Using mobile devices for work raises security questions, especially if we’re talking about a personal smartphone. Here we take a tour of the products providing solutions to this issue that were on offer at the MobileFocus Global event at the Mobile World Congress running from 27 February to 1 March in Barcelona.

On the Cusp of Private and Professional Use, Mobile Devices Need Greater Security

Using personal devices at work has become a well-established trend. However, this practice raises security issues for companies. That is what encouraged NQmobile, showing its wares at the MobileFocus Global evening at the Mobile World Congress, to develop an Android application which can scan a smartphone, list malicious software, delete it, or find out what sources the application has been receiving data from. As David Fu, Product Director at NQmobile, points out: "We use a smartphone in the same way we use a computer, so we ought to be worrying about malware in the same way too." Another function the app provides: if the telephone is lost or stolen, the app, which can be controlled from a website, allows you to find out where your phone is, delete data and then block the device. At the moment the app is designed for private individuals not for companies, but companies should be able to draw some good ideas from the tool.

Dividing up the available space

Perhaps taking the ‘cohabitation’ of personal and work tasks under one ‘roof’ in a rather literal sense, Divide is an application which can split a smartphone into two distinct workspaces, which are closed off from each other for the purpose of separate private and professional use. The professional space is protected by a code and accessible by clicking a button. This means you can "work from your mobile, including on company tasks, without your private space having access to information from company applications,” explains Dan Dearing, Divide’s Vice President for Marketing. At the same time, the company can control the professional space while allowing a user’s personal data to remain confidential. Another advantage from a budgetary point of view is that the smartphone can serve as a work tool without the company having to buy its employees separate mobiles for work. It’s the employee who will have to invest money, though of course s/he will have the advantage of being able to buy the device of his/her choice. This in turn means that companies will have to design professional applications to run on all types of smartphone.

Signing contracts in full security while ‘on the go’

One problem with mobility is that you rarely have a printer with you. This could cause a few problems when contracts are stored in a smartphone or sent by Internet to a mobile. With this in mind, DocuSign offers direct signature on a mobile device. How it works is that the user registers his/her signature on the application using a tablet or telephone. When s/he receives a contract in secure PDF format, all s/he has to do is to click on it to add his/her signature. "This encrypted system means the user can save a lot of time,” argues Eric Bohren,  Director in charge of strategy. DocuSign also offers extra paid-for services: a code sent by SMS to access the contract that has been sent, and voice registration of a phrase such as “I accept the terms of the contract”. And of course DocuSign enables you to store your signed contracts in the cloud.