Panelists at a mobile security discussion held on June 20 debated whether IT professionals should focus on the application layer or the physical layer when protecting information.
Mobile security: Requires both MDM and MAM
Panelists at a mobile security discussion held on June 20 debated whether IT professionals should focus on the application layer or the physical layer when protecting information. Experts from different government departments agreed that protecting the information itself is important, but mobile device management should not be neglected. A recent FierceGovernmentIT article highlighted comments from the discussion.
"Focusing on the information is definitely where we're going to put more of our effort - but protecting information is even harder than protecting systems," said Sean Donelan, Network and Infrastructure Program Manager within the Homeland Security Department's National Cyber Security Division.
Ron Ross, a senior computer scientist and information security researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, echoed concerns expressed by Donelan.
Another challenge addressed by panelists is the need for both information security and functionality. Rick Holgate, Chief Information Officer of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, warned against strategies that limit the usability of mobile devices. For example, the containerization approach sections off data within mobile devices into its own secure application. While containerization provides a high level of protection for enterprise information, it may limit employee access to the enterprise resources they need.
Mobile device management requires a multi-pronged approach
A recent Forbes article also stressed the importance of addressing both devices and applications. The article identifies several key elements to a comprehensive MDM strategy. One of those suggestions involves creating an enterprise mobility "center of excellence."
"This is where your company would centralize management and policy-making around the mobile initiatives at your company," the article states. "It should be comprised of both IT staffers that are knowledgeable in the devices, developers who can write the apps your company wants to deploy, and line-of-business and process experts who can make sure that everything harmonizes with your organization’s strategy."
Mobile device management: Enterprise mobility requires mobile-centric solutions
Forbes expanded the importance of developing a strong mobility knowledgebase by presenting the idea of a Chief Mobile Officer. This would be an executive position designed to weave mobile solutions into business operations. The article highlights research from Forrester that identified the value of having a professional to coordinate mobile efforts. According to Forrester's research, one company had "100 mobile projects underway at the same time. Another was supporting 114 different versions of the BlackBerry operating system." A CMO could bring these projects together by connecting them to the company's mobile strategy.
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