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Mobile security goes beyond the wall

When you settle in for your weekly dose of Westerosi intrigue on HBO’s Game of Thrones, mobile security is probably far from your mind. But if you really think about the recent events at The Wall, there are some valuable comparisons with the way IT must now approach enterprise security in the mobile era.

The similarities start with The Wall itself, the realm’s first defense against northern threats. IT’s initial attempt at mobile security, mobile device management (MDM), was a similar perimeter-based approach. MDM lets IT lock down employee-owned mobile devices to protect corporate data, but as more devices have entered organizations, it’s become too difficult for IT to control mobility on a device-by-device basis.

“You can’t forever be chasing and patching every single device,” said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer at user authentication software provider ThreatMetrix, in this month’s issue of Modern Mobility. “You can’t forever hope to roll out an MDM solution that’s going to fully satisfy all your use cases.”

With an army of the dead fast approaching The Wall and a depleted force under his command, Jon Snow realizes that simple border protection is not enough. IT faces the same problem: Users aren’t confined to their desktops anymore, allowing them to access corporate data outside the protective walls of the company network.

Jon Snow’s only move is to turn to the wildlings for help. Mobile application management (MAM) and mobile content management (MCM) are the IT equivalent of this team-up. These technologies give IT control of the apps and data on mobile devices instead of the devices themselves.

We know it’s going to take more than a rag tag group of Night’s Watch brothers and wildling survivors to thwart the White Walkers. (Dragons, perhaps?) Likewise, security pros need even more heavy-hitting tools, such as identity access management, which can deliver stronger protection by helping IT identify any abnormal behavior on its network.

If this spot-on analogy didn’t answer all your mobile security questions, check out the latest Modern Mobility cover story, in which news writer Jake O’Donnell explores how mobility has changed overall IT security strategy.