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Cloud Computing Bootcamp: Article

Why the Smart CIO Trusts in Mobile

Mobile applications are now developed as bespoke/custom pieces of software dedicated to the task in hand

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

Mobile is almost old news now isn't it? What more can we say about how important mobile technology is in the workplace? The visionary CIO trusts in a mobile device future with employees securely connecting to the corporate datacenter from an array of tightly locked-down devices - stop me if you've heard this one before.

Workers are "empowered" via mobile smartphones, tablets and laptops to work anywhere securely with appropriate controls and policies in place across the corporate IT stack to ensure that security is never an issue.

Malevolent maliciousness
Security vendors and even device manufacturers constantly remind us that their products are "robust" and "enterprise ready" enough to repel even the most malevolent maliciousness in whatever forms it chooses to attack.

This may all be true, but there are other reasons why mobile is a good option and a lot of it is down to software application development, data management and the arrival of the cloud computing model of service-based IT delivery.

Mobile applications are now developed as bespoke/custom pieces of software dedicated to the task in hand. What this means is that users will access connected services inside a certain level of ring-fencing, i.e., not inside a web service provided by a general-purpose browser.

Think of it as the difference between downloading a dedicated LinkedIn or Facebook application (or even a TV Guide one if you wish) rather than visiting the site itself. This type of connectivity ensures that the user is (at the very least) not subject to vulnerabilities like "cross-site requests" or perhaps even "man-in-the-browser" attacks.

The prudent reader will still note that the dedicated mobile application could still be subject to attack, but this level of specifically commissioned mobile application will at least provide one extra (arguably quite thick) layer of defense.

Welcome to partitioning
There are other reasons too why the smart CIO trusts in mobile. Tim 'TK' Keanini, CTO at Lancope, reminds us that in the world of mobile, each application is partitioned in such a way that it has only what it needs and nothing more.

This technique is known as sandboxing and it clearly manages and dictates what services and information an application will be able to access and requires the user's permission on these options before installation.

Keanini argues as follows, "Windows 8 has begun to bring this technique to the PC world, and I think in a few years the thought of an application just having free reign to anything it needs will be crazy talk. Remember, malware is just another application and, if given its own sandbox, its capabilities are greatly limited. This does not excite the cyber criminals, so they just go play somewhere else."

We know that major vendors like HP are now pushing hard to plant the influence of on-premise Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) solution to Software-as-a-Service based solutions that ultimately produce mobile-based cloud-driven resources - and this is where (arguably) some of the CIOs mobile focus now rests, i.e., in higher level management suites that have been engineered for cloud mobile futures.

Taking stock of these new (and not so new) application realities, the road ahead for mobile is positive, managed and cloud-centric. But it is also complex, multi-discipline (in terms of programming structures), multi data type (and this will cause future integration challenges), plus of course it is multi-platform. Okay so it's not going to be that easy after all, but the future may be better connected.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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