Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Mobile IoT, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Microservices Expo: Article

Mobilizing Business Data: The Holy Grail of Enterprise Mobility

Enabling mobile-first security & data distribution models that efficiently integrate line-of-business systems & mobile consumers

The last few years have seen an explosion in the demand for enterprise mobile solutions. This movement has been clearly reflected in the rapid evolution of the enterprise mobile platform ecosystems. From mobile device management (MDM) to enterprise mobile middleware technologies, the industry has produced a large number of technology platforms aiming to address the different needs of the mobile enterprise. Despite of the rapid growth of the enterprise mobile space, the industry remains without good solutions for addressing what, arguably, can be seen as the most important challenge of the current generation of enterprise mobile solutions: mobilizing business data.

The reasoning behind my argument is very simple. The current generation of enterprise mobile apps is, by and large, focused on creating mobile representations of existing enterprise business processes. The majority of these business processes are tied to on-premise or SaaS line of business systems. While mobilizing some of those business processes can be seen as trivial, the introduction of mobile consumers introduces a number of risks from an enterprise perspective on such diverse areas as data privacy, performance or security.

We Are Great at Sharing Files but Are Bad at Sharing Data
Email, calendar and file sharing have been the focus of the first generation of enterprise mobile solutions. From Citrix's ShareFile Box to the recent Microsoft SkyDrive Pro, the industry has seen a plethora of solutions that enable secure document sharing on mobile devices.

Despite the importance of file sharing, it is important to realize that it's only a small element of enterprise mobile data. A large percentage of enterprise mobile apps are required to access business data from on-premise or SaaS-based systems using mechanisms that can be abstracted via files or documents. Sadly, as an industry, the enterprise mobile technology ecosystem hasn't produced the equivalent of enterprise file sharing technologies but for business data.

MDM Is Not a Solution
Mobile device management (MDM) has become a common element of enterprise mobile infrastructures. As an attempt to differentiate in an overly crowded market, MDM vendors often claim to provide the infrastructure for securely mobilizing business data. While that statement might be true in some very specific scenarios, it is far from being a generalization. MDM platforms can certainly secure business data in some very constrained scenarios but they typically don't provide the infrastructure for mobile developers to interact with data living on corporate systems. This type of solutions require a more specialized infrastructure that is outside the domain of MDM platforms.

Mobile Business Data Needs New Security and Privacy Models
Enabling access to mobile business data from mobile devices introduces new security threats to organizations in areas that fall outside the domain of traditional enterprise security packages. While most security threats in the traditional enterprises fall under the spectrum of antivirus or secure networking platforms, these technologies are just starting to understand the DNA of security vulnerabilities in mobile applications.

These security risks get exponentially more complex when we factor in access to corporate data from mobile applications. In order to address these challenges, organizations should embrace mobile-first security techniques such as multi-factor authentication, mobile data encryption or contextual threat analysis that are designed with mobile applications as a first class citizen.

Accessing Mobile Business Data in Real Time
Enterprise mobile applications often require real-time access to data stored in corporate systems whether they are hosted on-premise or in SaaS systems. This requirement often translates into serious challenges for line-of-business systems that are not optimized for mobile consumers requesting information on real-time basics.

To enable real-time access to business data from mobile applications, enterprises should provide mobile-optimized interfaces to broker the communication between mobile apps and corporate systems. By mobile optimized, we refer to capabilities such as support for multi-factor authentication, friendly to concurrency, contextually aware, message throttling, support for offline communication models among other essential elements of enterprise mobile solutions.

Storing Transient Business Data in Device
In addition to accessing information in real time from business systems, enterprise mobile apps often are required to manipulate the data directly from the mobile apps or operate completely offline. Consuming business data in this fashion poses well-known challenges to enterprises in areas such as data privacy and security.

In order to enable "data in device" scenarios, enterprise mobile solutions should provide the mechanisms to secure the target business data in a form that can only be consumed in the context of a specific user session within a specific application. In addition, this type of pattern is typically recommended to rapidly changing not overly sensitive data that can become irrelevant after a certain period of time.

Distributing Mobile Business Events
Business data is not only access from mobile applications to on-demand basics. In some scenarios, enterprise mobile apps need to receive business data in the form of notifications or events triggered by line-of-business systems. While push notifications is a typical event-based pattern for distributing information to heterogeneous mobile applications, enterprise mobile solutions often require additional mechanisms that address some of the security and information consumptions patterns in the enterprise.

To address those scenarios, organizations need to establish the infrastructure for mobile applications to securely subscribe to events that can be published from line-of-business systems. These types of patterns will ease the burden of optimizing traditional corporate systems to support direct access from a large number of mobile consumers.

Caching Mobile Business Data
Despite the requirements for accessing business data in real time from connected devices, it's important to realize that the majority of traditional enterprise systems are not equipped to support the performance requirements of mobile consumers. To address this limitation, enterprise mobile infrastructures often rely on more modern data storage mechanisms to temporarily cache business data so that it can be available to enterprise mobile applications.

Even though the business data caching can introduce additional back-end infrastructure, it minimizes the impact on traditional corporate systems from both the development and operational standpoint

Business Data is Not Mobile: We Need Context
Mobile applications are a richer and also fundamentally different consumer of business data than traditional line-of-business applications. In addition to the aforementioned requirements about data privacy or performance, mobile business data takes a different connotation when based on the location, frequency of access, wireless network, etc.

Extending traditional business data living in corporate systems with contextual elements will not only maximize the efficiency and richness of enterprise mobile applications that need to consume those business data sets, but will automatically mitigate some of the security and privacy risks mentioned in previous sections. While the effort of contextualizing business data might seem daunting at first glance, it can be a great enabler for brand new mobile-first business capabilities

Summary
Enabling robust mechanisms for consuming business data is one of the most complex aspects of mobile solutions in the enterprise. While solutions like MDM have provided effective capabilities for securely managing devices and files, business data access remains a very challenging scenario for most enterprise mobile solutions. To address that challenge, organizations need to enable mobile-first security and data distribution models that efficiently integrate line of business systems and mobile consumers

More Stories By Jesus Rodriguez

Jesus Rodriguez is a co-founder and CEO of KidoZen, an enterprise mobile-first platform as a service redefining the future of enterprise mobile solutions. He is also the co-founder to Tellago, an award-winning professional services firm focused on big enterprise software trends. Under his leadership, KidoZen and Tellago have been recognized as an innovator in the areas of enterprise software and solutions achieving important awards like the Inc 500, Stevie Awards’ American and International Business Awards.

A software scientist by background, Jesus is an internationally recognized speaker and author with contributions that include hundreds of articles and sessions at industry conferences. He serves as an advisor to several software companies such as Microsoft and Oracle, sits at the board of different technology companies. Jesus is a prolific blogger on all subjects related to software technology and entrepreneurship. You can gain valuable insight on business and software technology through his blogs at http://jrodthoughts.com and http://weblogs.asp.net/gsusx .

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT depl...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...