BYOD by the numbers: BYOD can deliver productivity and satisfaction with cost savings

This infographic, based on a recent survey conducted by Intel and ReadWrite, seems to indicate that CIOs view BYOD in productivity and user satisfaction terms over cost savings; but it does not have to be this way …

BYOD infographic

… with Azurati’s Mobile Portal HTML5 mobile application container solution, you can deliver all-inclusive BYOD programs that deliver enterprise mobile applications at a fraction of the cost of traditional native mobile applications with Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions.

To find out more about delivering secure BYOD programs that also deliver significant cost savings, visit:  http://www.azurati.com/products/azurati-mobile-portal/

iOS 6.1 lock-screen bypass is seriously bad news – for native application developers

OK, so the news today that IOS devices can be hacked by following a now publicly available procedure to enable a user to bypass the iPhone and iPad password lock is seriously BAD news … particularly for companies who are looking to deploy IOS devices as part of an enterprise BYOD initiative to access corporate mobile applications.

It should be plainly obvious why letting an unscrupulous hacker into your ‘secure’ IOS device will be seen as a major security risk, particularly if your device includes applications that have auto-log on functions and can access sensitive corporate content or data.

Luckily, there is salvation for IOS users who want to have access to enterprise mobile applications

Azurati’s HTML5 Mobile Application Container solution, called the Azurati Mobile Portal, provides enterprise users with a secure virtual mobile desktop where approved corporate mobile applications can be accessed and launched, once authenticated, securely.

Azurati Mobile Portal for HTML5 mobile applications2

Users authenticate to the Mobile Portal container environment using any one of 15 supported authentication methods, including Active Directory Federated profiles (ADFS), 2-factor authentication, third party Identity Management solutions, as well as via third party providers, like Windows LiveID, Google or Yahoo profiles.  Once authenticated, users will be able to launch HTML5 web applications from the Mobile Portal container with single sign-on.

Azurati Mobile Portal Authentication

If you are an IOS user and you are concerned about Apple’s IOS screen-lock bypass issue and you would like to evaluate Azurati’s secure HTML5 Web Application Container, contact sales@azurati.com and we will be happy to arrange a demonstration and trial.

BYOD-ready mobile SharePoint with Azurati SharePoint2Go

Video demonstration of Azurati SharePoint2Go, a secure HTML5 cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution.

Contact Azurati via http://www.azurati.com for more information about how you can deploy mobile SharePoint as part of your enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy.

Mobile SharePoint to complement your BYOD or COPE mobile strategy

According to a recent poll by Azurati, access to mobile SharePoint is seen to be one of the most critical must-have mobile enterprise applications for organisations who are looking to deploy enterprise applications to mobile users as part of a BYOD or COPE (Corporately Owned, Personally Enabled) mobile strategy.

Social Collaboration, workflow approvals and BI dashboards also scored highly amongst those who responded.

Providing mobile SharePoint access to users securely on multiple mobile devices is a challenge if you are looking to exploit the native templates and functionality in SharePoint.  Here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider licencing a vendor-developed solution, like Azurati’s SharePoint2Go®:

Authentication
Enabling mobile users to authenticate across the corporate firewall to access internal applications, like SharePoint, is often the single biggest challenge that IT teams will face.  Azurati makes authentication and secure access easy, because we have done all of the hard work for you and provide 15 options for enterprise customers to set up secure authentication to their SharePoint environment in a simple Wizard interface.

Azurati also supports multiple methods of authentication, allowing options like federated profiles (so users can use their standard Active Directory credentials, or they can log on using external authentication providers, like their Window Live ID, Google or Yahoo accounts.  This option is often useful if you are thinking about providing mobile SharePoint access to external stakeholders or temporary staff).

Cross-platform and form factor support
Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution guarantees to support any smartphone or tablet on the market, including devices like Windows Surface RT tablets, Amazon Kindle Fire tablets and the upcoming Blackberry 10 range of devices, as well as standard mobile platforms like IOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone devices; making Azurati your ideal BYOD partner.

You can customise the standard mobile templates that ship with Microsoft SharePoint, but they require extensive specialist developers to create specific templates for target mobile platforms and form factors, which will need to be updated as new devices emerge on the market.

Branding and UI customisation
Microsoft’s latest guidelines are for SharePoint developers to not customise the SharePoint interface.  For those companies that have invested significant time and money in their corporate identity and brand and who wish to extend that identity to mobile SharePoint users, Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution will allow full branding and UI customisation to truly make your mobile SharePoint yours.

Support for mobile WebParts
It is rare these days to find a SharePoint implementation that does not include some elements of custom developed components, or WebParts.  WebParts often make SharePoint come to life as a corporate Intranet platform or ECM platform by providing views and access to functionality like Staff contact lists, company news and events, weather, advanced search, recently edited documents, BI/Management reports and dashboard, Sales pipeline data, etc.

You should ask a simple question:  if your users make use of custom developed WebParts in the desktop version of SharePoint, should all or some of those WebParts be made available to mobile users?

There is of course one major challenge here.  All mobile SharePoint solutions on the market (including the native mobile option from Microsoft), with the exception of Azurati, can only display standard SharePoint features (like documents, news, list data, calendars, tasks, etc) to mobile users.

Azurati allows custom developed WebParts to be transformed in to mobile WebParts, or V-Parts®, as Azurati calls them.  V-Parts can allow custom WebParts to be used interactively within the SharePoint2Go solution on any mobile device. V-Parts can also be developed to operate in dynamic offline mode, so you can continue working even if you do not have internet connectivity.

Special offer for SharePoint Conference 2012 delegates
If you are currently attending the SharePoint Conference 2012 in Las Vegas, you may qualify for a 30% discount on SharePoint2Go licenses if you purchase SharePoint2Go for your users before 31 December 2012.  All you have to do is send us a photo or scanned image of your conference pass (like the one shown below) to qualify:

If you are thinking about deploying mobile SharePoint, this is a great opportunity for you to do so at a great discount.

For more information about Azurati and SharePoint2Go, the secure cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution, please visit www.azurati.com and request a free 14 day trial.

BYOD Security: And Now For The Good News!

This article, written by Azurati’s Ronan Lavelle, was originally published in Business Computing World.

While there is a lot of research about the sudden growth of mobile business usage, much of it being driven by the explosion in ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD), a trend that while understandable from the user’s perspective, is giving IT departments the world over the shivers.

Protecting the organisation from security breaches – which are often caused inadvertently by the users – has long been a big challenge and it has suddenly taken on a whole new dimension with employees and contractors introducing their own tablets and smartphones into the workplace, in effect blurring the lines between personal and business computing devices.

So it is hardly surprising that IT directors and managers in many organisations – both large and small – are hesitating before taking the plunge into truly embracing the concept of the mobile enterprise.  However, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle, so like it or not, enterprises are going to have to face this problem head on and sooner rather than later.

Also, another way to look at the exponential growing of business mobile usage is whether it could actually be good news, helping to make better use of existing applications and services in which organisations have already invested, yet are not making maximum use of, because they are traditionally hard to access on mobile devices.

That all changes with the latest wave of mobile applications or services that have been adapted or developed to deal with the BYOD wave.  A good example of this is Microsoft SharePoint, which has until recently been cumbersome to access on mobile devices, yet has
represented a massive investment for organisations the world over.  New products have removed this barrier, making SharePoint simple and secure to access, thus helping CIOs and IT directors to recoup better return-on-investment and improve user engagement.

Of course, that does not negate the security challenge, so before enterprises can truly exploit BYOD to their own advantage, what needs to happen?  Mobile security is a hugely complex and oft-debated topic, and there is also the challenge of balancing accessibility and flexibility against strong security measures.  Make security too tough and employees will encounter usability problems.

So what does work?  At Azurati, during our own research and development process over the past few years, we’ve invested a lot of time and effort working out what constitutes mobile security best practice and have had that independently validated.  So, here are our top pieces of advice in what to look for in a secure BYOD app.

  1. Authentication-CIOs need to realise that an employee using a mobile device to access corporate systems is essentially an external user, as far as authenticating securely across the firewall is concerned.  Make sure that your mobile applications vendor is able to support (or recommend) the authentication regime that works best for your organisation, whether that is using federated profiles, token-based authentication, 2-factor or forms-based authentication, for example.
  2. Encryption– it is advisable to minimise the amount of content or data stored on the mobile device, but if it has to be so, ensure that it is properly encrypted.  256-bit SSL encryption should be the standard to aim for.
  3. Zero footprint– let’s face facts, people are always going to leave their devices lying around.  So, inisist on ‘zero footprint’: in other words, no corporate data or content is left on a smartphone or tablet.
  4. Single sign-on – something that vendors often struggle to achieve, but something that enterprises should be demanding.  For instance, if SharePoint users have single sign-on to multiple SharePoint sites, then they only need to remember one user-name and password to access their mobile SharePoint world.
  5. Don’t go native– some of the world’s leading analysts have begun to query the sense of native apps. If you choose mobile web apps, then they can still act like a native app to keep users happy, but they support ‘zero footprint’ (so no sensitive data is left on the device) and also make it a lot easier to manage user and administration rights (which is vital for efficient security strategies).
    Purchasing, deploying and ensuring that users have downloaded the latest software version are all challenges that CIOs will face with native apps in the enterprise.   Some mobile web applications are able to incorporate device features previously only available through native apps, like accessing the device’s GPS functions, camera, alerts and notifications and placing an application badge/icon on the device home screen.

If IT departments can get their workforce using applications like SharePoint better on mobile devices, then the mobile security headache could actually be a saving grace.  Of course, that depends on having extremely robust security measures, without limiting access or usability, but the technology and techniques are all there: it’s just a question of
researching the best fit for the organisation in question.

Ronan Lavelle is the CEO of Azurati, a software company specialising in secure cross-platform mobile applications for enterprise users.

Blackberry Balance: On balance – this is a great solution!

RIM has decided to fight its way back from the abyss through innovation and remembering where it came from.  The new Blackberry 10 smartphone device includes many smart innovations and enhancements, but perhaps the most important feature is one that RIM actually announced some time ago, but really comes in to its own on the Blackberry 10.

This is called Blackberry Balance – it allows the Blackberry device to be compartmentalised into work and play.  If you like, it is a BYOD or COPE (Corporately Owned, Privately Enabled) dream.  The corporate-side of the device allows enterprise mobile applications to operate in a secure environment, with MDM-style remote wipe functions; while the private-side of the device allows the user to add applications, images and content from their private lives and not have to live in fear that their employer will instantaneously remote-wipe their children’s birthday party photos.

While the mass media was busy writing RIM off, RIM has been busy reinventing itself with an almost complete re-write of the Blackberry operating system and now stands an excellent chance of regaining some of the traction and market share that it lost in the enterprise space with a smart new device that looks good and will almost certainly appeal to companies who are looking to allow personal use on mobile devices, but control corporate application and information access.

… and if you were wondering, yes Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution will provide secure access to mobile SharePoint on the Blackberry 10.

Has your enterprise mobility strategy matured beyond providing access to mobile email?

Let’s face it, most of us think about enterprise mobility or BYOD, or even COPE (Corporately Owned, Privately Enabled) as the new way to give an employee the right to use a smartphone or tablet to access corporate email and to use smartphones as … phones.

While email consumes a huge portion of our working lives, it is the ability to access core enterprise systems, that hold corporate content and data, that really make us productive.

Why then, is there so little debate about accessing enterprise applications on mobile devices as part of a corporate mobility or BYOD policy?  Some may argue because enterprise systems have not been designed to be used on a small tablet screen, or smaller smartphone screen; and they would be right.

Then there is the issue of authentication and security.  While many companies sanction the access of corporate email via the native mail clients on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows Phone, etc., there is quite rightly a reticence to be so cavalier about opening up access to core enterprise systems to users on mobile devices.

What applications are candidates for mobile conversion?
Beyond providing access to corporate email on mobile devices, there are a number of enterprise systems that could or should be considered as candidates for ‘mobilization’.  These may be applications that support field-based staff or staff who travel frequently and who need to remain connected to the business when they are not in the office, like CRM systems, Microsoft SharePoint, enterprise social collaboration tools or BI reporting dashboards.

Mobile optimization of enterprise applications
Some enterprise software vendors have already created mobile app versions of their solutions – SAP Sybase is one of the leading players in providing development platforms to do this.  However, there are many more business critical and line of business applications out there that should be made available to mobile users, but are not because they cannot be accessed or cannot be used on a mobile device.

Azurati recently launched a rapid application development platform, called Azurati ASAP® that is similar to SAP Sybase’s mobile development framework, but allows developers to rapidly create secure cross-platform mobile applications from existing enterprise applications.

Azurati also sells a cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution, developed on the Azurati ASAP platform, called SharePoint2Go®.

Sorting out the authentication and security issue
For many companies, enterprise mobility begins and ends with authentication.  It is relatively common for external access to corporate systems to be blocked and will remain so.  For others, there may not have been a compelling reason to open access to corporate systems via the internet; until now.

The explosion in mobile device use is driving the requirement to allow access to corporate systems from these devices.  It is important to note however, that a member of staff trying to access your systems on a tablet or smartphone is essentially the same thing as an external user, as far as security is concerned.

Make sure that the mobile application vendor or solution provider you choose to work with, is able to work with your preferred method of authentication and gaining secure access to your environment.

Supporting your enterprise mobility or BYOD strategy
Announcing a multi-device mobile strategy or free-for-all BYOD policy may be one thing, but if you don’t just mean to allow access to corporate email and voice calls, then you need to ensure that the mobile application solution(s) that you decide to work with are able to support your mobility strategy.

If you decide to standardise on iPads that may be fine; but if you have a more open mobile device policy it is important to check whether your mobile enterprise applications can be accessed as well on an iPad as on an Android smartphone, Windows Phone or Blackberry with a consistent user experience and parity in functionality.

About Azurati
Azurati is a leading enterprise mobile application software vendor, specialising in mobile enterprise applications that can be accessed securely on any smartphone or tablet.

Azurati’s two product offerings are:

  • SharePoint2Go: a secure cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution
  • Azurati ASAP: a rapid application development platform for transforming enterprise applications into secure cross-platform mobile applications

Visit www.azurati.com for more information