Review: Bitglass manages the mobility monster

The Bitglass platform is essentially an agentless and lightweight MDM platform without any of the over-burdensome complexity or draconian rules those mobile management tools normally require.

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It’s no secret that most businesses and organizations work better when they embrace mobility. The old formula of having droves of suited workers sitting at their desks from nine to five every day, typing away with desktop computers or even older technology simply doesn’t hold up in today’s always on, always connected world.

Modern workers must be connected with the tools and data they need to perform their jobs from anywhere, and at any time. And while we have the technology to enable that to happen, securing it has proved more challenging.

In the beginning, companies took a brute force approach to mobile security, purchasing thousands of devices for themselves, locking them down, and then distributing them out to their employees for work use only. That might have been a relatively safe plan, but it was also extremely expensive and required organizations to buy, maintain and constantly upgrade a fleet of relatively sparsely used mobile devices.

Today, almost everyone has a smartphone that can be used for work in a BYOD (bring your own device) type program. But that does not mean that users will surrender control of their personal hardware. No employee is going to allow their bosses to install monitoring software, agents and other draconian security methods. Just because someone is employed by a company does not mean that they can’t play Angry Birds, watch movies, enjoy social media or talk in private to whomever they choose in their off-hours on their own personal devices. Yet, what happens if those activities endanger company secrets, or pose a risk to an organization’s cybersecurity defenses?

The innovative Bitglass platform aims to tackle this conundrum by completely securing and controlling official work-related interactions between a mobile device and company resources, without infringing on, or in some cases even touching, a user’s smartphone or their personal applications. They do this by leaving the phone alone, and instead securing the connections and the data flowing to it, but only when a user is working with protected applications and data. The system works with any endpoint, including iOS, Android and Windows devices.

Bitglass is installed in the cloud, which technically makes it a cloud security program, or more specifically, it makes the company a cloud access security broker (CASB). How it works is that users on mobile devices first sign into a portal and then access all of their work data through Bitglass. The interface is seamless to users, with only the Bitglass name being inserted into the URL field at the top of the browser page to indicate that Bitglass is enforcing policies on those interactions. The program resides inside the secure Amazon cloud, or organizations with heightened security concerns such as financial institutions or government agencies can instead have the brains of the program installed on an internal, private cloud.

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