Mobility is a top concern for many organizations, yet they fall behind the curve when supporting remote work scenarios across smartphone, tablet and rich client platforms. This is especially true with regard to security, where the task of protecting users, devices and assets on both sides of the firewall can overwhelm IT shops. Now organizations can address that shortfall with an emerging class of cloud-hosted solutions known as Workspace as a Service (WaaS).
WaaS offerings such as VMware Workspace ONE and Citrix Workspace Suite pull together all the elements of a mobile work initiative. They combine the benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) application delivery with the security and control provided by enterprise mobility management (EMM) and mobile device management (MDM) suites. And they do so via a cloud-based model that eliminates the need to manage infrastructure and pay for deployments through capital expenditures. The result: Mobile users can access data, applications and services anywhere, from their personal or enterprise mobile devices, in a secure and trusted manner.
A key benefit of WaaS is that it unwinds the tangle of point solutions that are used to protect mobilized assets. WaaS presents intuitive, consumer-grade user experiences — including single sign-on — to ensure adoption and maximize productivity. It provides policy-based controls (for example, forbidding devices with unpatched operating systems to connect to enterprise networks) and it containerizes enterprise apps, data, and internet searches on devices so users can’t easily copy and paste elements (such as sensitive emails) to another machine. All of this happens within a coherent set of cloud-hosted services that ease rollout and management compared to on-premises approaches.
The Road to Mobile Security
Deploying a WaaS solution is just one step toward a secure mobile enterprise. Any effort to extend applications, data and access beyond the firewall must be carefully crafted and balanced. Among things to consider as you contemplate a WaaS rollout:
- Prioritize security: Security efforts often flounder because they are not accounted for until late in the planning and implementation phases. Address security issues head on — and early — to ensure best results.
- Manage transitions: If you have an incumbent on-premises solution, think carefully about the assets that are being exposed, how the proposed system works and what changes must happen to ensure security.
- Focus on users: Deploy solutions that are intuitive and user-friendly to promote adoption, and provide ample training, guidance and incentives for workers to comply with security policies.
- Test and verify: Conduct vulnerability testing to expose gaps and weaknesses before the deployment goes live. Employ in-depth monitoring and user polling to discern issues and trends once under way.
- Formalize security: Roughly half of the companies we talk to have not established a mobility policy, which means that they have no rules or accountability in place for users or the organization. This, in turn, places everyone at risk. Your leaders should develop practices and procedures that fully reflect the organization’s security challenges.
- Seek inspiration: Review the security information published by the federal government under National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-53. There’s great stuff there, including lots of info on home work environments and data classification and handling.
Finally, don’t hesitate to seek help. Security is hard. The cost of a wrong decision or botched implementation can be high. Reach out to a CDW security or mobility specialist who can help you get a grip on the challenge, and provide the consulting, design and implementation support you need to successfully mobilize your business.
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