The 12 steps to a healthy, secure mobile strategy

With almost three-quarters of Australian companies planning to increase their mobility spend in 2014, here's how to get your mobile strategy fighting for the new year.

Almost three-quarters of Australian companies are planning to increase their mobility spend in 2014, according to IDC. Users continue to demand device choice in the workplace and more enterprises are embracing mobile data.

For IT, however, meeting user mobile demands and keeping data secure poses a challenge. Often IT departments will deploy a mobile device management (MDM) solution in an attempt to control the device, but it’s a bit like following a half-hearted post-Christmas diet plan: it won’t deliver the desired results. MDM secures the device, but not the enterprise data on it, nor does it deliver any of the transformational benefits of mobile.

2014 is the year for businesses to makeover their mobile strategy and get it working at optimum fitness.

IDC found that 74 per cent of Australian companies are increasing their spend on mobile application deployments, platforms and application lifecycle strategies. In addition, 74 per cent are planning to re-engineer business processes, workflows and roles to leverage mobility.1

At the more advanced stages, businesses are realising that mobile can create new ways of working and boost productivity – allowing employees to complete tasks efficiently away from their desks – and transform business processes.

Based on our experience, here are the ‘The 12 Steps’ businesses need to take in order to build a healthy mobile strategy in 2014:

1. Consider at present, whether you are adequately securing your company data on employees' mobile devices. A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute shows 75 per cent of businesses find it difficult to stop employees from using unsecure mobile devices to access regulated data. If this applies to you, perhaps it is time to revisit your mobile strategy.

2. Knowledge is power. Being aware of the flaws that exist in your current enterprise mobility strategy will enable you to assess whether previous investments can be retained or a fresh start is required. Finding the best way to right the wrongs in your systems and move forward is a valuable step.

3. Consider what ‘secure’ mobility looked like two years ago. It is very different to what we see today. Traditionally, it was about controlling the device with MDM software, which left enterprise data at risk. Now, it’s about making sure your enterprise mobility solution can securely manage apps, data, and devices.

4. Telsyte identified the key advantage of a ‘containerisation’ approach, which separates corporate data from personal content on the user’s mobile device, to be that sensitive data can be encrypted or remotely wiped if required, while allowing the user to have the device of their choice. By securing business data and apps in a walled-off environment, employees can use your data on their mobile devices – personal or corporate liable –, while just as importantly, they are comfortable with your approach.

5. We have learnt that end-users dictate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) uptake in businesses, due to the emotional attachment employees have with their mobile device. By deploying a cross-platform solution that can secure a device regardless of mobile platform, you won’t need to enforce rules about which mobile platform your employees must use. This will enable the productivity benefits associated with BYOD, without encroaching on the freedom of choice of your employees.

6. Employees value employers who respect their right to privacy. As BYOD deployments continue to skyrocket, contemplate a mobility solution that lets employees retain control of their device and information, and keeps you away from their personal data.

7. As you take steps to increase the progress of secure enterprise mobility at your company, it is important to enable scalability as the business grows. A comprehensive, scalable option like the Good Secure Mobility Solution allows you to adjust as your mobility needs evolve – from securing email, to creating app-to-app workflows and secure custom apps.

8. When putting a secure mobile strategy into place, consider proactively learning from your employees to ensure that corporate data is not exposed, while simultaneously protecting their privacy.

9. Put into place a secure mobile user experience that appeals to employees. If they don’t enjoy using it, they won’t use it. Choose the solution that provides the data security you need coupled with the experience users want. 

10. Leverage your support system, or in this case, your ecosystem. Provide secure ISV applications that can work together and make it quicker and easier for employees to complete their core daily tasks while mobile.

11. One size doesn't fit all. More and more businesses are investing in custom business apps and an enterprise app store to offer tailored apps for employees. This will help make sure that you stay in touch with your workforce’s ever-changing needs and drive efficiency across your organisation.  

12. Now your enterprise mobility strategy looks healthy, remember to keep it fit. Keep up the investment in constantly evaluating, enhancing and growing your mobility strategy. Not only will this help speed up business processes, but it will open up new opportunities, build stronger customer relationships and create competitive advantage.

DC Cashman is vice president and general manager ANZ for  Good Technology.