The latest mobile security darlings won't work either

Users simply won't accept locked-down, limited, and clunky tools like containerization, dual personas, and virtualization

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Containerization is the latest proposed silver bullet for safeguarding businesses from their employees. A few years ago, EMC VMware was all over the notion of using virtualization to create some sort of separation. No one bit, and VMware was distracted by other issues, though it returned to the virtualization-based dual-persona game this year. Citrix Systems has more consistently carried the virtualization torch, though with little to show for it as yet. So does General Dynamics, which is working on a variant of the technology in hopes of selling dual-persona devices to the military. Never mind that the U.S. military later decided that single-persona iPhones meet its security needs just as well.

Like virtualization, containerization is a notion that keeps getting resurrected by security vendors trying to make a sale to IT. Before the dual-persona form was the simpler notion of the secured app container, which at least doesn't create an entire environment that is hard to use; even if the business apps are bad, the rest of the smartphone works as it always has. Many vendors sell such app containers, but they're tied to proprietary APIs and management tools, making them nonportable. Until that changes, they won't take off.

Security is important, and sometimes usability should be sacrificed for it. But most IT organizations and most vendors secure too much too hard, and they devalue the utility of usability too often and too broadly. Corporate execs don't want to be accused of being soft on security, so they support the bad technology and the IT-as-jail-guard mentality while quietly allowing employees to do what needs to be done to get the work done. (That's how PCs, the Internet,, and iPhones got into the enterprise in the first place!)

So we waste time, money, and productivity rather than get realistic about what should be secured and what are the appropriate trade-offs. If you want a competitive advantage for your business, don't fall into that trap.

This article, "The latest mobile security darlings won't work either," was originally published at Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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