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BYOD: Secure data, not devices

Thor Olavsrud | July 23, 2012
A growing number of secure mobile solution providers say the answer to BYOD is not to control the device, but to control the data.

One drawback of Red Bend's type 1 hypervisor approach is that it can't be implemented on just any smartphone. It requires the handset manufacturer or chipset manufacturer to architect the device to support bare metal virtualisation. Red Bend is attacking that problem aggressively.

"We're working with our customers, who are all the mobile device manufacturers -- chipset manufacturers to ODMs and OEMs -- to actually change the architecture and how the next generation of mass-market devices are designed and built so they are enterprise ready from the beginning," explained Lori Sylvia, executive vice president of Marketing at Red Bend.

Red Bend is not alone. Virtualisation juggernaut VMware has launched a similar project, called Horizon Mobile Virtualisation, to allow the enterprise to deploy its own secure virtual phone images to employee-owned smartphones.

Virtual Desktop on Your Phone
Desktop as a Service (DaaS) specialist Desktone is also using virtualisation to solve the BYOD puzzle, but with an approach that differs from Red Bend's. Rather than virtualising the phone, Desktone is virtualising users' desktop computers and deliver them as a service, giving them the ability to access that virtual desktop via different devices, from a physical desktop or laptop to a tablet or smartphone.

"Rather than managing devices, it's more about managing users," said Danny Allan, CTO of Desktone and former director of security research for IBM.

Desktone's solution allows organisations to set policies for how services can be accessed and with which devices. For instance, it could allow a user to access a certain service from an iPad while on the road but not while in the office, or vice versa.

In the end, whichever strategy you adopt for dealing with BYOD, the vendors all agree that the key is to secure your sensitive data while still providing the end user the freedom and flexibility to use devices to enhance their productivity. If your solution is too onerous to use, end users won't use your apps and you'll fail to recognise the productivity gains mobile computing offers.

"If the solution that you apply is too restrictive, then as much as everyone wants BYOD, it's simply not going to be a practical solution because no one will use it," Duckering said.

 

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