Security in an Unchained World

Some refer to today’s world as the “post-PC era.” Users are no longer chained to their desktop thanks to the adoption of mobile devices and the explosion of new applications that provide them with data access anytime and from anywhere. Users want access to their data whether they are in the middle of New York City or in a remote forest – truly making it a small world after all.

It is an exciting time, and it is hard to imagine life without our smart phone or tablet, but there is a tradeoff to this 24-by-7 connectedness. Wherever you are, your data is with you, and that drives new requirements on the back-end.  Your network must scale to handle the growth of mobile apps, remain up and accessible at all times, and offer new data protection and application integration services.

However, the biggest risk associated with going mobile is security.  Personal and private data is often comingled on a single device.  Tools such as Dropbox and Evernote are popular, potentially opening up access to private corporate data.  New mobile application downloads are flooding networks, increasing security concerns. 

IT organizations have recognized this and many have implemented policies which destroy all data on devices, should they become lost or stolen. There are also some new tools that can help. 

NetApp Connect is one approach to securing data access from mobile devices.  By default, users can consume data by displaying and annotating it, using encrypted communication, but are unable to change it. For certain users, who must be disconnected when presenting data, IT managers can set a policy, which lets them store data on the device for a set amount of time. While on the device, that data is AES256 encrypted. This approach allows agencies and corporations to maintain strong data security and reduce data leakage.

If users want to collaborate, the combination of NetApp's Data ONTAP storage operating system and Citrix ShareFile allows file sharing and mobile access to data in a secure way.  NetApp also supports VMware Horizon Workspace, which makes it easier for users to securely share large files and folders and access applications and data from a mobile device.  The bottom line:  Proceed cautiously when it comes to supporting mobile devices in your organization, but embrace it.  There is no reconnecting the chains now.

Dale Wickizer is the Chief Technology Officer at NetApp U.S. Public Sector, supports mobility, and can be found accessing data in the forest.