BYOD—And the increasing use of mobile devices among enterprises—is a bandwagon that every technology vendor and channel partner worth their salt are keen to ride over the next few years.
However, one thing stands in their way: CIOs.
BYOD (bring your own device) is a long-term strategy for CIOs, who for the most part, are treading cautiously because of multiple issues including security, compliance, ROI, and TCO. In response, security vendors (security is an important part of the BYOD story) are empowering and hand-holding the partner community, to bring more clarity to CIOs and win partner enterprise mobility deals.
“Compliance is not much of an issue with BYOD compared to securing device and data access, assigning rights to people, and managing the entire piece at an enterprise end,” says Amitabh Jacob, channel director,
“If companies want to manage and secure mobile devices effectively in today’s complex IT environment, they need to treat them like any other endpoint, and manage them from a single console,” says Sajan Paul, director, systems engineering, Juniper Networks India.
The Security Link
Joel Camissar, practice head, data protection, McAfee APAC, says that, “people recognize that DLP plus MDM creates an ideal protection.
MDM gives them visibility and control over devices. Ultimately, if you can protect data and allow access to it based on the needs of the user, you will have stronger protection.”
The ideal mobile security and management strategy follows devices through their lifecycle—from provisioning and management, to security, and eventually, device retirement—and is designed to prevent data from leaving the organization regardless of where it resides. That’s why DLP becomes a component of an overall mobile strategy, says Jacob.
“Our BYOD pitch is more end-to-end, and not limited to a specific anti-virus or MDM solution or inventory management software. Our solutions have features like finger printing the device and designing heat maps according to the usage of the device by employees. Security depends on the level of risk attributed to the data,” says Paul. “BYOD usually begins with VPN access which extends into MDM, DLP and other pieces of mobility,” he adds.
“MDM is important from an integration point of view as well as an overall device management perspective,” says Ramandeep Singh, head of system engineering, pre-sales consulting team (India & SAARC), Check Point Software Technologies. “Traditional DLP is not the answer. In fact document management is the most practical solution for BYOD,” he says.
But, Fortinet is pursuing a different approach. “BYOD is part network and part application access, and we tackle it from a wireless access perspective by addressing security from the perimeter to access point,” says Vishak Raman, senior regional director-India & SAARC, Fortinet. Fortinet UTM has a strong DLP function at the perimeter level to control data leaks and Forti Gate client at the desktop level. At least, at the access point level, data needs to be secure for BYOD, he adds.
Technologically, the biggest roadblock for DLP plus MDM is the fact that the mobile world has many operating systems (iOS vs Android vs Win8) which are fragmented (Android 2.2-4.1 implemented across devices) and are closed (agents aren’t an option like they are on PCs) according Camissar at McAfee.
“The biggest challenge is the possibility of an executive’s mobile device being infected with malware outside the corporate network and them bringing that device onto the corporate network” says Raman.
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“MDM is not always important under BYOD as the corporate is not worried about the private information of employees. The concern is around the threat to corporate IP which means that MDM becomes critical,” says Paul at Juniper. Junos pulse—a single client by Juniper—works across five major mobile OSes. Junos helps secure the connection, protect the device, and control MDM, says Paul.
Culturally and psychologically, DLP in a mobile environment is difficult to implement and maintain from an administrator’s perspective. At the same time, protecting data is much less of a concern for the mobile user, says Camissar.
Connecting with Partners
McAfee is taking a long-term view where technology is only a part of the solution. For them the creation of best practices and business processes is important. “From a channel perspective, there is a lot of opportunity to sell the methodology around technology, including best practices and business process, or even sell ongoing management and consulting services using the same tools,” says Camissar.
“Partners have the advantage of working with products that address such specific customer requirements, like DLP for tablets. The Symantec DLP and Mobile Management solutions allow DLP customers to leverage their existing investments by utilizing the same policies and management infrastructure,” says Jacob.
There is no silver bullet for BYOD. Enterprise partners need to spin an integrated story around MDM, DLP, and security says Raman at Fortinet. Systems integrators can stitch together solutions and enjoy decent margins rather than rely on product sales alone, he adds.
Check Point has bundled few units of their USB drive GO (earlier Abra) with their UTM. “This baby step towards BYOD ensures partners cross-sell and facilitate BYOD in the future,” says Singh. With the launch of document management in the next couple of months, we envisage a different strategy of gross margin and reducing sales cycles for partners, and an overall demystification of BYOD,” he says.
The Consultant Approach
DLP is one of the solution specializations that Symantec offers channel partners through which they can attain Silver, Gold or Platinum levels within the Symantec Partner Program. Partners play a critical role in encouraging customers to take the right approach in securing and managing their information and infrastructure.
A partner should proposition a VPN customer and help them migrate to BYOD, and then we can add mobile security and an MDM suite, says Paul. Networking and security partners of Juniper work across datacenters, security, campus and BYOD, and hence become an extension to the overall portfolio.
“The biggest avenues are in highly-regulated industries, or in businesses holding customer sensitive data, where employers are likely to have greater authority in asking employees to overlook their privacy concerns if employees want to use a personal device to access company systems. On the other hand, non-regulated industries or businesses holding less sensitive data may want to apply security programs to help manage risk where MDM might come into picture,” says Camissar at McAfee.
“The numbers for standalone device/solution sales like a single firewall is expected to slow down as organizations demand security and connectivity as a single piece around BYOD. Partners can go up the value-chain and act as consultants rather than suppliers,” says Paul.
So, is CYOD (choose your own device) a better option for channel partners? “Protection of data is critical. It’s easy to make a quick decision to try and address it on mobile devices, but you could end up regretting it later. While implementing a smart combination MDM and security (McAfee’s EMM bundled with Secure Container and Virus Scan Mobile) in the short-term, you also need to be thinking about the long-term which should include best practices and new business processes,” says Camissar at McAfee.
“Employees should be allowed to operate their devices whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or smartphone in the office with secure access to business applications, similar to their desktop experience. That is the essence of BYOD or CYOD,” says Singh at Check Point.
“Be it BYOD or CYOD, organizations need to define IT policies after identifying what is critical information to them and how it is to be used. A specialized partner can play a critical role in advising customers and helping them choose a holistic approach that suits their business requirements,” says Jacob.