Over the last week, I've been discussing the items you should consider before jumping head-first into mobile business intelligence. You can find Part I here and Part II here. Today I'll evaluate the final 2 items that might be the most important yet – architecture and security.
7. Mobile architecture plan
This discussion is a bit technical, but it's important to understand the basics. If you're approaching mobile BI from the business side, you'll be able to intelligently discuss this topic with IT. I recommend a VPN (virtual private network) architecture to our mobile BI customers. It's the easiest to set up and it supports the growing BYOD (bring your own device) movement. Most devices already include VPN capability without the need to install software to make it work. VPN solutions involve sanctioned and managed connections to the corporate network. All traffic over the VPN is encrypted, so even if your users are on a notoriously insecure network like airport wifi, the corporate data they're looking at on their mobile devices is secure.
Here is a typical mobile BI VPN client configuration:
From a reliability and performance perspective, these deployments are identical to traditional desktop/laptop clients connecting to the company network. They would require users to login to the VPN, but that extra step is worth it to protect access to corporate data.
8. Security plan
The mobile BI security plan is the component that brings it all together. You may need to assist your information security department in developing a comprehensive plan prior to implementation that addresses data and device security. Some of the items that must be addressed in this detailed security plan include how devices will be secured, how data transmission will be secured (HTTPS), and how users will be authorized and authenticated. Much of this security preparation will need to be handled internally by IT, but the fortunate thing is that many mobile BI solutions (including arcplan Mobile) utilize the same security infrastructure and permissions as your BI platform. Additional security measures could include forcing users to login to the mobile BI app or enabling remote content wipes on lost devices, but the bottom line is that these things must be considered before you deploy. One of the keys to deploying mobile devices securely throughout your organization is striking a balance between the right level of security and the freedom your mobile users want.
One of my previous articles covers mobile device security in more detail.
Ultimately, deploying mobile business intelligence is just like any other project where preparation is key. A proper strategy that considers these 8 elements is the first step toward long-term success.
I wish you well in your mobile BI endeavors. If you have questions about any of the items I've written about, just leave me a comment!