Accelerate And Secure The Digital Workplace
By Simon Biddiscombe
The modern digital workplace is more dynamic than ever before, with employees across all industries — financial brokers, healthcare providers, retail workers, factory floor workers and even postal carriers — using a wide range of apps, devices and technologies to access business data.
That’s why the bring your own device (BYOD) trend continues to see increased adoption rates: Users want the freedom to choose which devices and technologies suit them best. The BYOD market in North America is projected to grow at a CAGR of more than 17% by 2023, according to a recent report by ResearchAndMarkets.com. This is largely due to workforce demand.
To do their jobs efficiently, employees need to be able to work from any device, using any app, from any location, over any network. According to a recent study conducted by our company and IDG, about 2 in 5 end users (42%) need daily access to mobile business apps. That number is expected to increase over the next two years, with millennials driving demand for broader access to business apps on mobile devices. Businesses will continue to embrace digital transformation to stay competitive.
At the same time, mobile threats are growing. Verizon’s 2019 Mobile Security Index (via ITProPortal) found that “83% of CIOs believed their organization was under threat from mobile threats, while 68% said they believed mobile threats had increased in the last year, and 58% agreed that mobile threats are growing faster than any other threat vector.”
In this BYOD era, organizations need a fully integrated security approach that covers the broadest set of OS and device offerings to effectively mitigate mobile threats while allowing the agility and anytime access that employees need. Traditional, static, perimeter-based, lock-down approaches to security don’t cut it for the modern workplace. That’s why many organizations are investing in and embracing zero trust security.
A zero trust security approach secures business data across any device and app that employees choose without affecting the user experience. This is critical because if security gets in the way of productivity, users will find a way around it. When secure access is determined by a “never trust, always verify” approach, that’s mobile-centric, zero trust security. It requires verifying the device, user, apps, networks and presence of threats before granting access — with constant enforcement.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous Forbes Tech Council post, it’s easy to implement a mobile-centric zero trust approach. I’ll elaborate on those here:
- Create a secure digital workplace. This is critical, as companies need to protect their data the way it’s being accessed and used by authorized owners of the devices involved.
- Allow user access to authorized corporate data based on full context. You must take device, app, network, threat, time, location and OS signals into account before granting access to business data.
- Protect both data at rest and in motion. This is where data containerization and integrated threat defense capabilities — implemented on-device, closest to where the data lives — are vital.
- Provide continuous monitoring to quarantine devices. The more advanced controls you have, the stronger your security will need to be.
To bring a mobile-centric zero trust security strategy to life, many companies require a co-management approach. For example, companies that leverage a mobile device management (MDM) and mobile app management (MAM) solution to protect corporate data on certain devices and apps should also leverage a robust unified endpoint management (UEM) platform to secure other devices, as well as applications existing on-premises and in the cloud. The solutions must complement each other and work together to create a stronger, broader ecosystem to support all OS and device offerings. Otherwise, there will always be a security gap.
To improve their security posture, companies should also eliminate passwords. Modern digital workplaces should offer flexibility in their choice of applications and devices, as well as the best end-user experience. Relying on passwords is not only frustrating for users, but a burden on IT, and one of the top causes of enterprise data breaches. Today, companies can eliminate passwords by leveraging biometric technology, software and hardware tokens, certificates and other approaches.
To be successful in 2020 and beyond, organizations need to embrace the digital workplace, which is the future of work, or they will be left behind. But they also need to reduce risk by properly securing the way their employees work. A mobile-centric zero trust approach not only helps organizations secure their digital workplace journey, but it also helps accelerate the journey.