I can’t imagine there’s a high-level executive in any Fortune 1000 company that isn’t walking around with two devices on his or her hip: a Blackberry for business; an iPhone for personal use. And he or she probably keeps asking the same question: When will I be able to use my iPhone for my business?
The short answer is I think we are close. 2010 looks to be the year that RIM’s strangle-hold on enterprise communication may finally be broken and iPhone may be the disruptive technology that drives it. With it’s flexible application development platform iPhone (and now iPad) may finally give enterprise software developers enough incentive to finally target Apple for enterprise products.
For the last decade RIM has created a monopoly for enterprise mobile communications with their Blackberry devices and Blackberry Enterprise Server software. The US government is so dependent on them that they wouldn’t let them be shut down during a pending lawsuit. Even our President carries one. What makes them so special and beloved in the enterprise?
Simply put: control. With the alphabet soup of compliance regulations (SOX, HIPAA, PCI) there is a heightened awareness of digital chain of custody. As enterprise IT managers, we need to maintain control over, and an audit trail of, all data that enters and leaves the enterprise. For most businesses mobile communications represents an unsecured border for data traffic.
A short list of must-have security measures includes:
- Remote Management – Since the mobile device is an extension of the enterprise we need the ability to remotely manage the device from a central system (BES, e.g.) including the ability to apply group policies and remotely wipe it clean;
- Secure Communication – All traffic between the remote device and the enterprise needs to be encrypted;
- Audit – This is the big one. Emails forwarded from the device to 3rd parties (outside the enterprise) need to be tracked (audit trail).