Okta Touts Importance of Effective Mobile Security Solution for Companies

NEW YORK — “Mobility is critical” to all parts of our lives today and it’s become important to the success of companies as well, but using an effective mobile management solution that balances security and user productivity is crucial, according to Mike Paiko, Okta director of product marketing-mobility.

Citing the findings of a recent Google research report, he told the Okta Forum in New York City May 4 that 68% of us check our phones within 15 minutes of waking up each day. “For millennials, it’s even worse,” he said, noting the same report found that 87% of people in that demographic “cannot see themselves going the whole day” without their phones being accessible all day and night. Also, he said, “we check our phones 150 times a day,” spending an average of 70 seconds for each mobile session, usually to complete some sort of work task. A whopping 90% of smartphone users, meanwhile, use those devices to work towards goals while they’re out and about during the course of the day, he said.

Mobile, therefore, is changing the way that employees work, he said, adding it might, therefore, make sense for companies to “take advantage of all this untapped productivity throughout the day.”

Citing the findings of a Gartner report, he said more than 50% of the customer-facing and employee-facing investments that companies are making are mobile-focused. That’s because there’s been more than a 23% increase in worker productivity and 100% increase in employee satisfaction as a result of mobility, he said, adding: “It’s even higher when you look at the millennial workforce.”

But he said: “There’s a lot of negative consequences to mobile-enabling your workforce.” That’s because “when you start giving corporate data and apps access via mobile device there’s a lot of things that can happen that are not necessarily good,” he said.

okta For one thing, he said: “A lost or a stolen device can have corporate data that’s personally identifying cached on the device.” There can also be increased support costs as a result of companies enacting bring-your-own-device policies that require stepped-up support and security initiatives, he said, noting employees at a company may have five different versions of Android on devices made by five different manufacturers, along with iOS, Macintosh OS and Windows devices as well.

As a result, “you’ve created a lot of complexity” for a company, he said. This can also overwhelm a company’s IT staff because employees will increasingly need help configuring corporate email and other programs on new devices, he said.

There’s also the added problem of what happens when an employee leaves a company, he said, noting that a company’s data may still be on his or her personal device and it can be difficult to make sure that it’s removed.

IT departments have tried many ways to meet all these challenges, he said, noting companies “need a very strong balance between security and user productivity.” And “this is where Okta is squarely focused,” he said, noting that when his company started to “build a mobility service and take advantage of the fact that we control the identity, apps and the devices,” it studied why such initiatives hadn’t been successful in the past.

There’s been poor adoption of mobile management solutions for personal devices by employees in the past, he noted. That’s because the IT department has typically taken control of their entire personal devices as part of those solutions, leaving employees in fear of what those IT people would do with their photos and other personal information, he said. “As a result, the abandonment rate is off the charts” for such solutions, he told attendees. Okta, on the other hand, has “taken a very privacy-sensitive approach” with its mobile management solution, in which it’s clearly communicated what IT employees can and can’t do with the devices, he said.

There’s also been little incentive for employees to sign up for typical mobile management solutions, he said, noting that there usually isn’t any seamless access provided. Okta, however, takes advantage of seamless mobile single sign-on (SSO), providing users of the mobile devices with “one-touch access to all the apps” and the log-in credentials that are on their desktops, he said.

In addition, many mobile management solutions have forced employees to use proprietary email services and other mobile apps on their personal devices, he said. Okta, on the other hand, allows employees to use native mobile OS capabilities, he said.

Another problem has been the on-premises proxies and app gateways that companies often force employees to deal with on their personal devices on premises, which creates latency and other issues, he said. Okta, however, opted for a 100% cloud-based system without such drawbacks, he said. Another advantage of Okta’s solution is that it provides a single solution for identity, apps and devices, he said.

Also at the Forum, Rafael Kabesa, Okta senior product marketing manager-lifecycle management, said his company had been able to decrease the risk of a data breach by 75% among clients using its automated management solution.