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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."

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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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