The top 5 features all companies should look for in a mobile security solution

Cloud security has been a top concern ever since organizations first began to shift data into the cloud and away from on-premises solutions.

While many cloud providers offer robust enterprise capabilities, including encrypted content, passcodes, and mobile device management, many can still fall victim to a serious security risk: data leakage.

Blake Brannon Airwatch

Blake Brannon is a senior solutions engineer at AirWatch by VMware.

In an age where organizations and employees muddle the boundary between personal and private devices, employees can often access or transfer data to their unmanaged and unprotected devices. Providing employees with the ability to transfer and share sensitive data significantly increases the risk of data leakage.

The cloud leakage problem is one of the greatest threats to enterprise content security. While many cloud solutions secure enterprise content within the cloud infrastructure, they often lack the controls necessary to keep mobile users from downloading and walking away with critical information on personal, unsecured devices. However, there are powerful mobile security solutions that provide extra security for content in and out of the cloud. Here are the top five features companies must look for when choosing a mobile security solution that ensures content is secure.

Email protection – One of the easiest ways for employees to compromise content is by emailing secured cloud data to themselves on unprotected, personal email accounts. This not only leaks corporate content outside of an organization, but places it at greater risk of external hacks. Find a mobile security solution that can rein in rogue emailing and button up this source of content leakage by allowing only managed devices to synchronize with and download content from the cloud. These solutions also enable IT teams to monitor downloaded content, further securing your data.

Download prevention – The advent of the cloud means IT can no longer contain sensitive content behind four walls, and managing what devices can access company data has its limits with some cloud solutions. The easiest way to prevent employees from downloading sensitive data to personal devices is by forbidding external downloads onto unsecured devices altogether. But with some services, users can access content with phones that aren’t managed, creating a major backdoor into your data. Fixing this problem will take some integration between the technology and the particular ecosystem, but this issue will likely be addressed sooner rather than later. For now, find a solution that can limit what devices have access to content in the cloud. (more…)

3 steps to secure your network for the Internet of Things

everything connectedThe number of devices that rely on network connectivity to do their jobs is skyrocketing — mobile-connected devices will outnumber people in the world by the end of the year, according to Cisco. All those smartphones and tablets are improving productivity and access to data, but they can also become security risks that open your network to attacks. The vulnerability of network connections has always been a problem, but the more devices are linked, the more risks you’ll have to manage, and the more stringent your security will have to be.

No potential threat is greater than the Internet of Things (IoT). As the IoT takes hold in organizations, it will exponentially multiply the number of devices on your network, connecting everything from thermostats and HVAC systems to vehicles and manufacturing equipment. Experts expect 26 billion connected units by 2020.

Every organization is facing the inevitability of the IoT and must take a stand against future security risks now. Here are three things you should do to take control of your connectivity and head off any risks as we brace for an explosion of devices as part of the IoT. (more…)

Tablets in education: Why one Texas school district turned to the Surface RT

The tablet landscape is crowded with iPads, Galaxy Notes, Kindles, and Surfaces, each including a different blend of features, that IT managers must carefully evaluate to select the tablet that best the needs of thousands of users. Unfortunately, there is no “best” tablet for any industry or organization — it all depends on what systems you’re currently using and what functions you need to achieve defined goals. That’s exactly what a Texas school district recently discovered as it navigated this exact situation, vetting the many tablet options to find the one that best fit its teachers’ needs and its existing IT infrastructure. Here’s how the school district narrowed down the tablet field and what option they ultimately settled on.

The Challenge

The district sought to equip its 2,200 district teachers with tablets to aid in classroom activities and increase mobility and productivity throughout the school year. But many tablets could achieve those objectives. The district was unsure which tablet would offer the greatest benefits, and needed to narrow down the choices. It turned to longtime partner SHI to dig into its true needs and match the district with the right device.

SHI defined the district’s six key device needs as follows: (more…)

5 consequences of poor BYOD management

Tablet-Eating-100-Dollar-BillBring your own device (BYOD) has slashed hardware and maintenance costs and fueled mobile productivity at companies large and small, and adoption is accelerating. Gartner estimates that by 2020, 45 percent of organizations will be all BYOD, while 40 percent will offer a mixed program, and only 15 percent won’t have any BYOD program in place.

But while BYOD can be a positive policy for numerous industries, it’s not going well for all organizations, especially those that have ignored the potential hazards associated with the policy.

Last year I discussed two unexpected consequences of BYOD, but since then the risks have expanded as available technology diversifies and new mobility demands arise. Here are five additional pitfalls of BYOD environments, and how organizations can avoid them: (more…)

Apple tips its hat to the enterprise with new VPP Credit

Shopping-Cart-With-Apps-InsideApple recently introduced mobile device management (MDM) for iOS as part of a new focus on enterprise markets. This is great news for both the companies that steered clear of iPhones and iPads until now and those that dove into iOS despite the enterprise limitations. One aspect of the move is especially welcome: Apple expanded its Volume Purchase Program (VPP) to create VPP Credit. Under the program, businesses can now purchase large volumes of apps in bulk through purchase orders (POs).

While iPads have been a mainstay of the workplace for years, companies struggled to manage work-related applications housed on each individual device. Initially, app purchases were conducted per user and individually charged back to the enterprise. Not only was this tedious, but the moment employees left an organization, they took all of the pre-installed, company-purchased apps with them. Organizations could lose out on hundreds of dollars per device. (more…)

Why enterprise iOS adoption surged before Apple’s mobile device management tools

iPad at workApple recently introduced a mobile device management enrollment solution for iOS that would make it easier for enterprise and education customers to roll out mass numbers of fully configured iPads or iPhones to employees without ever touching the device. For many in enterprise IT, this makes iOS a lot more appealing.

But that’s not to say the enterprise has ignored iPads and iPhones until now. In fact, Apple has made significant headway into the enterprise market over the last five years, with sales surging more than 1,000 percent at SHI. Not to mention that iOS activations made up 73 percent of total device activations in the fourth quarter of 2013 among enterprises.

Even before a solution existed for a smooth enterprise deployment, many pioneering organizations sought out iOS anyway, a testament to the strengths of Apple’s products. But still, having every user install the necessary apps and configure settings would have been a major drain on time and resources. (more…)

4 questions employees should ask before buying a Windows tablet for work

More and more, enterprises are trusting employees to choose their own mobile devices and operate them in the workplace, and tablets are at the forefront of this movement. Yet with that choice comes certain variables for the enterprise, namely security, compatibility, licensing, and support.

Existing and upcoming Windows tablets offer much of the performance of traditional desktops and laptops, and their security seamlessly integrates with many existing enterprise systems. The myriad options allow users to adopt a tablet that best fits their work, right out of the box.

Here are four questions that a workforce should ask to help focus its search for a tablet best suited to a particular job and that will fit existing enterprise systems. (more…)

Amazon Kindle now available through SHI

SHI continues to expand our mobility services, last month adding Microsoft Surface to our repertoire, and today revealing the immediate availability of the Kindle family to U.S. business, public sector, and academic customers. Specifically, SHI customers can now purchase the Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, and Kindle Fire HD 8.9,” gaining access to many advanced features, including the ability to securely access corporate networks and join meetings using Skype or WebEx. Customers will also gain access to Whispercast, Amazon’s mobile device management (MDM) solution, for simplified mobile rollouts and management.

The addition of the Kindle family to our portfolio of mobile devices demonstrates SHI’s commitment to equipping customers with the mobile solutions they want and need to be competitive. Call your SHI account rep to discover the mobile devices that will best meet your organization’s requirements.

For the full details of this announcement, please review the press release we issued today.

 

Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface RT now available through SHI

microsoft surface proEarlier today Microsoft revealed that it is expanding Surface’s sales channels and empowering partners to sell both the Surface Pro and Surface RT. Proudly, SHI is one of the first partners to participate in the program, and we already have begun offering Surface Pro 64 GB, Surface Pro 128GB, Surface RT 32GB, and Surface RT 64GB to our customers.

This announcement is big news for our customers, who previously could obtain all of their Microsoft software and other hardware from SHI but had to go direct to Microsoft if they were looking to equip their employees with the Surface Pro or Surface RT. And we know customers were since “Microsoft Surface” topped the list of failed searches (that is, those that didn’t return any results) on SHI.com last quarter. Now we can help customers procure both of these devices and, as a result, provide a truly integrated Microsoft hardware and software solution for better IT asset management, spend visibility, and volume licensing compliance.

We’re really excited to expand our mobility portfolio. For the first half of 2013, SHI shipped an average of 10,000 tablets per month. With the availability of the Surface, which in May broke into the top five tablets shipped, and the official addition of another top-selling device to our catalog later this month, we’re bound to see those numbers increase.

For questions about pricing and availability of Surface Pro or Surface RT, check your custom catalog on SHI.com or contact your dedicated account team. And keep an eye on the blog for more news about our ever-expanding portfolio of tablets and mobile devices.

The Lenovo Helix: The next step in enterprise mobility

How many devices do you need in a typical workday to do your job well? If a Forrester study from last year is any indication, 74 percent of you use two or more devices, and 53 percent use three or more.

While each of those devices plays a particular role, switching among a PC, tablet, and smartphone throughout the day can be inefficient, both for users carting around multiple devices and IT help desks juggling myriad operating systems, licenses, and security concerns.

This is the thinking that led to the Lenovo Helix, a hybrid Ultrabook and tablet. One of a new crossbreed of mobile devices, the Helix is designed to simplify mobility for workers who spend a lot of time away from their desk but still need significant computing power and a full keyboard and mouse. It works just like a regular Ultrabook, but users can detach the screen, which functions as a tablet.

Here are four ways the Helix is simplifying workers’ mobile lives: (more…)