconsistency in managing mobile devices
- difficulty in controlling policies and devices
One of the first issues is ensuring that only authenticated devices are allowed to access a corporate network. One approach used in the past to authenticate these devices has been to issue them with digital certificates. But as Dave mentions, that has not been clear cut. As mentioned, there are many different platforms that need to be supported, and to make it easy on administrators, certificates need to be issued easily and consistently, regardless of the platform. And from a security perspective, having a certificate on a device – on a legitimate device – shouldn’t actually create a warm fuzzy feeling for the IT shop if that certificate is not unique to the device and can be easily transferred to another one that is perhaps not legitimate.
So – where am I going with all of this? Today Entrust announced the 10th version of its authentication platform, IdentityGuard. Now, as I’ve said several times, I try not to hype products in blog posts. But I’ve been on a mobility kick lately – check out some of the Authentication and Fraud Detection posts that I’ve done (See: Embedded Security for Mobile Applications… Way Cool), and I am also an avid user of mobile devices – I have an iPhone (in fact if I didn’t keep losing it I’d have four – kind of – and I love my iPAD). So what’s cool about this version of IdentityGuard is that it brings with it a new dimension in supporting mobile devices for the enterprise, because it delivers a consistent and easy method of enrolling certificates on mobile devices – and certificates unique to those mobile devices. So it solves a huge problem for organizations wanting to leverage these things.
And as my friends will readily admit – it’s pretty much always about me; and that means that someday soon I’m hoping to get the word from my good friend who heads up the IT shop (she’d probably take offense to that), that I can bring my iPAD to work!