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Taking Control of Enterprise Content on Mobile Devices in BYOD Era

  
  
  

Finding ways to secure devicesThere is a fundamental conflict for users and  IT Pros in the Bring Your Own Device Era: How do you keep enterprise content safe when it lives with personal content on a single device -- and IT controls such as remote wiping could destroy the contents of the entire phone?

I learned about a couple of approaches that could solve this issue this week at the EMC World conference in Las Vegas.

Scott Davis, CTO of End User Computing at VMware, speaking at EMC World this week explained that Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools give IT administrators access to a device providing them with some semblance of control. If you lose your iPad, for example, and it has a presentation on the latest merger plans, IT can wipe the contents and prevent prying eyes from accessing that sensitive material, but along with that enterprise content, it's also wiping your apps, music, pictures, video and any other personal content you might have on there.

For some users, BYOD might seem like a cool  idea until something happens and your content gets wiped out for the good of the company.

Davis suggested virtualization could provide a better way. He said by creating a virtualized version of the enterprise data that sits on the iPhone or Android device, the administrator can control the content on the enterprise side, and if something goes awry, he or she can simply blow away the virtual enterprise part, leaving all of the personal content intact.

He explained that's because with this approach, you essentially you have two devices in one -- and VMware is working with carriers including Verizon in the US to offer this solution.

That is certainly one way to do it, and gives users access to a single secure enterprise environment with all of the tools they might need from a mobile device.

Another less comprehensive technique is to simply protect enterprise content. To that end, EMC announced this week that it was purchasing file syncing and sharing service Syncplicity. One of the reasons, EMC bought this particular service was the sophistication of the content controls.

With Syncplicity, you can easily share content on a mobile device giving you the content you need on or offline wherever you are, but if the device gets stolen or you leave the company, IT can simply revoke your permission to access content at the folder or content level and instantly remove it from the device.

I watched a demo of this and the content was gone instantly when the administrator removed the permissions in the admin panel.

In spite of relaxed controls that modern computing provides, IT is still responsible for security, compliance and governance, yet is often left without the proper tools to control devices should something go wrong.

These two approaches provide different levels of control, while allowing end users to leave their own content intact.

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