Mobile & BYOD Security in the Cloud: It’s Kind of Important!

July 16, 2012 - by joyentlindsay

This is a guest post by Lee Cocking, VP of Corporate Strategy at Fixmo – a Joyent partner that provides Mobile Security, Risk Management and Compliance Solutions to Governments, Carriers and Enterprises, with a focus on BYOD.

A few weeks ago Fixmo and Joyent announced a strategic partnership to bring Fixmo’s Mobile Security and Risk Management technology, including its defense-grade secure container for BYOD, to Joyent’s carrier-grade cloud software stack. I wanted to take a few minutes to explain why I believe this partnership is so incredibly important for the industry.

It’s no secret that the world of IT security and compliance is undergoing significant changes thanks to the rise of cloud computing, social networking, the proliferation of mobile devices and apps, and other disruptive forces. Smartphones and tablets are playing a very central role in these changes and have quickly become the most personal computing devices to-date. The fallout is the convergence of mobile and cloud, and it’s being driven by a number of important trends in both the mobile and cloud industry.

On the mobile side we’re seeing explosive growth in units shipping, in the range of 40% YoY, largely spurred by the adoption of new endpoint computing platforms including Apple and Android based devices. A thriving mobile application ecosystem is bringing endless possibility to mobile devices. Consumers now have shiny and extremely powerful mobile devices that they want to use in their workplace (aka BYOD or Bring Your Own Device). Not to mention the convergence of Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management (MAM), Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP), Mobile Information Management (MIM) and Mobile Security and Risk Management. Much of these trends are driving the now overused term “Consumerization of IT”.

As a result of this, organizations are desperately trying to figure out how to balance productivity and employee satisfaction with the mobile risks of devices & OS’s, applications, policies, vulnerabilities and adversaries. Risk, if you boil it down, is vulnerability + threat. In the business world we’ve got risks of corporate data leakage, network intrusion & corporate espionage, privacy loss, and regulatory compliance. Compliance sensitive organizations are specifically exposed to the additional risks of being sued, fined or shut down as a result of a compliance breach. In the personal world things aren’t so complex, but there are definite concerns over privacy loss, data loss and data leakage. On the cloud side we’ve seen a major shift from the traditional “hosting” days to smart compute and storage layers that are increasingly capable.  A “full” cloud is actually the aggregate of a number of technologies, including elastic compute instances, storage area networks, object stores, and analysis layers like Hadoop and Map/Reduce. You can really think of cloud as the next computer, except it’s auto-tuning, lightweight, and nearly infinitely scalable. Because of these capabilities the cloud is the default choice for high-speed applications, big data, storage and computing. Smart organizations are creating robust hybrid cloud deployments where applications, data and computing are intelligently moving from on-premise to the cloud when increased performance is needed.

And here’s the rub. All of this is coming together as we begin to embrace a mobile-first world, where designing for, and delivering on, mobile platforms becomes the first order of business for any new product. Cross this with the demand in developing countries, and you start to see that things get really interesting when you put mobility and cloud technologies together. In a mobile-first world, for developing countries that will lean heavily on cloud technologies rather than building out their own infrastructure, having turnkey mobile solutions that are available at the flip of a switch will be crucial to meet the growing demand.

Mobile-first means a lot of things to a lot of people, and while the trend is changing things in developed countries, it’s the developing countries who will in fact be embracing a lot of this technology first, on some of the best and most up-to-date mobile infrastructure in the world.  Very soon you’re going to see an explosion in mobile powered verticals, from mLearning to mHealthcare to mCommerce and finance, perhaps even traditional technologies like ATM’s disappearing. It’s literally going to change the way people live.

Because of this, developing countries will play a very large role in the new generation of mobility. In fact, we’re now seeing a massive swing from traditional feature phones to smartphones in these regions, and it’s happening nearly 24 months sooner than anticipated. The surging demand for both cloud services and mobility represents a unique opportunity due to the mobile first approach these markets are taking.

Joyent and Fixmo are at the forefront of the convergence between Cloud and Mobile Security, and bring significant experience in pushing the security and compliance capabilities of the cloud and mobile devices. What we are delivering is secure and compliant mobile computing on secure and compliant cloud infrastructure so there is absolutely no question about the confidentiality, integrity or availability of the solution. In other words, a Secure Mobile Cloud Stack. This is incredibly important for delivering solutions to the largest multi-national corporations, or for developing countries, because it provides the capability to quickly and securely deliver mobility (and BYOD) solutions in a massively scalable cloud environment.

We are now living through a wild shift in mobile and cloud computing that will dramatically change the way we will live, work, play, and communicate. This is presenting tremendous opportunity as we approach the estimated 2 billion smartphones and 500 million tablets to ship by 2015, and as the world makes the shift to a truly mobile-centric life.  If you don’t think this is important, your head is in the sand.

For those that are interested in learning more about BYOD security, mobility compliance, mobile risk management and related topics, check out our website at http://fixmo.com, subscribe to our Mobile Risk Insider newsletter at http://fixmo.com/news/mobile-risk-insider, and check out our blog at http://fixmo.com/blog. Or feel free to email me directly at Lee [dot] Cocking [at] fixmo [dot] com.

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