SAP Watch

Apr 28 2010   1:40AM GMT

Security gets clearer in the cloud when it comes to mobile

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

When it comes to deploying cloud-based applications, security is often cited as one of the chief concerns.

But there may be one area in which deploying SaaS applications actually brings peace of mind when it comes to security – deploying applications on mobile devices.

Allowing employees to use mobile devices for work presents the very likely scenario that they will lose them, and the subsequent data breaches that could occur.

But with SaaS, data isn’t stored on the device.

It’s one of the major reasons Optimal Solutions chose, and likes, Mowego time and expense management applications from Vivido. Optimal runs SAP FI, but wanted a mobile application that would help employees better track time and expenses. Vivido specializes in mobile applications for SAP shops.

“Handhelds can be left behind in taxi cabs and airplanes. Our nightmare scenario is that customers’ data somehow ends up on a device that is lost or stolen,” said Sam Sliman, president of Optimal, an SAP service provider. “There’s a balance there – having functionality on a device, and having a secure device. We felt like Vivido handled those issues very elegantly.”

Not storing data directly on the device is becoming increasingly important as end-users seek to have more mobile CRM-related functionality, and, consequently, more customer data, on their smartphones. End-users want SAP mobile applications that handle work beyond field services-related processes, seeking software that will help improve customer responsiveness and increase competitiveness.

And aside from the reputation and legal risk a customer data breaches exposes organizations to, almost every state now has data privacy laws in which the compliance burden is significant.

Take Massachusetts for example – which recently enacted the toughest data security law in the country. For a company headquartered in Massachusetts, the regulations apply to wherever its data is physically located – whether it’s sitting on a PC in Boston or outsourced to a data center in Palo Alto. The principle information holder is still subject to regulatory jurisdiction, according to MacDonnell Ulsch, CEO of ZeroPoint Risk Research LLC.

And guess what? Those new data privacy laws in Massachusetts are the first in the country to actually go so far as to suggest ways for people to achieve compliance – pushing people to deploy their mobile applications in the cloud model, according to 451 Group analyst Chris Hazelton.

If Massachusetts’ law becomes the gold standard for the rest of the country – SaaS could be poised to aid in the compliance challenges companies are bound to face.

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