BYOD and Mobile Content Management: AirWatch says, "It's all about Security."

BYOD and Mobile Content Management: AirWatch says, "It's all about Security."

Summary: Security is a primary business concern and a primary business expense. Ease your burden by selecting a mobile content management solution that works.

TOPICS: Security, Mobility

I had a good conversation with AirWatch's Victor Cooper a few days ago and we stumbled upon an interesting concept during our talk: Mobile device management really boils down to security. Any topic you discuss concerning BYOD, really always ends up back at security. That's where the conversation turned for us. Every time we tried to discuss any of AirWatch's features, its supported operating systems or any of its functionality, we came back to security. Victor finally summarized the whole conversation into the best BYOD-oriented statement I've ever heard: "BYOD is all about security."

True and simple.

But, mobile device security is anything but simple. However, AirWatch can help. In particular, its Mobile Content Management (MCM) solution can help.

The problem is that business owners and their customers don't want secure or private documents falling into competitor's hands. They also don't want them accidentally or purposely deleted nor do they want them freely available on a lost or stolen device. This lack of security for proprietary information is the primary reason that companies deny corporate network access by personal devices.

AirWatch's MCM solution protects you better than an entourage of off-duty police officers.

AirWatch calls their secure MCM solution, Secure Content Locker, which is a native Android and iOS App for accessing and working with corporate documents.

Secure Content Locker offers Enterprise-grade Security

  • Authentication: Authenticate users via basic or directory services-based authentication
  • Encryption: Transmit documents over industry standard 256-bit SSL encrypted connections
  • Compliance: Require devices to be compliant with corporate policies or enrolled in MDM
  • Access: Disable access and delete documents if the device is compromised or non-compliant
  • Sharing: Control user’s ability to edit, copy/paste, share or open files in unauthorized applications

The other problem you have is, "How do you manage content in Cloud-based locations?" Well, AirWatch's MCM takes care of that too.

Cloud Content Management

  • Store documents in a cloud-based content management console
  • Upload documents individually or through a bulk import
  • Support multiple document types: Office, iWork, PDF, JPG, audio, video, etc.
  • Organize content using custom document categories, sub-categories, tags and metadata
  • Capture information on author, description, notes, keywords, etc.
  • Track document versions and update history
  • View which users have downloaded a file and when it was last viewed or deleted
  • Set documents as active or inactive

For you mobile device administrators or for you newly appointed Chief Mobility Officers (CMOs), there's built-in security features just for you, such as

  • Secure over-the-air distribution and access to corporate documents
  • Restrict editing, sharing and opening in unauthorized applications
  • Track document version and updates and user activity
  • Ensure corporate content is up to date on end-user mobile devices

The bottom line is that if your company wants to start a BYOD program or enhance a current one, you need to focus on security. Security should be your deciding factor in selecting a MDM, MAM, MCM or any BYOD solution. It only takes one security breach to bring everyone into a conference room for an intense "post-mortem" session. And, you know what C-level executives don't want to hear in that meeting? Excuses. They also don't want to see any finger-pointing or how you, the acting corporate hero, told everyone that you needed security and that you warned everyone of mobile device "vulnerabilities."

They want solutions and they want them fast. Stockholders and the public want answers not rhetoric or geeky commentary. Have a solution ready.

The appropriate way to handle a security problem is to offer a solution that's battle-tested and works.

In case you still don't get it, I offer you the following dialogue for thought and reflection.

CXO: "We've had a serious security breach. How do we keep this from happening again?"

You: "I've compiled this list of mobile device security solutions and my comments on each."

CXO: "Excellent but why haven't I seen this before?"

This is where you have to use diplomacy and restraint. Resist saying, "I told person X about this months ago" or "I've been saying this for over a year now and no one listens." It isn't helpful nor is it appreciated. The person at whom you point your finger will retaliate. Instead, use your good behavior and these words.

You: "My team has researched a solution for some time now and while we didn't assume that we were protected, we needed time to consider the best solution. We informed Mr. or Ms. X of this possibility. He/she can better explain our position."

This way the CXO knows you've done your due diligence and now the onus is on your manager without placing blame or making that person look bad. You give them a chance to explain. He/she might have had a valid reason for not moving forward on your recommendations due to budget restraints, timing or other business fluctuations that have now come to light.

Remember your place. You're not there to criticize, sacrifice, implicate or corner anyone--not even yourself. Technical people understand that security is a focal point. Often, management knows it but has other priorities, such as how to make sure that your paycheck doesn't bounce. Some issues get set aside inadvertently. Don't sweat it. It's not your job to sweat it.

Spend your time researching solutions, solving problems, being proactive and offering your knowledge to your management team. What they do with the information is out of your hands.

Remember, no matter what level you're viewing the corporate ladder from, it's all about security.

What do you think? Is your company halting or delaying a BYOD program due to security concerns? Talk back and let me know.

Topics: Security, Mobility


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Wait what?

    Isn't this basically the RIM model all over? Doesn't sound like anything employees want to deal with. Let's not kid ourselves about BYOD as it's a different end game for employees and corporate


    Want to use their own device so they don't have to adhere to company security and supervision controls. BYOD is mostly 90% personal usage and 10% work related.

    The traditional corporate Blackberry has TXT, PIN, BBM captured and supervised, application installation blocked and select Apps (that are corporate focued) pushed, internet browser filtered and blocked as well typical security controls with password, timeout, remote wipe. So yes employees LOVE to concept of BYOD as it allows them to do all the things not allowed on a corporate device.

    - Sext with whomever they like
    - Browse websites blocked
    - Use social networking sites blocked
    - Use IM and personal email (often not not allowed)

    Not to mention the corporate Blackberry is likely 3-4 years old due to budget restraints.


    They'll spin it as it's about employee device choice, helps with recruiting (really?!) and other fluff but the real play is COST SHIFT. It makes sense as people already have a smartphone / tablet so why buy them? The difference is I have my own laptop that I use however I see fit and do not have corporate enforcing how I can use it.

    So we have this new mobile landscape where everyone is making a play for what RIM had control over. The problem is not one solution is good enough, they all have limitations, usually due to mobile OS API but also trying to make consumer products work for enterprise. The really funny part is most of these solutions are much more expensive than RIM's.

    So in the end we end up with what a quasi corporate controlled mobile device that I as an employee pay for? Do I get a tax write off or reimbursiment for this priviledge? If not please provide a device that works how corporate needs it to and I'll use my devices how I choose as I have the last 10 years.
    • BYOD is a LIABILITY for businesses

      It only takes on "bad apple" to cause a huge problem. The benefits of the conveniences does not justify the HUGE risks introduced by using uncontrolled devices.

      That may be OK for a small business, but for a corporation the liability is too high and only very limited (and highly controlled) set of services may be accessible on a person.
  • MDM is Not Security

    C'mon. MDM is management. Mobile security is SO MUCH more than a few native APIs, implemented by vendors trying to convince their customers they are getting security. Who's going to get sued first? The poor customer or the vendor who mislead him?
  • BYOD = DOA

    From a pure security standpoint BYOD is trouble announcing its arrival loud and clear. recent studies are suggesting that BYOD is more expensive than the two device method we have been using for years. You CAN secure iOS/Android to extreme levels, properly and the answer is not ONE of the MDM vendors. Look for "MAD" security and see what I mean. (I have an interest in both security and MAD, for the record.)
  • BYOD - No Problem for Cryptoexpress is a SaaS that delivers highly secure, device to company server, encrypted voice and data communications integrated with IPv6 SIP VOIP, SMS, IM, Calendar, Contacts databases etc and which fully supports all PCs, tablets and smartphones, including RIM. Cryptoexpress is the service that RIM should have developed.