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New Pulse Secure CEO on what mobile security lacks

Mobile security has come a long way, but organizations still have to address many sizable gaps.

IT has many mobile security options, but the new CEO of Pulse Secure thinks we've barely scratched the surface to keep corporate data secure.

Sudhakar Ramakrishna was recently appointed CEO of Pulse Secure LLC, a mobile security vendor in San Jose, Calif. formed last year after Juniper Networks spun off Junos Pulse into its own company, which later purchased mobile application management vendor MobileSpaces. Prior to joining Pulse Secure, Ramakrishna was Citrix'ssenior vice president and general manager of its enterprise and service provider division.

Ramakrishna spoke with SearchConsumerization.com about his new role at Pulse Secure and what enterprises need to address for mobile security in today's IT environment.

What made you interested in joining a new company like Pulse Secure as CEO?

Sudhakar Ramakrishna: The traditional way of managing users, apps and data is being revolutionized, where the notion of an enterprise boundary is no longer clear. We're part of same enterprise, collaborating and communicating, but none of us may be physically within the location. The boundary is being defined and constantly changed and refined by us as users.

In that context, if you think about mobility and cloud as being drivers, security becomes an increasingly important element. I've always been a believer that security should be enabling access and not enforcing control. Equally, in doing and establishing security, if you make it a painful experience for the user, then productivity will go down and adoption will go down.

Sudhakar RamakrishnaSudhakar Ramakrishna

How do you address these seemingly conflicting needs to create opportunity? What attracted me to Pulse Secure is it's a company that is singularly focused on addressing this problem and I felt like I could have an opportunity to bolster this excellent, accomplished team.

When it comes to mobile security, what important aspects are being overlooked?

Ramakrishna: First, a lot of focus on mobility and security has been around device management. A lot of companies say, "I'm going to let the user use the device of their choice and I need to have some control over the device, the apps, and the data." So I would say that's all important and necessary.

In doing those things, what has not been paid attention to yet -- and this is just a matter of natural evolution -- is, "How do I support and scale a large number of these types of users within my enterprise?" The scaling problem has not been fully addressed.

Second, how can I have dynamic policy-setting and the ability to analyze challenges and issues very quickly? You are not at a desk where an IT person can just go and help you. You may be traveling, you may be at home, you may be anywhere. Using tools to automatically understand user experiences and issues and be able to resolve [them] is an area that I think needs to be addressed.

If you make [mobile] a painful experience for the user, then productivity will go down and adoption will go down.
Sudhakar RamakrishnaCEO, Pulse Secure

And third, while people have been looking at mobile security in isolation, they're not really looking at it in the context of the entire enterprise. So, how can you use the information on the device and information on the network of an enterprise to provide better security? That hasn't been broadly addressed. Mobile communications and productivity are here to stay, so therefore we have to address how we scale and how we address the challenges of those three dimensions.

What's the next step for enterprises on addressing bring your own device (BYOD)? It's pretty much a fact of life in most enterprises now.

Ramakrishna: BYOD is a given. You have to assume it's there and make it better. What you need to be securing is more the applications and the data, which is really the intellectual property of an enterprise. Even beyond that is making mobile communications and mobile devices vehicles to deliver the best possible experience and productivity. That's what's really relevant.

So what do you need to do for that? What are the security considerations associated with that? Those are the security challenges that we now need to address. If you think about a typical enterprise, things like email and notes are interesting, but most businesses have business applications. How do you deliver those applications in a mobile fashion? How do you mobilize the enterprise itself? Those are some of the challenges the need to be addressed going forward.

This interview was edited for length.

Jake O'Donnell is the news writer for SearchConsumerization.com and Search VirtualDesktop.com. He can be reached at jodonnell@techtarget.com. Follow him on Twitter @JakeODonnell_TT.


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What mobile security issues haven't been addressed by vendors or IT organizations yet?
Well said. The growth of the Internet and increase in adoption of devices has brought a new set of security challenges for enterprises. With BYOD, IoT, Mobile banking and m-commerce trending worldwide, the need of hour is to be aware and proactive towards mobile security.

Its a priority for us at Appknox (www.appknox.com). We offer peace of mind to brand owners and the developers who create and maintain apps by doing regular security audits of their work, and alerting them to new vulnerabilities as they arise.