Today, enterprises are intent on mobilizing business applications to increase productivity, drive topline growth and improve customer satisfaction-in short, to improve business performance. With the release of the iPad, Apple has helped to accelerate when the enterprise will mobilize lines of business applications such as business intelligence, sales force automation (SFA), point-of-sale and document sharing, among others.
But before corporate IT can begin rolling out the iPad, there are five foundational underpinnings necessary for an organization to succeed with their application mobilization initiatives. These underpinnings are security, connectivity, personalization, integration and scale. Here, I will detail how enterprise mobility management (EMM) platforms can be used by the enterprise to address these foundational requirements.
Enterprises are required to protect corporate data on devices such as the iPad, including business application data, user credentials, shared credentials, e-mail and personal information. To meet this requirement, organizations can rely on EMM platforms to reduce the risks associated with violations of regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), while enforcing compliance with corporate IT security policies.
When selecting an EMM platform, look for one whose architecture leverages native security (for example, PIN and password, encryption, and local and remote wipe) and management features that are built into enterprise-class mobile devices. By properly configuring mobile devices-such as the iPad-to connect into an existing IT infrastructure, data services can be delivered while maximizing infrastructure investment-and offering the best possible experience to users.
By following this architecture, IT can provide the necessary security controls yet remain seamless and unobtrusive to users. Also, doing so does not negatively affect device performance, battery life or impact the productivity benefits of the iPad.
Mobile applications are most powerful when they can efficiently connect to back-end data services. Devices such as the iPad are powerful productivity tools in part because they provide an array of connectivity options. In addition, enterprise-class devices provide powerful VPN capabilities which, when combined with wireless connectivity, provide secure remote access to enterprise data. These networking capabilities enable a new world of transaction-oriented applications in addition to the important and well-supported enterprise e-mail application.
When selecting an EMM platform, look for one that automates the configuration of secure WiFi, VPN and native e-mail sync. By properly configuring the iPad to connect into your existing IT infrastructure, as laptops do today, data and services can be delivered to these endpoints, which maximizes infrastructure investments.
In the mobile environment, as in traditional computing, there is no one-size-fits-all. Each user requires a set of unique credentials: username and password and digital certificate (or both) to access network resources. Users located in various campuses or buildings connect to local wireless access points. Users in different geographic regions often connect to regionally deployed VPN access servers or front-end messaging servers. Users may require different security policies or access privileges depending on their role within the organization. EMM platforms enable iPad users to connect to the services needed while maintaining the level of data protection the organization requires.
When an authorized user connects the iPad to work, the EMM platform has easy-to-use, self-service facilities where the system automatically provisions the iPad with the user’s unique credentials, connects the iPad to the network and user-specific application services (based on the security policy established for that individual user), and secures all data on the iPad according to policies appropriate to the user’s role within the organization.
EMM platforms mobilize an enterprise’s application architecture by connecting the iPad to enterprise applications via an organization’s current infrastructure-sync, WiFi, VPN and public-key infrastructure (PKI). The EMM platform bridges mobile users, applications and devices to the data services those entities need to access.
The EMM platform should integrate deeply into existing systems and, ideally, be a pure software overlay. That is, be part of the IT data center environment and architected to avoid inefficiencies, poor scalability and interoperability problems caused by closed or appliance-based IT silos. EMM platforms should integrate with Active Directory, Domino Directory, Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange ActiveSync, Exchange, Lotus Domino, Google Apps and enterprise PKI-thereby reducing TCO by leveraging the IT organization’s intrinsic skills.
Scaling the introduction of mobile business applications to an organization’s iPad users is both critically important and challenging, particularly as scale allows the organization to truly improve operational efficiencies and topline growth. As expected, an organization will face challenges that are both labor-intensive and time-intensive when enabling data access and protection for hundreds (or even thousands) of iPad workers. This fundamental requirement-scale-can be cost-prohibitive without the proper tools. Select an EMM platform that allows mobility to be scaled to thousands of iPads and mobile users, for multiple business applications, over a geographically dispersed data network-while protecting mobile data.
Only after an IT organization has laid the foundational requirements of security, connectivity, personalization, integration and scale will they be able to deliver tangible business value, increase topline growth and improve operational efficiencies with devices such as the iPad.
By selecting the right EMM platform, the IT organization is able to ensure integrity, confidentiality and authenticity of all corporate data, as well as enable secure, real-time access to business application data and IT services. The IT organization is also able to configure iPads appropriately for disparate users, seamlessly integrate the iPad into the enterprise and meet all of these requirements on a large-scale iPad deployment.
Mark Shull joined McAfee in June 2010 via the Trust Digital acquisition. Mark now acts as Senior Vice President of Mobile Security at McAfee. Prior to the acquisition, Mark was chief executive officer for Trust Digital. Mark has also held senior positions at VeriSign and served as group president of enterprise security services. Prior to that, Mark was president and CEO at MarkMonitor, where he grew revenues from $1.5 to $30M in just over three years. Additionally, as president and CEO of Digex, Mark increased revenues from $22M to $214M in just over three years and completed a successful $200 million IPO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.