Guest Blog by Jay Kelly, Senior Product Marketing Manager

#MWC15 I believe that we can all agree that mobility is exploding, can’t we? According to an IDC report, the worldwide mobile workforce is expected to reach 1.3 billion people by the end of this calendar year (2015). That, according to the same report, represents a tad over 37 percent of the global workforce. And, according to a report from Intel, the number of mobile devices worldwide will top 50 billion – that’s billion, with a “b”! – by 2019. Staggering figures, aren’t they?

I suppose that it goes without saying, then, that one of the top concerns for enterprises and their IT (and security) departments is the security of mobile devices, apps, and data. In most of the articles and reports outlining the top security or cybersecurity threats facing enterprises in 2015, mobility and security, in some form, can be found in the top 5 threats. Everything from securing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives, to ever-increasing and more sophisticated mobile malware, to hackers exploiting mobile devices to steal data, credentials, and even accessing cloud- and SaaS-based apps from an exploited mobile device can be found on the list of top security threats of 2015.

It’s the same old song and dance: Mobility – mobile devices, mobile access, a mobile workforce, BYOD – is scary and can be dangerous. I bet we can all agree on that, too.

But, is it mobility itself that is a threat waiting to happen for an enterprise? Or, is it their mobile user that is the problem?

Well, according to a recent survey, one of the biggest problems identified are employees, believe it or not!

According to the “2015 State of the Endpoint Report: User-Centric Risk”, conducted and published by Ponemon Institute LLC (and sponsored by Lumension), the careless, apathetic, or disinterested employee with multiple mobile devices, who is working remotely while using commercial cloud apps is one of the greatest threats to enterprise security. The Ponemon study goes on to state that the greatest increase in potential security risk to the IT environment are mobile devices, such as smart phones (80 percent of respondents); 42 percent of respondents claim that mobile, remote employees pose the greatest risk to security. Listed among the top threats to security in an organization, after negligent or careless employees, was the increase in personal devices being connected to their network, or BYOD; employees using commercial cloud apps at work; the number of employees using multiple mobile devices – many of those device not being secure – while at work; more stealthy, hard to detect malware; and employees working remotely over insecure wireless connections.

Those issues certainly sound like a recipe for a disastrous hack and loss of data, don’t they?

So, how can an enterprise today ensure that their mobile employees who are disinterested, disengaged, and uncaring about security are able to connect to their network and applications – wherever they may reside – over just about any wireless connection, from virtually any mobile device simply and securely, while simultaneously ensuring the security of the device, too?

Why, by taking the entire security decision out of their hands, of course!

F5’s enterprise mobility gateway solution combines the core components of market-leading enterprise mobility management products, such as AirWatch by VMware, with the mobile access capabilities of F5’s Edge Client and the granular, secure, contextual identity and access management at the network level from F5 BIG-IP APM, to deliver fast, automatic security for the user’s device and connection, and secure, appropriate access to corporate application wherever they are located.

F5 can enable full device, L3 – L7 VPN; VPN access only to virtual applications via a virtual desktop interface, or VDI; or per-app VPN, all based on dynamic, context-aware access policies, centralized in a single policy server and engine, and created and managed using a GUI-based, drag-and-drop editor, F5’s Visual Policy Editor. By integrating BIG-IP APM with market-leading EMM solutions, like AirWatch by VMware, enterprises can benefit from policy-driven mobile device management and security, as well as the ability to enable integrated, seamless access from select, identified mobile and web-based apps, as well as specific URLs and web pages, to the organization’s resources without user intervention. The user doesn’t have to open or touch anything. Their VPN access in engaged as soon as they open a mobile or web app, or web page defined by their corporation as requiring per-app VPN access. Fast, secure, and automatic. No user muss, no user fuss.

And, with BIG-IP APM’s identity federation capabilities, user productivity can be enhanced, since users may be allowed to enter their secure credentials once, and maintain access to networked and cloud-based apps.

BIG-IP APM and leading EMM solutions such as AirWatch by VMware also integrate at the policy level, enabling contextual mobile device and access policies, defined by user, device, location, time, and more. So, if a user is attempting network access over a network known to be sketchy, they may be limited to access only applications on their virtual desktop. Or, if the EMM solution determines that the user’s mobile device does not meet security policy defined by the enterprise, their access may be limited. Or, if they are attempting to access sensitive networked or cloud-based applications from an unusual location, they can be asked for additional layers of authentication.

By integrating F5’s powerful, secure, multi-faceted BIG-IP APM with leading EMM vendor solutions, such as AirWatch by VMware, enterprises can ensure a fast, simple, enhanced mobile experience for their users, while ensuring that their users really don’t have to know – or even care – about security, because it is just secure and works.