BYOD Security: Containerization

Now that you have a primer on the benefits and development of a BYOD policy, let us look at one of the simplest ways to implement them across iOS and Android devices, BYOD apps. These apps are typically referred to as “containers”, as one single app holds several smaller apps.

The common benefit of these type systems is corporate data is placed in an encrypted location and requires additional security measures to be accessed. Most of these BYOD containers include separate calendar, contact list, and email apps configurable solely for corporate use and which cannot be accessed outside of the container app. They also tend to offer some sort of MDM integration or remote administration for additional control and data protection on the IT side. There are corporate BYOD container packages available at great cost, both for licensing and implementation. Here are three low-cost or free options that I was able to test, with brief descriptions of what they contain.

DIVIDE

Platforms: Android, iOS
Applications: Browser, Calendar, Contacts, Email
Features: Web-based administration panel allows for GPS tracking; syncing; and locking/resetting/wiping. Administrators can also see what software versions devices are using, if there are policy violations, if the user has jailbroken or modified the device, and what data connections are being maintained.
Price: Free for personal use, enterprise plans are $60/user/year.

AIR WATCH

Platforms: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone
Applications: Browsing, Calendar, Contacts, Email
Features: Mobile users can also be configured to access company intranet. An Air Watch SDK is available for the development of corporate-specific containerized apps. Web-based administration allows for continual monitoring of user behavior and data usage. Remote administration for security and maintenance is also available from the web administration panel.
Price: $3.25/user/month, or $50/user/year with a $10 administration fee.

IKONIC MAIL+ FOR ACTIVESYNC

Platforms: iOS
Applications: Calendar, Contacts, Email, Tasks
Features: The most basic, targeted BYOD app of the three, this is an email app first. Features include remote administration with control of ActiveSync policies, copy/past prevention, and granular attachment control.
Price: $19.99/user, purchased through the App Store

While each of these functions in a slightly different manner, they all offer basic BYOD tools either for free or for a reasonable per user/year price. If your organization desires more control than these rudimentary offerings, there are countless other enterprise solutions available, but these higher functions bring with them higher costs. From my own testing, I found that Air Watch had the smoothest mobile operations on my iPhone 4S, while Divide had the better web interface for remote administration.

As your organization lays out its future mobile plans, parsing all the available options and solutions, and identifying best fits and best values may quickly become an overwhelming task. In instances like these, it is always a good idea to reach out to an independent advisory – one not affiliated with a carrier or specific software package – for decision support. Source One has been in the decision support business for more than two decades. If you are so inclined, please feel free to reach out!

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