June 06, 2012, 9:57 PM — I've been looking into updating my mobile device security. Smartphones and tablets have been flooding into my company faster than I anticipated, eating up all my available licenses. That means I need to either reinvest in my current product or switch to something new.
I wrote about my experience in deciding on a mobile-device security product a couple of years ago. A lot has changed since then. The product I selected was, at the time, the best technology available: in the leading quadrant of the Gartner analysis of the mobile-device protection market. The security method it employs is called "containerization," which basically means that all corporate data is contained within the security application instead of inside the native email, contacts and calendar apps. That's great for security, but it's not so popular with my users, whose reactions have ranged from disgruntled tolerance to outright hostility. Nobody likes it except me.
And that being the case, I like it less than I did. I believe security can (and should) make people's lives easier, if at all possible. And in the case of mobile security, it is possible. Several new mobile-device management products have emerged over the last year or two. Most of them support the native applications that people know and love, which means they don't interfere with the user experience. That makes security more transparent -- in fact, it's practically invisible (after a one-time enrollment process). On top of that, the newer products cost a fraction of what I'm paying for my current deployment.
The world of mobile device security has moved on over the past couple of years to more of an overall remote management capability, of which security is just a part. Instead of buying security software for our mobile devices, we can focus instead on a device management platform that can enforce device policies like passwords and encryption and provide a selective remote-wipe capability for deprovisioning.