Does it seem as if the ability to monitor data security is becoming increasingly confusing? You are not dreaming.
The protection of sensitive data has always been an ongoing priority. But user behavior linked to recent technological advancements -- increasingly capable mobile devices, increased WiFi access, sharable applications, and affordable cloud capacity -- suggest security methods for protecting information have to change quickly.
A business process management team can guide an organization through this environment. A team should identify a corporation's access and use of data by examining employee use instead of technology purchases. The end result is an improved alignment of IT resources to emphasize employee data usage occurring in today's context.
Pierre Luma, a New York City IT consultant, showed me an example of what such an alignment could look like. He showed me an app that can remove data from a smartphone if the owner loses the device.
He also shared his opinion about how data security activity has shifted for IT professionals. "The tides are changing," he said. "Companies are beginning to mitigate costs on their intellectual property by hosting data services on the personal devices for their employees and contractors."
Luma is addressing the most crucial resource in this evolution: the data being accessed, not so much the device accessing it. Moreover, recent surveys are revealing the "consumerization" trend -- employees providing their own devices for their daily workplace tasks. The device of choice is typically a laptop but is increasingly including a tablet or smartphone.
Information Week mentions in its article, "SMBs struggle to Corral Business Intelligence Data," that respondents to a LogiXML study are "motivated more by employees than purchase orders" to adopt mobile and tablet devices. The current usage of mobile BI platforms "is minimal," but this status is merely a snapshot of time.
In a separate study, Gartner noted the increased of mobile devices as one of the top strategic trends for 2012 as "the era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is one of a variety of environments IT will need to support."
Diverse but secure
But does the variation of devices means a loss of standards for data security process? Not necessarily.
Renee Schmidt, a founding partner of Madison Technology, a NYC-based Cloud Hosting and Infrastructure as a Service provider, noted this perspective when explaining cloud computing benefits in a presentation for a "Small Business Technology -- 12 Hours of Tech" seminar, as part of NY Internet Week, earlier this year. Schmidt noted many cloud services inherently require access security.
She also said, "As we move away from traditional desktop and server infrastructure, the increase in cloud adaptation will correlate to an increase in mobile device usage; inclusive of mobile phones, laptops, and in particular, tablets... For example, Cloud Desktops now let you run a Windows 7 desktop using your Apple iPad, or any other Internet-connected device. The flexibility is impressive."
It is in this backdrop of various devices, operating systems, and cloud capability that business process management can be valuable to security planning. Because BPM is about a holistic view of a company, and because data is more and more driving a company's strategy, a BPM team can aid IT in managing and monitoring security needs while retaining the best aspects of user customization and cloud adoption.
Considering access security along with other business process management team obligations can help turn an organization towards the future.