By Arwen Petty
There’s something about collaboration that makes people nervous. Sharing ideas and responsibilities opens businesses up to vulnerability and potential security issues, and the BYOD surge means the majority of partnerships are utterly dependent on mobility. But as the industry grows up and moves towards open collaboration practices, this kind of transparency is vital. Can certification provide the insurance necessary to drive mobile collaboration?
It’s Happening Anyway, This Will Just Make it Safer
First things first: what does certification mean in this case? Recently, Lifehacker reported that Good For Enterprise from Good Technologies became “the first non-BlackBerry mobile collaboration and device management software to be certified by the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) for use in Australian government environments that require high levels of data security.” So basically, we’re talking about gadgets and their operating systems getting a stamp of approval from the government — or a highly trusted organization — ensuring that they’re not all that hack-able.
The thing is, not many people are willing to wait for that green light. According to a survey from earlier this year, 36% of employees who embrace using personal devices for work said they would try to skirt IT policies that forbade them from doing so, and the numbers are surely climbing. However, if device certification becomes a widespread initiative for concerned companies, employees can comfortably — rather than covertly — make the switch, advancing the mobile collaboration culture without putting company data or partnerships at risk.
Mobile Strategy Has Stepped Away from the Edge
Up until pretty recently, mobile business carried this stigma of being an afterthought. Companies knew they needed to consider it, but building it into the fundamental, core structure of marketing strategies wasn’t a priority. But according to KCPB partner Mary Meeker’s 2012 Internet Trends presentation, there are now 1.1 billion mobile 3G subscribers worldwide, representing a 37% annual growth rate. CNET’s Don Reisinger, who covered the report, noted that “mobile products now account for 10 percent of all Internet traffic,” as compared to the 1% mobile attribution of December 2009. Additionally, one of the most cited stats from Meeker’s report shows that in 2014, use of mobile devices will surpass desktop and laptop use for both personal and work-related online activities.
Of course, all of that increased use naturally leads to increased security risks. Juniper Research reported that “less than 1 in 20 smartphones and tablets have third-party security software installed.” They also estimated that by 2016, mobile users will invest a collective $3.6 billion in securing mobile gadgets, 69% of which will be made by corporations trying to protect corporate data. That makes the idea of global device certification pretty attractive, both strategically and financially.
The digital world is an impatient one. Right now, businesses are laser-focused on successfully deploying mobile strategies, and part of that is dependent on securing devices and data. Global certification policies might take time to develop and implement, but will encourage mobile collaboration by placing a premium on data insurance.