Intranets are restricted web-enabled assets of a company that are only accessible to authorized users who navigate strict security precautions to gain access. We used to think of the intranet as being a private, secure, portion of the Internet reserved for a company and its employees. Intranets change constantly because organizations are continually experiencing change and their intranet has to responsively evolve and adapt to that change. We see that happening increasingly by sheer force of demand now.
We have mentioned before that disruption is happening in all types of industries because we as consumers are changing our lifestyles. We are becoming much less attached to desktop computers and wired communications, and prefer to work from mobile platforms when and where we choose. Mobile apps have enabled so much innovation and disruption in the way we get things done today! We love our technology and customizable apps, which impacts how we structure our work and leisure lifestyles.
Here’s an interesting fact: There are over 2 million apps at Google Play and Apple’s App Store! Apps that let you organize how you want to manage your work life and leisure time. Social networking and personalization are what we as mobile users have come to expect in our preferred apps. Mobile-enabled intranets continue to struggle with balancing security with productivity and are having to become more rugged to handle the challenge. This is causing a great deal of angst for enterprise IT security folks, because we now expect to be able to log into the company intranet with our smart phones and tablets to do our work. That opens up a whole new security problem that is disrupting the intranet status quo.
We users expect to be able to access our company’s virtual private network from anywhere and jump on the intranet while on the go everywhere. So, for IT managers, business connectivity has expanded from your company-issued-and-controlled desktop or laptop, to your personally owned mobile devices as well. That’s what keeps IT security professionals up at night.
This is a Case of Tech Disrupting the Tech Industry Itself
The way we want to work and play is forcing company and enterprise intranets to become more rugged to accommodate our evolving lifestyles. For example, over thirty-eight percent (38%) of American households are now wireless-only, and use their mobile phones as their primary internet device. Ninety percent (90%) of US employees used their personal mobile device for work purposes in 2013. On average, about forty percent (40%) of our internet time is spent on our mobile devices. Interested in more of these stats? Read more
The “things of the intranet” now include devices that are not strictly-issued-and-controlled by the IT department, and greatly broadens the potential exposure for misuse. A lost or stolen personal mobile device, or, even just the sim card, now becomes a threat to the entire company and, by extension, all the other devices that connect to it. This problem has huge implications for enterprise, and is one reason for the formation of initiatives such as the Society of Rugged Developers and OWASP. These organizations work to help define how IT professionals and even individual developers can ruggedize applications and systems to let those security professionals get some rest at night.
CabForward℠ is keenly aware of the potential for malicious attacks on software. We are major contributors to the Society of Rugged Developers, and work to define and recommend best practices for hardening software against attack and make it resilient enough to not only survive, but also to repair itself. These are some of the principle facets of rugged software, and is a major factor in protecting intranets that are going to have ever increasing exposure and escalating risk due to our preferences for a mobile lifestyle.
So, what are your thoughts? What steps can be, or, are being taken, to minimize risk while maximizing flexibility on your company’s intranet? How do you feel about personal mobile devices being used as things of your intranet?