Mobility and the enterprise - trends for 2012
* The 'enriched reality' of mobile a boon for business
* Mobile becomes part of the secure enterprise
* A secure ring-fenced 'micro-kernel' of corporate information
Mobility is an identifiable global mega-trend along with others such as ageing populations, social media-driven interaction, urbanisation and a worldwide economic crisis, says Dr Andrew Hutchison, International Consulting and Solution Sales Management at T-Systems, in South Africa.
There is an expectation that personal and corporate information should be available at any place at any time, and smartphones and tablet devices provide platforms to enable communication, collaboration and mobile productivity. Integration into business is no longer a choice as mobile devices are everywhere. The burning question is: how can the unique value and potential that mobile devices offer us as business tools be harnessed and, most critically, secured?
Some of the major issues large enterprises are grappling with at present include: how will IT infrastructure be impacted by cloud computing; how can internal and external communications be secured; how can customer and data analytics be better leveraged to the advantage of the business and to reach new markets; and how will the increased 'connectedness' of the mass market affect business. Mobile devices and mobility feature as a component of every one of these issues.
Consumption of information and technology is blurring the distinction between the corporate and the personal entity. There's a paradigm of 'bring your own device'. People want to take advantage of publicly available information services, possibly from the convenience of their own preferred device and platform. Analyst firm Gartner has used the term 'enriched reality' to refer to the creation of an information-rich and personalised environment through “mobile-centric strategies and next-generation analytics that optimise users' needs based on context and online behaviour”. We are seeing this as a trend in our corporate customer base.
From a security perspective, T-Systems, with T-Labs, the R&D unit of Deutsche Telekom, is exploring the concept of secure micro-kernels for mobile devices, to allow processing and storage of corporate and sensitive information on devices that may be owned by either the company or the individual. Supported by Multiple Independent Layers of Security (MILS), the concept is to enable secure applications. Additional mobile device management services such as a remote  “wipe” are also being built into T-Systems' services for mobile devices.
T-Systems' strategy is to implement a secure entity on the mobile device that allows the user to securely segment or share the device for personal and corporate use.
Returning to the key questions enterprises are considering, in terms of infrastructure, we see mobile becoming part of the secure cloud access and processing ecosystem. In this mode, a service provider enables access, and applications can be cloud-based. As part of a bigger network evolution, networks are increasingly becoming data-centric at the expense of voice and other services.
It has been reported that mobile applications such as Whatsapp Messenger have resulted in a worldwide decline in SMS revenues in the order of $14 billion across all telco operators. Network data usage has escalated as applications of all types have sprung up. Considering the future networked television and accompanying explosion of user data analytics as one-to-one marketing really takes off, and the value of creating a secure gateway or hub, and having a secure cloud for the enterprise - of which mobile is an integral part - becomes clear.
Services for mobile and cloud, as part of a comprehensive outsourced information technology solution, are already part of T-Systems' offering. Mobile device management services include e-mail and personal information management, Virtual Private Network (VPN) integration, testing services, remote wipe, asset management for licensed applications, reporting, logistic services, enterprise applications, security policy enforcement, remote management, software distribution management and fixed/mobile convergence.
As our conversations and communications with customers become increasingly mobile-centric, so too will business data security strategies. Rather than limiting what mobile users can do or access, our approach is to enable and secure business activities in the most flexible and comprehensive manner possible.
By Dr Andrew Hutchison, International Consulting and Solution Sales Management at T-Systems, in South Africa.