IT managers have been struggling to determine the best way to incorporate employee owned devices into the business structure without compromising security. BYOD can be a massive issue since work data ends up on personal devices and personal data can end up on company-owned devices. The lines get blurred and company data may not be as safe as it should be. Luckily, virtualization is stepping into the mobile front with various mobile virtualization solutions. But at this point, Blackberry (and other mobile device) virtualization might not be ripe for the picking.
The most prevalent forms of mobile virtualization have a hypervisor, which allows different operating systems to run simultaneously on the same mobile phone. Using this technique, a user can have personal information on one OS and corporate on the other, effectively separating the two types of data.
Author and analyst at The Virtualization Practice LLC, Edward Haletky explains that users only want one phone but often have a personal and a business phone. The solution is to put all the information on one phone. Virtualization allows one part of the phone to be company controlled, while the other is personal. If a user loses his phone, management can delete the corporate data from the mobile device. Or they can leave personal data on the device if an employee leaves the company; the perfect solution, right?
Whether it is or not, availability is the problem. True virtualization using VMware is currently only available on Android devices and while different types of data can be partitioned on iPhones and iPads, the underlying OS is the same for both types of data.
Vendors like VMware, Citrix, and Apple are working on solutions, but right now, managing virtualization on various mobile device operating systems could be a nightmare, especially when users have different device preferences.
User experience is another issue because using a native device is much different than using a virtualized device. Company data that’s encrypted in a separate partition must then be decrypted, which can take upwards of ten seconds. That’s not a major issue, but it’s still much longer than most users are accustomed to.
At this point, it’s not likely that virtualization is the solution to all of the mobile concerns IT managers have, but the technology is still in its infancy. Once it matures, it will likely be a great solution to security issues that come with BYOD in the workplace, so hang in there, the technology is on its way.