Trends in of Mobile Device Management – Devices: Wearables and Containerization

As we saw, mobile device management is not about managing the device, but the data in particular.  However, there is a lot about the devices that influences data.  Wearable technology has come into vogue.  Let us look the last three years.In 2012, Google launched its Google Glasses and Samsung rolled out a smart watch, while other big tech players including Apple have launched Apple Watch recently.  On the horizon are other wearables like contacts and shirts, that can adapt based on user’s needs and can help perform various tasks that a smart card or a smart phone can do. While smart phones or cards are easily identifiable, wearables through challenges on physical and IT security challenges for the enterprise.

Let us put this in context – when BYOD and Consumerization of IT is a way to increase productivity, it also brings in a new paradigm for mobile device security.  A recent study by Fortinet has already found that one-eighth of the employees seeing wearables as a possibility and more than one-third predicting that they will be affordable.  So the challenge is upfront – IT security managers will have to factor wearables in their mobile security plan.

The first and obvious plan is to introduce multi-level defence.  Creating ‘corporate containers’ within a general device, with both enterprise as well as application level passwords will help one level of protection.  A secure container allows IT to isolate applications, disable certain functions of apps within the container and wipe information within the container without affecting user data, as well as remotely wipe devices in case of loss or theft. Most mobile device come with native security.  This security, as seen by statistics, are neither uniform nor adequate.  So containerization is based on a third party application.   Container applications are available on Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone operating systems, with vendors like BlackBerry offering an application called Secure Work Space for both iOS and Android and BlackBerry Balance for its own BlackBerry devices. In the same vein, Samsung offers Knox, AT&T offers Toggle, and VMware offers containerization for Android from the Horizon Mobile technology in Horizon Suite.

One of the biggest benefits from an Enterprise IT point of view is that containerization allows security managers to take a singular approach and apply policies or actions heterogeneous devices like tablets, smartphones and wearables. Containerization provides the opportunity to balance security and productivity, so it is important to make the whole experience simplified and user friendly for employees.

Previous blog:  – MDM: Its not about the device but the data