Recruitment firm secures mobile email with containers

Case Study

Recruitment firm secures mobile email with containers

Warwick Ashford

Global recruitment firm SThree has boosted its productivity through mobilising email using secure containers.

It has also won increased staff satisfaction and realised cost savings of £1,000 a year for each employee by switching to a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.

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“Given the nature of the business, it is important to give our recruiters the tools to work where, when and how they want,” said Garry Lengthorn, director of IT services at SThree.

“Securing a top recruit or learning about an open position before the competition can literally be a matter of minutes,” he said.

But confidentiality of personal data is equally important, so security was a key requirement when they company set about making company email available to staff on personal mobile devices.

“Information is our currency, and if data is lost or stolen, we lose our competitive advantage as well as put our reputation at risk,” said Lengthorn.

Initially, the company supplied a restricted number of BlackBerry devices to recruiters, but that was a costly option and limited choice to a single device.

Moving to a BYOD policy meant every recruiter could access company email on a device of their choice and they would no longer have to carry separate devices for work and personal use.

It also meant mobile email was available to all employees, not just those who were previously eligible for company-owned BlackBerry devices.

SThree evaluated a number of mobile device management systems, but none provided the right combination of device choice and security, particularly for data at rest on the device.

“We were not looking to manage devices, but merely enable BlackBerry quality security for email on any smartphone device,” said Lengthorn.

The move was ultimately enabled by using secure containers on the personally owned devices to provide the required confidentiality of work information without imposing unwelcome restrictions.

 “This approach provides a good user experience while enabling the company to encrypt data and wipe data if a device is lost or stolen and when device owners leave the company,” said Lengthorn.

“The fact that we did not have to impose onerous security restrictions on users is largely why the project was such a success and why we scored almost 100% user satisfaction, which is unusual,” he said.

However, Lengthorn said that, although this approach is a good fit for a recruitment company, it may not work as well for companies in other industry sectors.

“All we are concerned about is securing and managing SThree’s data in the container and allowing employees to use their devices as they would normally in their personal lives,” he said.

After deciding to go down the secure container route, SThree looked at several options on the market before selecting the Good for Enterprise product from Good Technology.

“We chose Good Technology because it is a leader in this space and were evolving its product quicker than competitors,” said Lengthorn.

“It also met all our security requirements including FIPS certified encryption for the data and password protection for the application itself,” he said.

The Good server is also deployed behind the enterprise firewall, which means security cannot be compromised by having to open new ports.

By opting for the BYOD plan, employees agreed to provide their own devices, resulting in a company-wide saving of around £2m.

SThree was able to achieve further savings by automating provisioning processes.

Once the device of choice is acquired, all an employee has to do is visit the online support portal to generate an encryption key, download the Good app and activate it using the key.

“There are no manual processes involved and this works for us across more than 50 offices in 20 countries with very few cases requiring individual attention,” said Lengthorn.

Building on the success of the mobile email project, SThree is planning to use Good Technology’s secure connected container architecture for mobile apps such as the company’s business intelligence and sales systems as well as other forms of communication such as instant messaging.

SThree has also invested in the Good collaboration product to make employees’ fileshare and SharePoint documents available through the Good client in mid-2014.


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