The Holy Grail for any company is for their employees to have the best information available to make great decisions and be productive anywhere. The proliferation of mobile devices over the past decade underscores the need for anywhere access. Just as in our personal lives, employees expect the ability to communicate, collaborate, get informed, and execute transactions on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, both inside and outside the office. So what’s wrong with that?
Unfortunately, a lot of existing software wasn’t built for use on newer technologies. Legacy software built for the local area network (LAN) — or worse, the mainframe — don’t natively run on iOS or Android devices. An entire industry was built on reskinning these tech sets to show up on browsers — but that’s a far cry from perfect.
Enter the cloud
Thank goodness for software-as-a-service (SaaS). If we’ve learned anything, it’s that enterprise cloud architecture is not a buzzword. It’s the next generation of technology that’s enabling companies around the world to ditch their outdated solutions in lieu of newer tools that fully embrace mobility. Nice, right?
Unfortunately, as cloud-based technologies emerge and companies rush to them, a new challenge arises that nearly, completely, and unabashedly puts the brakes on entering your time and expenses while you lounge by the pool.
While most companies are trying to migrate from their legacy systems, they’re keeping their legacy security requirements in place, putting a real onus on cloud vendors, systems integrators, and even their own enterprise architects to solve stringent on-premises requirements that, in some cases, aren’t even applicable to the cloud.
A password for your passwords
Imagine the winters of your childhood when outside your family room window, all the neighborhood kids are rallying for fun in the snow. You rush to the hall closet, grab a coat, and head for the front door, only to meet … da da duuun ... your mother. She’s cool with you going out, but first you have to put on a sweater, a scarf, another sweater, clothes, a toboggan, and so on, until you’re so insulated you can’t even move your arms.
Now fast forward to today, and find the thrill of a new iPad issued by your department lead. You can’t wait to use it for all that late work you do at night. But when you go to turn it on, you run into an advanced password challenge to unlock it. No matter, you’ve seen that before. Then you run into a multi-factor authentication challenge to ensure the device is managed by your IT department. Okay. Now you try to access an app, only to find that you can only access company apps from the company store — which also requires a password. But before you can even do that, you must first logon to your company’s virtual private network (VPN). Oh well, I guess that project can wait until tomorrow...
The challenge a lot of companies face when it comes to mobile productivity, cloud solutions, and even digital technologies, is that a fundamental component of these tools relies on external security protocols.
So how can you fully (and securely) embrace these tools?
The best first step a company can take is not to abandon its security policies, but rather see where, if possible, they can be alleviated by (or transferred to) their SaaS partners. Security leaders know that business goals can be achieved only when the same security principles and governance being applied in-house are also applied to the cloud.
As part of our strategic offerings, we must help our clients take a hard look at their existing security protocols, and see if they are, in fact, applicable to a cloud architecture. Identifying, discussing, prioritizing, assigning, and monitoring both personal and data security protocols are ongoing activities, that will enable and ensure that our clients’ mobile expectations are met, and that all their productivity gains are fulfilled.