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CIOs are nervous about mobile computing

Oct 15 2012, 03:49 IST
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SummaryToday’s enterprise IT infrastructure would likely be unrecognisable to even the most progressive of CIOs from just five years ago.

Today’s enterprise IT infrastructure would likely be unrecognisable to even the most progressive of CIOs from just five years ago. In large part, the incredible advances in mobile device technology, the massive adoption of these devices and the bring your own device (BYOD) trend have driven this rapid evolution of enterprise IT. Many companies are looking at mobile applications as the next frontier of productivity and competitive advantage.

There is a growing adoption of mobile devices to access corporate services, view corporate data and conduct business. The significant adoption of mobile applications demonstrates remarkable confidence, by organisations, in the ability for mobility to deliver value. According to the 2012 Symantec State of Mobility survey, a third of Indian respondents allow employees to use mobile devices for business use without restrictions.

However, corporate nervousness about mobile computing is understandable. CIOs are facing a trial by fire. According to the same survey, mobility ranked as the leading IT risk among organisations, being cited as one of the top three risk areas by 40% of respondents.

While the mass adoption of both consumer and managed mobile devices in the enterprise has increased employee productivity, it has also exposed the enterprise to new security risks. While the most popular mobile platforms in use today were designed with security in mind—and certainly raise the bar compared to traditional PC-based computing platforms—they may still be insufficient for protecting the enterprise assets that regularly find their way onto these devices.

Many of these devices are not controlled by the administrator, meaning that sensitive enterprise data is not subject to the enterprise’s existing compliance, security, and data loss prevention policies. The main concerns include device loss, data leakage, unauthorised access to corporate resources and malware infection. According to Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report, mobile vulnerabilities increased by 93% in 2011 and that threats targeting the Android operating system are on the rise. Additionally, Symantec’s State of Mobility pegs the cost of mobile incidents for India enterprises at R42.32 lakh.

To complicate matters, today’s mobile devices are not islands; they also connect to an entire ecosystem of supporting cloud and desktop-based services. The typical smartphone synchronises with at least one public cloud-based service that is outside enterprise control. At the same time, many users also directly synchronise mobile devices with home computers. In both scenarios, key enterprise assets may be stored in any number of insecure locations outside the direct purview of the

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