Protecting content in motion--The new content management imperative

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Once upon a time, content management was about protecting content inside the firewall. Your goal was to make the content easily available to the appropriate employees, but to secure it to make sure it didn't go in motion. Today, that has been turned upside down because most companies need their content in motion--and the goal has become to protect it on the move.

At my recent trip to Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, the idea of protecting content in motion was top of mind, and from some places you might not expect. Companies that have a mission to secure mobile phones are suddenly also worried about making sure content on those mobile devices is secure when it's on the move.

Companies like AirWatch, which I spoke to at MWC, offer a full range of mobile device security services including a mobile content management product they call "The Secure Content Locker." This can work as a stand-alone product or link to SharePoint or another content management repository, and provides a secure way to share content and protect it while in motion.

What's more, AirWatch provides a way to ensure users have the most up-to-date version of the document and limit access to only those users who are authorized to see or alter the document. One example they gave me was a major airline gave pilots iPads with all of the airplane documentation, as well as charts and maps. To ensure that pilots have the most up-to-date maps and charts, they can't open obsolete ones. This forces them to the download the most recent versions.

Soti is another mobile device management vendor involved in Mobile Content Management that helps to secure content on the move as part of its overall device management software suite.

These are just two examples that show that mobile content security is growing increasingly critical for many today and it's not just traditional ECM vendors who are thinking about it, nor is it just the content collaboration and cloud vendors who increasingly are taking security of content in motion more seriously.

In spite of Marissa Mayer's desire to put all her employees in a room to collaborate, that's not a realistic or desirable goal for most organizations and as workers--whether they're in sales, marketing, or are analysts or knowledge workers (or just about any employee these days)--move throughout the world, their work has to follow them.

Being able to grab your content on any device, anywhere, anytime is increasingly crucial. Companies need to be able to provide access to the enterprise repositories in a secure way and to ensure that people on the move are using content securely, and just as important, that they are using the most current versions.

As desktop computing begins to take a lesser background role in our computing lives, being able to access content across mobile devices is becoming the norm, and finding ways to secure and deliver that content is getting the attention of some players you might not normally think of as content management vendors.

This just means more blurring of the lines about what we consider content management. - Ron