By Briony Smith
Oracle and Nokia's plan to offer access applications like Oracle Mobile
Field Service and Siebel Wireless on E61 and E62 mobile devices is
receiving mixed reviews from potential users.
The two companies announced the genereal availability and certification
for the joint solutions at Oracle's OpenWorld conference in San
Francisco last month.
Ottawa Oracle User Group vendor coordinator Glenn Cripps, who works for
Health Canada (which doesnt allow their employees to use handheld
devices for business purposes), said security will be a big issue.
Someone could squeeze through the wireless connection -- theres such a
potential for data to be sniffed out and for someone to force their way
The question on most Oracle users minds seems to be, When it comes to
the crucial and sometimes sensitive information contained within Oracle
applications (with everything from customer information to shipping
records), how safe is it for sales professionals, field service
personnel, and distribution staff to take or access that information out
of the office?
Info-Tech Research Group senior research analyst Carmi Levy said the
vector for attack is ever-increasing. Mobility is such an issue now.
Before, it was tangible -- servers and PCs existed behind security and
locked doors: they were separate from the big bad world, he said. As we
become more mobile, with BlackBerrys, smart phones, and PDAs, that kind
of security is no longer there. I mean, what if you lose your BlackBerry
in the back set of a cab, and it gets into the wrong hands?
Levy suggested that access-based protections (like dual-function
authentication) are imperative, and end-to-end encryption is necessary.
These technical failsafes should form the foundation for rigorous
employee training from the IT department, said Levy, who feels Nokia and
Oracles technology is up to par. The employees need to become experts in
mobile security, he says.
You cant just say, Go buy Nokias and well connect you, said m-trilogix
director Craig Read (who is also the president of both the Toronto
Wireless User Group and Toronto Oracle Users Group). Read stressed the
importance of making sure you need mobile devices in the first place.
You need (a company employee that can be) responsible for the project
and make a business case for this, and who can ask, What do you need to
do your job properly? he said.
IDCs Sean Ryan, a mobile enterprise devices research analyst, said that
companies need to consider (the devices) interface, functionality, and
Read added that sussing out screen size, processing power, and software
and training requirements is key. Once all this has been nailed down,
Read added, accessing Oracle on a handheld could get rid of the paper
and automate all the paper processes.
Mark Perry, a program coordinator at Southern Albertas Institute of
Technology and the president of the Calgary Oracle Users Group,
suggested installing a feature where five wrong password tries result in
the lockdown of the device and the erasing of all its data. That could
pave the way for greater use of the technology, he said.
Theres definitely a huge benefit. If youre a sales guy and you need to
get real-time info to the client, you eliminate the
While Ryan said that the percentage of people who use mobile devices for
business is extremely low and Read estimated it at six to 10 per cent of
mobile-using professionals, both feel that handhelds are picking up
momentum in the marketplace and that companies who have mobile
applications have the advantage.
You gotta be mobile, regardless. While it may pose great [security]
risks, its a greater risk to fall behind," Levy said.
Subscribe to InfoSec News