Best BYOD management: Containment is your friend

New containerization technologies can help BYOD initiatives succeed by creating separate spaces on smartphones for work and personal use

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Neither Apple nor Google offer containerization technology, and neither would comment for this story, but their respective spokesmen did point out some resources that might be helpful. (See sidebar, below.)

Encrypted folders

The most mature containerization approach is the encrypted, folder-based container, Redman explains. AirWatch has an offering in this space, and Good Technology is an early leader in terms of enterprise adoption of containerization, particularly among regulated businesses.

For basic mobile access, BNY Mellon uses Good for Enterprise to create an encrypted space on smartphones within which users can run Good's email and calendar client and use a secured browser. "It's a secure container with an app that can send and receive corporate email that's encrypted," says Perkins. All communications are routed through Good's network operations center, which authenticates mobile users.

For its part, Good's basic email and calendaring capability has been available for several years. Late last year it added the capability for other apps to run within its protected space using the Good Dynamics Platform, but each app must be modified to run in Good's proprietary environment. So far, about a dozen commercial apps are available, including QuickOffice, which is typically used for reading and editing downloaded Microsoft Office file attachments.

Perkins is using Good only for email and calendar -- the "killer apps" for most employees, he says -- and for accessing internal, browser-based apps using Good's browser.

For full-on access to the corporate network, SharePoint and other services, BNY Mellon relies on Fiberlink's MaaS360, a cloud-based MDM system it has configured to take complete control of the user's device. MaaS360 monitors what gets written to and from the operating system, and blocks access to some personal apps, such as Yahoo Mail and Gmail, when the device is accessing corporate resources.

"When it's on our network we own it and control it," says Perkins. When used in personal mode, individuals have control over which apps they can use.

What's more, BNY Mellon may wipe the device -- including all of the user's personal apps and data -- if it is lost or stolen, although MaaS360 and most other major MDM tools do allow selective wipes. Citing security concerns, Perkins declined to say how many times the company has had to wipe phones that have been lost or stolen.

In comparison, if the Good-based units are lost or stolen, only the corporate container is wiped.

It's not surprising, then, that some employees are concerned about turning their personal smartphones over to "Big Brother." The Good alternative, Perkins says, is more palatable for users who want access to just the basics: email, calendar and a secure browser.

App wrapping

This is a newer, more granular approach in which each app is enclosed in its own encrypted policy wrapper, or container. This allows administrators to tailor policies to each app. Small vendors with proprietary approaches dominate the market, including Mocana, Bitzer Mobile, OpenPeak, and Nukona (recently acquired by Symantec).

For its part, RIM is working on adding this capability to its BlackBerry Mobile Fusion MDM software, possibly as soon as May 2013. (Mobile Fusion runs on Android and iPhone devices as well as on the BlackBerry.) Peter Devenyi, senior vice president of enterprise software, says RIM's offering will be "a containerized solution where one can wrap an application without the need to modify source code so you can run it as a corporate application and manage it as a corporate asset."

"Using these tools you can put together a pretty complete, fully wrapped productivity suite that's encrypted and controllable," says Jeff Fugitt, vice president of marketing at mobile integrator Vox Mobile. So far, however, the customer base for the technology is relatively small.

Forrester analyst Christian Kane describes app wrapping as an "application-level VPN" that lets administrators set policies to determine what the app can interact with on the user's device or on the Web, and what access the app has to back-end resources. It also allows for remote wiping of the container, including the app and any associated data.

"Application wrapping is not mature," says Gartner's Redman, and the existence of competing architectures in this nascent market is holding back growth. But the adoption of app wrapping for enterprise and third-party apps will increase, he says, as the technology is eventually integrated into the larger and more established MDM platforms.

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