One of the thorniest issues facing IT departments worldwide is vulnerability to attacks on sensitive business data or the leakage of that information through mobile devices that are used by employees for both work and personal computing and communications. As enterprises advance the mobilization of their businesses, accelerating the exposure of behind-the-firewall information to legions of smartphones and tablets — many designed for consumer environments — opportunities for work-personal data leakage may increase dramatically.
Fortunately, mobile device containerization has emerged as an effective means of preventing sensitive information from being attacked or leaked outside a business or organization, as well as a tool for providing business users with the ability to effectively and securely use a single mobile device for both work and personal communications and computing. Mobile device containers work by enabling IT administrators to segment a smartphone or tablet into virtual compartments, which can be managed and secured independently. The process essentially enables businesses to encase work-related data in a protective envelope, where it is no longer as susceptible to leaking into users’ personal information or being infiltrated through malware.
Properly deployed, mobile device containerization can also offer benefits beyond data leakage prevention. For starters, containerization technology is a pivotal enabler of a shift in enterprise mobility management from device focused to data and application focused. Containerization brings a new dimension to enterprise management, allowing IT to focus on protecting and managing applications and content.
Mobile device containerization could also assist IT administrators in overcoming the reluctance of end users to submit their personal devices to IT oversight. End-user tendency to shy away from IT creates a breeding ground for data leakage, as unmanaged employee-owned smartphones, tablets and even laptops end up loaded with corporate data and applications that sit next to consumer-based social networking, messaging, file sharing and other Internet-based data leakage channels.
Privacy and liability
IT departments are also enthusiastic about container technology as a mechanism for avoiding the violation of liability and compliance rules, which tend to vary from country to country. An unattractive byproduct of BYOD adoption is the increased possibility that a well-meaning IT manager will end up in legal hot water after deleting or corrupting personal data on an employee-owned device. Technology that allows IT to manage only work-related data may also mean fewer irate trouble calls – possibly from the CEO — and the avoidance of getting scratched by still-prickly privacy issues associated with BYOD.
The bottom-line benefit of containerization, however, is its ability to assist IT administrators in accomplishing a fundamental business goal: enabling workers to safely and securely conduct business from any location on any device without imposing usability obstacles.