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You've seen them at the local coffee shop - the laptop brigade. Those "campers" who set up shop at long tables or comfy chairs with their laptops and smart phones and stay for hours. Perhaps you're one of them.
These campers can be irritating to some coffee shop owners, and some even ask patrons to leave (politely) when their latte is two hours old. But others are embracing the teleworker.
In Washington, DC, one café is offering a members-only club that rents half of its seats on weekdays to workers who want to make the café their second office. For $150 a month, members have access to special seating, a small conference room, printers and shredders, unlimited high-speed WiFi and a monthly account with the café.
While this is happy news for many workers, it should send up a big red warning flag for their employers. Sure, a mobile workforce is a more productive and satisfied one, but the ability to work from anywhere comes with a slew of security risks for the enterprise. Consider the facts:
Some 81% of Americans use personal mobile devices for work.
Half of U.S. smart phone users connect to unsecured wireless networks.
Some 40% of people don't password protect their smart phones, and 35% of people store work email passwords on their phones.
And don't even get businesses started on the risk of working from an unknown network and across the cloud. As more companies move their critical applications and data outside the firewall - including all of the internal documents and spreadsheets being built in Office 365 - securing access to these apps has become the biggest concern for many businesses.
Like it or not, this is happening people. Companies have to provide mobile workers with secure, auditable and compliant access to data. Single sign-on and federated sign-on are two of the best ways to protect employees, devices and company data.
SSO across web and native applications improves security for the enterprise, as well as significantly improves productivity and the overall work experience for employees. Mobile SSO enables users to sign on once to a secure SSO application on their mobile device and have instant access to all of their enterprise applications.
Single sign-on helps companies decrease risk by reducing employee passwords, centralizing control over access to all applications with a single dashboard, easily manage user access and provisioning/de-provisioning, and leverage any user identity directory.
With single sign-on, employees minimize the number of explicit credentials or passwords needed to access applications. On typical mobile devices, credentials are usually stored on the device itself. So when a device is stolen, the credentials stored on it are stolen. With 27% of adults experiencing a lost or stolen device, it's crucial to keep corporate credentials elsewhere. With SSO and mobile-based authentication, sign-on credentials are not stored on the device, and authentication and authorization is done via standardized mechanisms.
Employees, customers and partners need simple and secure access to applications. A growing number have moved to the cloud, and even more have native mobile applications for tablets and smartphones that access APIs for data.
Federated sign-on can help a company establish secure one-click access between identity and service providers, avoid duplicating user directories and eliminate password sprawl. Federated identity management can also help companies manage all identities and enforce policies from any directory, protect web applications and APIs with identity standards, and provide higher levels of security with multi-factor authentication.
If your company uses or plans to use Microsoft Office 365, then federated sign-on will be extremely important to help streamline and fortify user sign-on from mobile devices and remote locations.
You don't have to stick with Microsoft's FSA to accomplish this, and you might not want to if you have a very diverse IT shop. Federated authentication into Azure and Office 365 is accomplished using the same industry standards supported by hundreds of Identity Providers and Service Providers. Ping fully supports the WS-Federation and WS-Trust standards preferred by Microsoft. More recently, MS has embraced SAML 2.0 as another federation option for Office 365 to align themselves with industry best practices. (BTW, Ping is the industry leader in SAML 2.0 federation.)
If you're still not sure, Microsoft sponsors the "Works with Office 365 Program" to ensure compatibility. Ping has qualified as Office 365 compatible in all defined scenarios with no exceptions, including advanced SSO scenarios like Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) and thick client SSO via WS-Trust.
So sit back, order another latte, and know that your data can be secured on employees' mobile devices, no matter where they work.