Here at Synchronoss, we understand the value of enterprise mobility. Companies can improve workers’ productivity by letting them use mobile devices to access workplace apps and data even when they’re away from the office. But we’re also aware that this access needs to be secure, in order to protect the company’s network and data from misuse or theft.
At the center of our Secure Mobility Platform is a secure, encrypted on-device container that lets mobile workers safely access and use important tools, folders and files from their corporate network, on their smartphone or other devices.
Being able to use important apps and data, or create and edit documents and presentations, on their mobile should make workers more productive. However, companies risk undermining these productivity gains if their mobile access controls are prohibitive and difficult-to-use.
These controls are intended to protect the company’s network and prevent its data falling into the wrong hands. But on a mobile device, multiple requests for user credentials are inconvenient and time-consuming, especially if you’re in a hurry. If logging on to access your corporate network or use your mobile apps is time-consuming and frustrating, you simply won’t bother. The risk is that you’ll find a less secure, more unsafe way to do so instead.
At Synchronoss, we have the answer – contextual authentication.
Contextual authentication smooths out the log-in process and gives users fast and convenient access to their apps and data. It records and analyses different factors based on how you’re using your device currently versus how you’ve typically used it in the past – for example, where you’ve used it (location); when you’ve used it (time); or other devices you’ve used it with (like your tablet, laptop, or wearable).
If it doesn’t detect any discrepancy between how your device is currently being used versus how it’s been used previously, then all you need to do complete a simple authentication step (e.g., use fingerprint scanner on mobile device or PIN code). But if your current situation differs significantly from past activity, the system asks you to complete extra steps.
Contextual authentication can also combine location and time of day as a single feature. Your company can adjust your mobile device for a quick and easy, low-friction authentication – but only if you log on at a certain time and in a certain location.
Outside of these set times and location, the risk of you losing your device, or it being mis-used or stolen, might be higher – for example, if you’re out after work and your phone is stolen: you’re travelling home and leave your tablet on the train: or if you leave your laptop at home and a family member tries to use it. To mitigate against this extra risk, contextual authentication means you have to complete an extra authentication step.
But the value of contextual authentication doesn’t stop there. The Enterprise team here at Synchronoss advises our clients that they can also use this approach to analyze users’ behavior data, to accurately understand how its top-performing workers are using their mobile devices – what apps and tools they use: when they use them: how often: and for how long each time.