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Securing Mobile Content: Addressing The DropBox Problem

Consumerization and BYOD policies are creating new risks as employees use insecure and unapproved consumer storage and file-sharing solutions.

It's easy to conclude that consumerization and the related bring-your-own-device trend are unstoppable forces and that there is little IT, security and compliance executives can do to slow or control their momentum. Indeed, financial services firms are benefitting from BYOD and mobile pervasiveness in terms of employee and customer engagement, productivity, and increased data availability. But that doesn't mean there aren't serious issues around content management and security, notes Ian Story, senior product manager, Enterprise Content Management, IBM, who spoke with Bank Systems & Technology at the InformationWeek CIO Forum at Interop New York.

Perhaps the biggest problem is what Story calls "the Dropbox problem" – using unapproved consumer storage and content management systems such as Dropbox to view, save or share corporate documents on their mobile devices. "People want to work mobile, but the tools in the enterprise don't support this, so they are turning to consumer tools like Dropbox," Story says. "This means [the content] is detached, and the enterprise no longer in control of the content. This introduces enterprise risk" – customer information can be lost, duplicated or somehow unavailable, which potentially creates huge legal issues for the company, he stresses. "You don't want to put [customer] information on Dropbox, but every day people do this."

[ Is Mobile Banking Ready For Business?]

According to Story, IBM's Content Navigator solution is designed to help banks and other businesses avoid this complication and bring secure enterprise content management to mobile devices, regardless of platform or operating system. It acts as a front-end to the company's repositories and content management solutions, which means it can be easily embedded into a bank's own mobile apps. This way, "It make the mobile experience consistent with what employees have on the desktop," says Cengiz Satir, Program Director, ECM, IBM Enterprise Content Management.

"We want to give companies tools that provide an alternative and are easy to use, and that make it easy to do the right thing," in terms of how content is handled via the mobile channel, Story says. The reality is that it's hard to get employees to comply with security guidelines if it means they have to learn new systems or procedures, "but if it's the same system as they already using on desktop, it makes it easy for them to be in compliance."

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
10/14/2013 | 10:22:45 AM
re: Securing Mobile Content: Addressing The DropBox Problem
A number of companies are turning to enterprise versions of dropbox and other providers so they can remain in control of data that is on mobile devices. This definitely helps reduce the use of non-approved file sharing sites. It is an additional expense, but it seems to be a must have in today's environment.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/12/2013 | 1:48:12 AM
re: Securing Mobile Content: Addressing The DropBox Problem
It's clear that BYOD best practices are evolving and that since it is a trend that companies must embrace they really need to step up and understand what the real security challenges are (and aren't) -- and also that secure BYOD is as much about policy, training & communications as it is about technology. Thanks for your feedback.
MHUGHES7336
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MHUGHES7336,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2013 | 6:28:25 PM
re: Securing Mobile Content: Addressing The DropBox Problem
The issues outlined regarding the inherent compliance and security risks of sharing documents through cloud based are well stated. Although organization's may have some challenges extending data/documents from backend repositories to mobile devices, the issue is really about about how does the data contained in those documents remain protected after its been removed from the repository. Once removed, the risks of inadvertent data loss or the malicious disclosure of that data by employees are comparable in many respects to the risks associated with using a cloud file sharing technology. Companies like WatchDox address this very well...
anon5728235870
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anon5728235870,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/11/2013 | 2:05:36 PM
re: Securing Mobile Content: Addressing The DropBox Problem
The discussion here is that there are secure options for BYOD, especially at it relates to content, and that historically the mobile experience around content has not been consistent with that of the desktop. Addressing both of those issues helps businesses to comfortably move forward with mobile content apps.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/4/2013 | 2:09:03 AM
re: Securing Mobile Content: Addressing The DropBox Problem
Thanks for your feedback. Clearly BYOD is transforming many aspects of corporate IT and is driving necessary changes in policy, process & infrastructure. Probably the biggest challenge right now is education, perception, etc. -- both for management (setting the policies, making smart investments in the right support systems, etc.) and for the workforce (proper actions, follow policy, etc.). I attended a great session on e-discovery at Interop today and BYOD is a huge factor that businesses must understand in the context of legal and e-discovery requirements.
Castofshadows
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Castofshadows,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/3/2013 | 8:17:47 PM
re: Securing Mobile Content: Addressing The DropBox Problem
While I respect everything that Ian says, this is a case of him not understanding that there are tools available that will allow IT to remain control over ALL of their data and be able to revoke access to that data even if it is on user owned devioces. Check out www.ncryptedcloud.com Dropbox + nCrypted Cloud = Enterprise grade Security
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