Enterprise Mobility Management and the Maginot Line


Thought Leadership

Enterprise Mobility Management and the Maginot Line

Zix Staff

Over the weekend I was reading up on my history of the early 20th Century and the aftermath of the “victory” of World War One. I came across references to the Maginot Line of the 1930s and the comfort the French took in knowing that should there be a new German military build-up, they, the French, would always feel safe behind the impregnable defenses of the Maginot Line. Even today, 80 years later, military experts confirm that despite having the best arms and technology of the time, the German military would never have been able to breach the defenses of the Maginot Line, then a state-of-the-art defensive system.

While reading, I was reminded of modern Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) suites. They are state-of-the-art in providing a multitude of services and are becoming more versatile and powerful. They offer configuration management tools for mobility operating systems that run on smartphones and tablets, and enable access to corporate applications and content previously only available on desktops and laptop computers. Like the Maginot Line with all its personnel, EMM suites require a large amount of management support. In this case configuration support, mobile app deployment and updating, policy management, content management and troubleshooting. In fact, a fairly large staff must be dedicated to ensuring that the applications work seamlessly while still remaining secure against data loss. And on the face of things, security is being maintained.

However you probably remember that back in May and June of 1940, the German forces defeated France despite the impregnability of the Maginot Line, but do you remember how they did it? The German forces simply drove into Belgium and went around the north of the Maginot Line, avoiding it completely. Within six weeks, France fell and would remain occupied for four years until liberation after D-Day.

Now I hear you ask, what has the Maginot Line to do with Enterprise Mobility Management? I see great similarities. In frontal attack, the security protecting the data on a smartphone is impressive, plus – ultimately – remote device wiping can wipe all the data from a stolen device.

Except that all the bad guys need to do is to go around these defenses, thereby nullifying them. When a smartphone is stolen, it can be disconnected by switching the device into airplane mode or by placing it into a Faraday bag, thus preventing any remote wipe. Using jailbreak software for either $10 or free depending upon where you search on the web, everything on the smartphone is accessible and the EMM safeguards circumvented.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a solution that avoids this threat? The ZixOne solution does not save any data on the device. If your smartphone is jailbroken or rooted, there is no business information that can be read from the device. Airplane mode or a Faraday bag is not a threat, because there is no need to wipe the stolen device to erase information that is not saved on the device in the first place.

A recent study found that 86% of corporate mobility users only require access to email and calendar functions. I feel the same way: my phone and tablet are great for writing or replying to emails at any time of the day. For intense creative work, I prefer the large screen at my work desk.

With ZixOne, there is no Maginot Line to be managed by a team of administrators, nor does it require time consuming training courses in order to understand how to use it. You just download ZixOne from the app store, and intuitively use it like any other familiar email client. For me and for our ZixOne customers, it is the perfect mobility solution.