Apps World 2013: Security concerns create barrier to enterprise mobile strategies

Enterprises should have investment in security at the forefront of any mobile strategy, a panel of industry experts at Apps World Europe claimed.


Enterprises should have investment in security at the forefront of any mobile strategy, a panel of industry experts at Apps World Europe claimed.

Speaking as part of a discussion titled 'Fostering innovation: Why enterprises should love mobile', a panel of vendors and end-users discussed the need to deploy mobile apps to customers and their own workforce in order to capitalise on growth in use of smartphones and tablets and spur innovation within the business.

According to Nathan Hayes, IT Director at UK law firm Osborne Clarke, developing a mobile strategy has had a particular impact on encouraging the company's own lawyers to use enterprise systems they would typically avoid.

“An interesting challenge we face with our lawyers is they are not particularly engaged with technology - it is not something they feel particularly comfortable with. So any mechanism we can use to really increase that engagement is of significant interest to us,” he told delegates at Apps World Europe at London's Earl's Court.

“For us it is very much about using that engagement as a way of getting our employees to use the technologies available to them to a much better degree than they usually would within a much more traditional enterprise environment.”

However a major barrier to realising the benefits of a mobile strategy is concern around security. Hayes added that when developing a mobile strategy, just as much should be invested in creating a secure environment as there is for ensuring apps are easy to use and integrate well with back-end systems.

“There is no doubt that the complexity we are introducing to our organisation by having such a multitude of end-points increases the risks associated with security," he said.

“So we have to see security very much as part of the investment in mobile technologies, so that we are investing to the same level in features and functionality as we should be in security.”

Martyn Croft, CIO at the Salvation Army, added that enterprises should look at the way they classify and segment information within their organisation in order to enable bring your own device (BYOD) schemes.

“For me, bring your own doesn't mean free for all. You might be able to bring an iPad into an organisation, but you are not going to connect it to some of the systems that hold some of the crown jewels of the organisation,” Croft said.

“What I can do though is provide a safe and secure environment in which to operate and put services into that.  Then you can consume on a device that I am not to be able to ascertain the security of.

“So let's put the focus back on keeping data safe and secure in the data centre. You don't keep copying it onto laptops or Android devices. Leave it where it is and keep it safe there.”

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