The proliferation of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend is being driven by many factors, most notably the increasing attractiveness, in form and function, of the various mobile devices on the market today and the increasing use of those devices to access services on the Internet. In fact, most people already are using multiple mobile devices in their personal environments to access e-mail, social networks, or various other applications that are meant to make our lives easier.
So in this increasing environment of BYOD and bring your own identity (BYOI), what can enterprises do to leverage as well as protect their customer data? And how can companies manage the user identity lifecycle?
UnboundID, a platform provider for identity data, has developed an Identity Data Platform that helps companies in telecommunications, financial and cloud services to unify, personalize and produce identity data, increasing the value of the identity assets these companies possess, while offering a greater benefit to end customers.
MobilityTechzone recently had the opportunity to catch up with Nicholas Crown, director of Products at UnboundID, who will be a speaker at the upcoming ITEXPO 2013 session, “Bring Your Own What? BYOI vs. BYOD,” which will be held on Jan. 30 from 12 to 12:45 p.m. at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Our full exchange follows below.
What is the most significant technology trend impacting the way businesses conduct operations today?
NC: I believe there are really two major technology trends impacting businesses today: 1) the transition to cloud-based services, and 2) the increasing proliferation and adoption of mobile technologies. Sure, social media and big data are also influential, but they are not having as large of an impact today on business operations as cloud and mobile. It’s been said many times before, but “the perimeter” (the firewall around the business) is gone. Get over it. Now, that you’ve gotten over it, what can you do to enable the business to harness the power of the cloud and mobile while still maintaining some control over the crown jewels?
How is cloud computing changing the way you operate your business?
NC: As a technology provider, it impacts how we deliver our goods to the market. More and more companies are expecting support for cloud-based deployments out-of-the-box. No one believed that companies would trust a third-party service to manage their CRM data, but obviously Salesforce.com didn’t listen to the naysayers.
Have security concerns around cloud computing been effectively addressed by the market, or is security still impediment to adoption?
NC: Security is still very much an issue in cloud computing adoption. With that said, much progress has been made in the last couple of years to address some of these concerns. It pretty much goes without saying that if you need to store sensitive data in the cloud, then you need to take the responsibility to encrypt the data before you send it up the pipe. You cannot, nor should not, rely on someone else to manage encryption (keys, cipher strength, etc.) for you. The sad part of this story is that companies aren’t really doing a great job at securing the data that is stored inside their firewall, so why should we expect it will be any different in the cloud? I actually think that living in a cloud-based world might actually force some good security hygiene back into the enterprise. Trust no one, and always verify that your controls are in place and working as expected.
How has the unprecedented growth of social media changed the way you manage your customers?
NC: As a software vendor, it has certainly added a new dimension to our communication strategy. It is now a legitimate sales, marketing, and support channel that needs to be monitored and managed on an on-going basis.
“Customer Experience” has become a buzzword and 2013 may well become characterized as the Year of Customer Experience. What is your business doing to improve your customers’ experiences?
NC: Managing and improving the “customer experience” is one of the major problems that we help other companies solve. For us, it’s all about the data – customer data. We help companies unify, protect and leverage their customer data across all facets of the business. For instance, one of the key measures of the experience is how well you know your customer and their preferences, both of which require actionable insights (data) about the customer.
Keeping in mind that BYOD is now pervasive and no longer a phenomenon, will BYOD heavily influence your business in 2013 (whether from a security, policy or device or app management perspective) or have we moved beyond BYOD?
NC: BYOD and the challenges that it brings will continue to be a driver for our customers in 2013. More importantly, we see BYOI – whereby individuals leverage their own personal identifiers/credentials (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc.) to access company resources – also increasing in importance this year.
Should enterprises look to pre-empt Bring Your Own Storage (BYOS) issues by moving to carefully controlled cloud storage in 2013?
NC: That’s certainly an option, but I don’t believe that it will completely eradicate the use of personal cloud storage services. It might make sense to follow a dual-based approach whereby companies allow employees to leverage personal storage services for a class of enterprise information, but then provide a company-sponsored service for sensitive information. Without the use of end-point and network monitoring solutions that can inspect the content as it’s being used and accessed, this is really difficult to control.
Will 2013 be the year the laptop dies? Why or why not?
NC: No. For any “real” work, you still need the computing power offered by laptops. I could see a world evolving where tablets and powerful phones are plugged into terminals to provide the improved usability offered by larger form factors, but we are still some years off for this.
What is the most disruptive technology that will hit mainstream markets this year and why?
NC: It will be either the Apple TV or the next iPhone. Apple still has a few hard punches left in them, and, with the success that Samsung and others have had in the market over the past 12 months, it is time for the heavyweight from Cupertino to come out punching.
What is the one misconception you would like to see set straight in the technology markets?
NC: That building a system that reduces, or nearly eliminates, the need for passwords is too difficult to achieve. The day is coming when passwords will fade into obscurity, and I want more people to believe this is possible.
Edited by Jamie Epstein