Data security in mobile devices is a key topic of discussion and a pain point among the enterprises that want to adopt a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. Mobile containerization, however, might be the answer to address the security woes of IT administrators and Chief Information Officers (CIOs).
Mobile containerization is very popular among enterprises today as they feel more secure in sharing corporate data on their employees’ devices. This means that not only are employees happy about getting those applications on their favorite devices and staying mobile wherever they are, but also the Chief Technology Officer of the organization can sleep soundly and not have to worry about confidential data leakage from employees’ devices.
However, as requirements vary from organization to organization, it is important to choose the container that fits the organization’s needs. There are basically three different types of container options to choose from:
- Encrypted folder: Creates an encrypted space, or folder, into which applications and data may be poured. This is a very traditional type of mobile container. Examples for this kind of container are Good for Enterprise and Enterproid Divide.
- App wrapping: Creates a protective “wrapping” that forms a secure bubble around each corporate application and its associated data.
- Dual persona: We are all very used to porting one operating system on the top of another using a hypervisor on our computer, and now we can use the same technique to create a dual persona within a mobile device.
This kind of containerization is actually getting popular among enterprises today, as they can secure any application without writing a single line of code. This means you can just upload your app in the app wrapping tool and create a security wrapper around it. You don’t need to spend a huge amount of money for developers to write code with a specific application programming interface (API) to make it secure. All these app uses per app virtual private network (VPN) mean that data at rest and data in transit are secure.
One caveat of this form of containerization is that currently you cannot use this to wrap the native email client that comes with the device. Examples of this kind of container are Mocana and Apperian.
Just imagine you are working on a presentation on your computer from your Hong Kong office and haven’t saved that presentation, and the next thing you do is catch a flight to New York and check into a hotel. You realize that the presentation you were working on needs to be completed, and you open the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) session on your tablet and start working on your presentation from where you left off.
The great thing about this solution is that you don’t need to spend time and money in strategizing and building an enterprise application to deploy on the device as you are accessing your office desktop on your tablet. Thus you can use each productive application on your desktop as it is. An example of this kind of container is XenDesktop from Citrix.
However, this kind of containerization has a few shortcomings:
- To access VDI on your device, your organization must have deployed VDI at the back end, and your profile should be present or migrated to VDI space. This is a limitation of using this kind of containerization on a device.
- Considering the size of the device’s screen, it may be a bit cumbersome to port a VDI profile on it. This kind of solution works much better on a tablet, which has a bigger screen area compared to a smartphone.
- To access a VDI profile on your device, you will require very good bandwidth. When the user is moving, the network fluctuation might break or stale the VDI session, which hurts user experience and thus productivity. It works really well when customers are using WiFi compared to a cellular data network.
Mobile containerization has evolved from a single encrypted sandboxed folder to application wrapping over the last few years, and the evolution is still going on as we speak. As enterprises are very conscious about security and leakage of corporate data, mobile containerization comes as a solution that CIOs can bank upon for adopting BYOD in their organization.
Make sure you choose your container well to make BYOD a success in your organization.
To learn more about containerization, check out these Mobile Business Insights posts from my colleagues: “Balancing corporate security with user experience” and “Mobile and virtualization—The dynamic duo for BYOD!”
If you want to talk more about mobile containerization or share your experience, leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter.Tweet