Mobile Device Security Challenges for Enterprise E-mail - dummies

Mobile Device Security Challenges for Enterprise E-mail

By Rich Campagna, Subbu Iyer, Ashwin Krishnan, Mark Bauhaus

Mobile device security for the enterprise is essential because smartphone users can now easily access corporate e-mail. Employees are using these devices not just to check e-mail but also to check the latest company news on the intranet, watch company videos, update intranet blogs, and also access applications like SAP and Oracle. It is therefore not just corporate e-mail that ends up on modern mobile devices, but a lot more content.

As devices grow more sophisticated in screen resolution and processing, this trend will only grow because application access will become ubiquitous. Although Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) on the small screen of the iPhone is cumbersome to use, it is now an order of magnitude better and more usable on the larger iPad.

Most employee mobile usage can broadly be classified into the following types of application access:

  • E-mail

  • Web-based applications on the mobile browser

  • Full network access, including using client-server apps such as Oracle or SAP

When you think of enabling remote access for mobile devices, think of which types of applications you want to enable for access from mobile devices. In many cases, depending upon the user’s role in the company (such as “employee,” or “finance,” or “IT contractor,” or “executive”), a single application type or maybe two might be sufficient.

  • Mobile device choices: What types of devices should be allowed into the workplace and which ones should not?

  • IT enablement of new applications: How would new applications being developed by IT be enabled access from mobile devices?

  • Mobile security: What type of security needs to be enforced on the mobile devices, and what types of threats should they be protected from?

  • Granular access control: What type of VPN access should be enforced on the mobile devices?

    Mobility challenges in the enterprise.
    Mobility challenges in the enterprise.

The BlackBerry also supports an application store, App World, which offers a number of business apps. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server, widely deployed in enterprises, manages the deployment policies of applications on corporate BlackBerry devices. This kind of tightly controlled management model does not exist for many other popular smartphone platforms.