David Abbou

Look around in today’s emerging mobile generation and you’ll notice a new consumer app for business sprouting up every which way you turn. While the tsunami of business-related consumer apps flooding the market can feel exciting and liberating to employees, the impact of this demand on many current security solutions could have anxiety-ridden IT personnel worldwide scampering to their nearest therapist for sympathy and compassion. That’s because mobile phones are considered the weakest link for data security as additional protocols must be added for each app, creating multiple entry points for potential attackers. Personal phones often connect with unsecured WiFi networks, which makes the information they house that much more vulnerable. Until recently, most mobile security solutions such as MDM/MAM use secured containers – but this is far from a sure-fire way to guarantee that data cannot be accessed and breached. Data can be attacked from various angles by either breaking the encryption layer or locating the encrypted keys. Having it encrypted and decrypted within the device means that by design the keys must also reside there.

As the market for apps grows then so does the perceived burden on security. But if today’s BYOD culture means more employees will be accessing corporate data on their personal devices, why store the data there to begin with? This is why Virtualized Mobile Infrastructure (VMI) technology has been designed to leave zero data on personal devices.

With this new approach, Enterprise IT can plan for the future and sustain the demand for mobile apps in ways that haven’t been possible until now. With VMI, all apps and data are stored on a remote platform that works with both Android and iOS systems, unlike Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which depended on a Windows platform, and doesn’t translate well with mobile. The data is reflected from a cloud onto the device as flat image that cannot be analyzed nor captured. This renders many common mobile security issues, such as lost devices, a moot point. With no digital footprint on the device itself, IT can simply disconnect access from the cloud and rest easy knowing it owns all of the data.

By employing a VMI strategy that also preserves the native app experience for users, security teams gain an unprecedented level of peace of mind. Meanwhile, employees can enjoy the flexibility and freedom to choose from the wide world of apps. The sheer selection of mobile apps available seems to be increasing exponentially which can be a lot to absorb. But selecting useful apps for business can dramatically aid collaboration and organization and save both companies and their staff valuable time and money, all benefits that BYOD was meant to deliver, so the earlier you take the plunge the better.

In Part II of Wild World of Mobile, we’ll guide you through consumer apps that have been proven to save time, improve workflow and enhance the quality of engagement for employees and their clients.


David Abbou

Depending on whom you ask, BYOD’s effect on your work-life balance can either give you the freedom to fly like an eagle or turn you into a sad and overworked corporate zombie. As with any change in life, BYOD culture receives its fair share of praise and prejudice. But the strategy behind BYOD, including being able to work remotely, effectively gives you more control of your time than ever before.

A knee-jerk reaction may lead many to believe that BYOD is a mandatory and unavoidable gateway drug to workaholism. After all, your manager, colleagues and clients are just a push notification away from you anytime, anywhere. But while increased productivity is a definite corporate benefit of BYOD, overworking employees is not the intended means to achieving this goal for most organizations.

In fact, a prominent report by advisory company Corporate Executive Board (CEB) reveals that businesses which effectively address and manage work-life balance issues with their workforce can actually increase employee productivity by 21%. Another recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that 89% of HR professionals noticed an increase in employee retention as a result of implementing work-life balance initiatives such as flexible work arrangements, one of which is working remotely.

You now have the option to unchain your mind and body from your office PC by taking your office mobile. Whether you’re a new parent, lover of the outdoors, or a creative spirit in search of inspiration, this new and flexible arrangement can greatly enrich both your personal life and your career. But with freedom comes responsibility, and you want to structure this new world in a way that is transparent to you and your organization.

So how do you harness working remotely to refresh your mind and body and feel more engaged and productive with your work?

1. Be your own manager

Ideally, a corporate BYOD program that lets you work remotely puts you in the driver’s seat by giving you freedom and flexibility to manage yourself. Just like in the office, it’s important to plan your workday in a way that meets or exceeds your employer’s performance metrics.

Document a plan which segments specific tasks and projects and allocates time to reach milestones and meet key deadlines. Make sure you build into this schedule some extra time which may be needed during the day, whether it’s picking up your kids from work, taking the dog out for a walk or popping into the gym for a yoga session. Having the foresight to plan ahead will give you a schedule that delivers on your accountabilities and lets you enjoy your freedom at the same time.

Once you’ve got it on paper don’t keep it to yourself. Communicate this plan to your employer so that they can rest easy knowing you have a blueprint to produce the quality and quantity of work they expect. Being proactive about this will demonstrate your professionalism and gain your manager’s trust.

2. Give yourself and your remote workplace a change of scenery

If you’re no longer obligated to stay shackled to the office, why limit your options by staying home all day? Take advantage of your new-found freedom and change-up your surroundings from time-to-time. Instead of working at home, set up shop in places that you find fun, fascinating and stimulating. Why not take your mobile workspace to your favorite park and literally smell the roses or hear the chirping of the birds? Grab a patio seat in that delightful beachside cafe while you soak in the sun and take in the relaxing, stress-relieving effects of the waves.

Variety isn’t just the spice of life, it is a proven way to alleviate stress, restore your attention span and get your creative juices flowing. This will help you get in the zone and produce quality work when you turn your eyes back to your screen.

3. Integrate exercise into your workday

While many organizations have invested in costly amenities for their staff such as on-site gyms and health-care services, the CEB study shows that less than 20% of employees actually use these benefits. There’s a variety of reasons for employees not taking advantage of these services, ranging from being less comfortable using shared gym facilities to a perceived lack of time for exercise along with having lunch or running other personal errands. Nevertheless, this doesn’t change the fact that forward-thinking organizations strongly espouse giving employees the flexibility and time to lead a healthy lifestyle, knowing that this positively impacts work performance.

Being active brings out the best in you physically and mentally, and when you turn your attention back to work, you’ll find it makes you attentive and efficient. So have your exercise gear with you and sprinkle physical activities into your calendar that are proven to re-energize, de-stress, boost your mood and confidence and increase your concentration. Hop on a bike, get in that run, do the downward dog or dance up a storm to your favorite Zumba class, because a healthier and more satisfied you will transfer creativity and confidence into your projects as well.

Blending your personal passions within a structured framework will let you master the significant benefits of working remotely and produce the work-life balance that will give both you and your organization a reason to smile.

Israel Lifshitz

BYOD threats are among the top security concerns for CIOs. The major security firms cover mobile security in their threat reports, but if you look at their findings, you will notice a surprising fact: mobile malware is a miniscule fraction of total malware. For example, in the recent McAfee Labs Threat Report, mobile malware accounted for just 1.9% of total malware, or 3.73 million out of 196 million threats across platforms. So are mobile security threats overblown?

PC threats versus mobile threats

In order to answer that question, we first need to understand the differences between mobile and desktop computing. Consider that people use mobile devices for work very differently than they use desktops and laptops. Mobile devices also have many functions and sensors that do not exist in standard PCs — discreet cameras, video recorders, microphones and scanning apps, to name a few. We have to take into consideration all the ways that mobile devices can be used to record and transmit sensitive information.

The mobile use case

Have you ever forgotten your desktop at the bar? Probably not. Does your laptop usually connect to thousands of different public networks, some of which may be fake networks? It’s unlikely. Mobile devices, in comparison, are easily forgotten and connect to multiple vulnerable networks every day. This exposes your mobile device – and corporate data – to higher risks than a PC that only accesses a work and home network. Indeed, IT’s primary concern about BYOD is losing devices that contain corporate data.

The real personal computer

Although we still call desktops and laptops PCs, your actual “personal computer” is your smartphone. The common smartphone contains enough information for any criminal to steal your identity. If a cybercriminal hijacks the device, they can gain a lot of information. The device has a camera, microphone, and GPS, which means an attacker can record your voice, capture photos and track your location. They can also access personal information that exists strictly on your mobile device, such as your call log and text messages. Today, the thought of a criminal hacking your smartphone is more troublesome than a criminal hacking your computer.

Distribution and ownership

The average enterprise employee uses three devices, according to a survey conducted by Sophos, a provider of IT security solutions. That means that in a typical organization, you will have many more mobile devices than PCs. You must take this imbalance into consideration when assessing the risk of mobile computing. Another important factor is that mobile devices are usually owned by the user and not by the organization. This adds more to the CIO’s problems because simple protections that work for corporate PCs, such as locking the device, will not work with BYOD devices.

Mobile security the top priority

When you consider all these facets of security – and not just malware totals – you will see why mobile security needs to be the top priority for IT. Given the number of personal mobile devices in the workplace and the threats that accompany them, IT needs to find more clever ways to protect corporate information without restricting the user. The high attention BYOD gets from security firms is warranted.