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Jun 25, 2013

When Should You Use Containerization for Enterprise Mobile Apps?

Containerization kind of reminds us of Brussels sprouts -- it isn't all that appealing, but it still has an occasional use. In the case of Brussels sprouts, if it were the last thing on Earth to eat, it might be an option. But in the case of containerization for enterprise mobile apps, we'll explore what typically happens when containerization is applied to email. The main reason you may consider containerization as part of your mobile application management (MAM) strategy is when a hard lockdown on email is required. This scenario would most likely occur in a highly regulated industry.

A common scenario is two separate environments -- one set up on a personal device for business data and one for personal data. The mindset here is that IT can control how the data is shared or interacted with inside the separate business container. While these strategies are in place in the marketplace, we have heard from users that a common workaround for the containerized email is to forward their address to a Gmail address. Gmail allows a users to send email and from their work address through their Gmail account. This opens up a security hole when it comes to attachments with sensitive data. So, while the canned approach to protecting sensitive company data through enterprise apps can give a sense of security, the reality is that users hate containerization so much they are looking for workarounds to continue to use native applications for mail and scheduling. And while they may not recognize the security hole workarounds cause, it's happening and your company data is at risk. An option for containerization is actually an element of mobile application management.

As Craig Mathias writes in "How to Choose MAM Software" for StateTech Magazine, "containerizing" sensitive data is a kinder approach than MDM's famous device wiping. He writes, "Some MAM solutions allow sensitive data to be containerized or sandboxed. This prevents unauthorized copying and distribution and enables the selective destruction of enterprise data on compromised devices rather than the brute-force device wiping of most MDM solutions." While containerization has its place, we think Mathias is correct, it's part of a bigger, more productive mobile application management strategy.  


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