The "bring your own device" trend means IT departments have to support personal devices and secure the data being stored on them. IBM Security Services has a managed service to help.
IBM announced a new managed
service to help IT administrators manage and support all the personal mobile devices
being used by employees.
With IBM's Hosted Mobile
Device Security Management service, IT departments can ensure personal phones
and tablets comply with corporate security policies, protect them from malware
infections, track user activity and secure connections to the network, IBM said
Nov. 11. The service would cover devices running Apple's iOS, Google's Android,
Research in Motion's BlackBerry, Nokia's Symbian and Microsoft's Windows
Mobile, according to IBM.
"The new service from IBM
helps organizations protect their enterprise data while allowing employees to
have the flexibility needed for today's work environment," said Marisa
Viveros, vice president of IBM Security Services.
The growing "bring your
own device" trend means IT departments are increasingly being asked to
support any device the employee wants to use to access corporate email,
documents and applications, regardless of what platform is officially supported
by the company.
"The BYOD trend creates real
opportunity for employees to become more productive, but it also carries risk
unless it is managed properly," said Viveros.
Dell Kace survey
of 750 IT managers found that 87 percent of companies have
employees using some kind of personal device accessing a corporate network.
"No single device is used dramatically more than others, meaning that IT
must be aware of a wide range of operating systems and devices that connect to
their systems," Dell KACE researchers wrote in the report. The same survey
found that 62 percent of IT administrators felt they don't have the tools to
properly manage them all.
With more and more personal
devices in the enterprise, the IT department no longer has the power to veto
what employees use to access corporate resources and data, Stephanie Balaouras,
principal analyst and research director at Forrester Research, said at a recent
IBM press event. Instead of being a "Department of No," and blocking
devices, IT now has to be the "Department of Yes," and find ways to
keep data secure, Balaouras said.
With more information than
ever being stored on mobile devices, cyber-attackers are also beginning to pay
attention to the platform. A recent IBM X-Force study projected that the number
of software weaknesses that can give a criminal access to data on a phone or tablet
will double this year from 2010. IBM X-Force tracked 15 exploits last year and
expects to see more than 30 this year.
The new hosted mobile-device
service would help organizations protect against and monitor data loss and
other risks caused by device theft, unauthorized access, malware, spyware and
malicious applications, IBM said. Businesses would have access to risk-management
features such as being able to secure data in the event that the phone or
tablet is lost or stolen, track the missing device, and detect and remove
malicious and unapproved applications. IBM will also have a policy feature
where IT departments can list their own requirements and monitor user
Big Blue is working with
Juniper Networks to provide the protection and device management technology
through the Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite. The service will provide a
self-cleaning feature that protects devices from dangerous applications by deleting
them from the server.