The challenge of Mobility and Enterprise Security

First it was laptop computers, now its tablets. The enterprise is getting more mobile and IT groups have to find ways to ensure security can keep up.

This mobile world has always brought challenges to the IT group. While IT worries about security and management of these mobile devices, the business is concerned with productivity and efficiency. The IT group is looking for methods to make sure security isn’t comprised while the business is looking for ways to make sure the travel schedules of its employees don’t compromise their productivity.

While the IT group’s focus and the business’ focus may seem completely opposite, they really aren’t. Most organizations have some form of security suite in place that helps manage mobile device security and which covers everything from physical security to data security via anti-theft technologies to managing enterprise security with mobility in mind.

To address security in the mobile world, multiple aspects of security must be considered. Everything from physical security to data security must be planned for and managed. This planning starts at the machine level with the right technologies to help manage and protect computers using technologies like Intel® vPro™ Technology, which adds chip-level security and management technology to computers. Additionally, using management software like Dell’s Management Console, which is closely integrated with Intel® vPro™ Technology, IT groups can implement even more secure and manageable mobile devices.

If a device is lost or stolen, the first line of defense against data theft and improper access is ensuring proper authentication procedures exist on the stolen device. These could be as simple as proper password processes or as complex as physical security devices that randomly select tokens for employees to use to login to the system. These types of systems are well known and well used…but there are other approaches that are less well known.

Dell provides multiple authentication options on their business class laptops using technology like their ControlVault technology for authentication, laser etching on systems for identification and management systems that provide options of remote data deletion if a machine is lost or stolen. These help IT groups ensure proper security is in place on mobile devices.

Being more mobile doesn’t have to mean less secure. On the contrary actually. The move to a more mobile world has forced IT, vendors and suppliers, to find new and unique methods of ensuring security is front-and-center on mobile devices. This allows IT groups to keep their focus on security and allows the business to keep their focus on allowing employees to get their job done regardless of where they are.

Mobility and Security can go hand-in-hand if approached with proper planning, the right management applications/systems and the right partners in place like Dell and Intel®. Having partners like Dell and Intel® allow organizations to ensure security protocols and systems are as embedded as far down into the systems as possible using technology’s like Intel® vPro™ Technology and Dell’s ControlVault technology.

This is a paid post in conjunction with IDG, Dell and Intel®.






Links for December 26 2010

  • Social Media Marketing Won’t Fix Your Infrastructure Problem by David Armano on Logic+Emotion

    Quote: Every business has a series of systems and infrastructure in place to keep it running. Even if the goal is to EVOLVE the communications/marketing arm of your organization because you fundamentally believe that the game is changing—there is no way to do it without picking up the hood and looking at the engine. Not just the oil or the windshield fluid level, but the ENTIRE engine.

  • When “Losing Bob” Is More than Just “Losing Bob” by Josh LeTourneau on Fistful of Talent

    Quote: … Bob is replaceable like a peg in a car while playing the game of Life.  Words like ‘automate’, ‘process’, ‘controls’, ‘waste’, ‘re-engineer’, etc. tell her that her company is a huge assembly line in a broader Supply-Chain.  In her mind, the Ghosts of Henry Ford and Frederick Taylor collide with visions of the Industrial Revolution, giving her confidence that all she has to do is hire someone and pop them in Bob’s vacated role.  Simple.  Easy.  Linear.  The faster she can put a name in the (now) blank box on the OrgChart, the better . . .

  • The Power of Twitter in Information Discovery by Mark Suster on Both Sides of the Table

    Quote: The most beautiful thing about being a Twitter consumer to me is that just reading Twitter is now a new source of information and entertainment – even without clicking on the links.  It is, in and of itself, news.  And entertainment.  When I’m stuck between meetings, at an airport, waiting for a movie to start – I pull out my mobile device and start flicking through the stream.

  • In Corporate IT, The Cloud Changes Everything by Eric Savitz on Tech Musings – Forbes

    Quote: A few weeks back, I was on a panel of media pundits asked to make predictions about what might happen in the technology business in 2011. One prominent member of our group, seeking to stake out a bold, contrarian position, asserted that 2011 would be the year that “cloud computing” would be revealed to be a big nothing, an over-hyped concept that in the end is more about marketing than actual technology.

  • What is IT’s market share, and what do you do about it by Mark McDonald on The Garnter Blog Network

    Quote: In this case thinking about IT market share helps illustrate the need for a new way of thinking about the value, importance and how you manage IT.

Cloud Computing and the Enterprise

I ran across an absolutely amazing blog post from Mark Masterson titled ‘The Enterprise Cloud‘ that really shed a lot of light on Cloud Computing in the Enterprise. Cloud Computing seems to be one of those nebulous entities with many different definitions by many different people.  Take the following definitions as examples.

Frank Gillett @ Forrester – “Most of us confuse two fundamentally different types of compute clouds as one. Server clouds support the needs of traditional business apps while scale-out clouds are designed for massive, many-machine workloads such as Web sites or grid compute applications.” Geva Perry @ GigaOm – “Although it is difficult to come up with a precise and comprehensive definition of cloud computing, at the heart of it is the idea that applications run somewhere on the “cloud” (whether an internal corporate network or the public Internet) – we don’t know or care where.” InfoWorld – Cloud computing is “a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities”.

After all of that, it’s safe to assume that cloud computing can be thought of as another ‘system’ that can be used to add capabilities to your IT infrastructure without the expensive data center and operations staff. So what is Enterprise Cloud Computing?  Mark Mastersondescribes it as:

a type of cloud computing that is suited to the specific requirements of existing companies, and allows them to leverage resources in the Cloud to provide economical ways of adding capacity to their existing environments.

Nice description..simple and straightforward with no techno-speak…especially the ‘economical ways of adding capacity to their existing environments’.  I’d say every CIO is looking for economical ways to add to their IT Infrastructure and capabilities. Is Cloud computing the right way to go for every organization?  Probably not…but it does give you an opportunity to do a lot more with a lot less….which is what people are looking for today. Mark’s blog post is long and detailed….and a great read.  Jump over now and enjoy. For a real-world example of Cloud Computing within an enterprise, jump over to and read the article about Bechtel’s move to the cloud. The article starts with an interesting question:

If I were starting from scratch, what kind of IT systems would I build to support my business today?

Great question…and one that would probably receive the answer of ‘not what I have today’ in many organizations today. Geir Ramleth, Bechtel’s CIO, asked this question at Bechtel a few years ago and found that the answer was “no”….so he set about to change how IT was delivered to the organization.  His answer: Cloud Computing. But…Ramleth and his team didn’t go to outside vendors for all their cloud computing needs…they built data centers and standardized on hardware and software and began to deliver IT solutions across the enterprise using internal cloud computing resources. In effect, Bechtel built a SaaS model and began offering these service to their internal and external clients.  According to Ramleth (as reported in the article), the goal of the new SaaS platform is to:

create a Google-like experience for enterprise application users. Log in to the portal, pick a task and get it done in a few simple steps rather than logging in to an assortment of applications.

Interesting concept.  I’d be interested in how the end-users at Bechtel are feeling about these new SaaS applications. Interesting stuff…isn’t it?  There are few companies  today as advanced as Bechtel in their adoption of Cloud Computing in the enterprise, but I think we’ll see more ‘noise’ in the coming year(s) as organizations try to ‘do more with less’. Know of any other real-world examples of cloud computing in the enterprise?  Share them with me in the comments.

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Web 2.0 in the Enterprise

Web 2.0.  A term that is overused and often misunderstood.  And one that has been touted for years by consultants as the ‘next big thing’ coming to Enterprise IT.  I’ve read many articles and heard tons of people talking about bringing Web 2.0 to the enterprise.

But….I’ve seen very little success and it appears that McKinsey’s latest survey from June 2008 backs up my own experiences.

The survey, reported in a McKinsey article titled “Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise“, show’s an increase in the adoption of Web 2.0 in the Enterprise, but very few successes.

From the article:

Our findings also suggest that after an initial period of promise and trial, companies are coming to understand the difficulty of realizing some of Web 2.0’s benefits. Only 21 percent of the respondents say they are satisfied overall with Web 2.0 tools, while 22 percent voice clear dissatisfaction. Further, some disappointed companies have stopped using certain technologies altogether.

This is a pretty interesting result…and one that I’ve seen happen again and again.  Why are so many organizations failing at Web 2.0?  I think it has to do with poor technology strategy and a poor understanding of what value the available technologies can really bring to the company.

The McKinsey article continues (emphasis mine):

At many companies, Web 2.0 is now familiar, but the mix of tools and technologies companies use is changing. Blogs, RSS, wikis, and podcasts are becoming more common, perhaps because companies have a greater understanding of their value for business.

It is great to see some Web 2.0 tools showing up in the enterprise, but they are far from ubiquitous.  This result does show that when organizations do understand the value of a tool/technology, they can understand how to use it.

The one interesting tidbit from the survey was the dramatic rise of social networks by organizations.  Personally, I think this is due to Social Networking being ‘the cool thing’ right now and has more to do with the success of Facebook than organizations really understanding the value social media can bring.

Interesting articles and interesting times we live in.  I’m very interested in seeing McKinsey’s 2009 survey to see what’s changed. I expect social networking and social media to drop off a bit because most organizations don’t really know how to utilize these tools.

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