Mobile CRM Grows -- Should Security Concerns, as Well?

Carl Weinschenk

IT staffs are up against it when it comes to mobile security. We've felt that way for a long time, but the thought hit home anew while reading this TMCNet Q&A with Yacov Wrocherinsky, the CEO of CRM vendor Infinity Info Systems. While the questioner focuses on CRM security, Wrocherinsky continually circles back to the benefits of the software itself.

Mobile applications are getting more complex and sophisticated while end users are getting no brighter, from a security point of view. Of course, this isn't meant to "diss" mobile field forces, globe-trotting executives or salespeople. It's just that these folks don't have any more security savvy now than when a cell phone call was the only thing that needed to be protected.

Mobilized CRM and similar applications are carrying more and more important data. Customers, Wrocherinsky says, "are accessing all sorts of data including sales figures, reports, customer contact information and accounts receivables while conducting business in the field." That's terrific. What he doesn't say is that there is an increasing number of ways for criminals to compromise that data and more people itching to do so. Indeed, the battle seems increasingly weighted toward the crooks.

Wrocherinsky, of course, focuses on the fact that mobile CRM improves business and makes the travelers' sojourn more productive. That's his job, and he works hard to create the impression that security is not an intractable issue. We'll see. The goal, he says, is to provide safeguards at all levels: Encrypt the data, protect the machine and provide network tools that can sever a connection if something seems amiss.

The job of security folks will get harder over time. That's certainly no revelation. The challenge appears to be growing as the two worlds evolve and diverge: On one hand, a large user population that is lazy about security and, on the other, a very aggressive group of crackers just looking for an inviting target.

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