by Ahmed Datoo, VP of Marketing for Zenprise
The widespread consumerization and general adoption of smartphones in the workplace is adding another layer of IT complexity. It’s important to remember that carrying a smartphone is similar to having a computer in your pocket. Therefore, these devices face the same security threats as a PC. Along with network vulnerabilities that stem from malware embedded Websites and email attachments, applications are also at risk.
The increased popularity and availability of smartphone applications creates security implications for employees who increasingly download these apps onto their corporate phones. Today’s enterprise is ill equipped to handle the expected wave of device issues resulting from rogue applications. A rogue application could cause a security threat by pulling sensitive data from the network.
There are several preventative steps companies can utilize when guarding against security compromises. Corporate policies that explicitly prohibit users from installing non-corporate approved applications should be created and enforced via mobile security settings (both the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and Microsoft’s ActiveSync platform have numerous security policies that can be applied to a device). In addition, the exponential increase of smartphone usage is driving the need for management tools that enable IT to audit devices for third-party applications to prevent security breaches from these rogue applications.
Zenprise’s Device Manager is a new module for MobileManager that enables organizations to remotely manage BlackBerry devices. Using the Device Manager, help desk personnel and BlackBerry administrators can find lost or stolen devices, proactively monitor and diagnose device issues and audit devices for third party applications – all leading to significant cost savings, improved service levels and corporate compliance. One of the key features of the Device Auditor is the ability to provide details on which applications are currently running on the phone. As a result, an IT department could determine if an employee’s recent update or download is consuming too much memory, draining the device’s battery or triggering an issue. By understanding which applications are installed and running, Device Manager enables enterprise IT to avoid potential security and compliance risks similar the Etisalat patch distributed to BlackBerry users last week.
Zenprise Device Manager allows IT administrators to immediately identify devices compromised by the patch, thereby enabling them to immediately erase all data on the device. The faster the device is wiped clean, the less likely the malware could broadcast critical email, calendar, etc. info from the device to third parties.