Published on: September 10, 2012
Kathryn “Kitty” Weldon, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Mobility of Current Analysis talks with Parna Sarkar-Basu, vice president of marketing communications for Verivo Software.
Sarkar-Basu: You have been covering the enterprise mobility market for a while now. What are some of the trends that you are seeing today?
Weldon: Well, the enterprise mobility market has really, really changed a lot since I’ve been covering it for almost eight years. Eight years ago, there really wasn’t all that much going on in the market. BlackBerries were just starting to come into the organization, and the main application that people were using mobile devices for was really just email, and text messaging. And things have really, really changed since then. Now smart phones are everywhere and they are being used for a variety of mobile applications in the business, and not just to access existing data that companies have behind the perimeter, but really, enterprise mobility is transformational now. It’s changing the way companies even do business processes, and it’s making existing business processes much more productive.
What’s confusing in the market is that there are so many different types of devices that companies can choose, and that they are increasingly allowing employees to bring in their own devices. So we no longer have sort of a secure, locked up environment, where you have [company] owned BlackBerries only, and you are using a very secure BlackBerry Enterprise Server to control those devices. But Androids and iPhones are now very prevalent within the organization, both purchased by the company for its employees, and also, as individually brought-in devices. So the market has really expanded to include solutions that can accommodate both the huge growth in traffic, the more sophisticated kinds of applications, and also the number of devices that are not necessarily and currently manageable and secure without third-party solutions.
Sarkar-Basu: What is your opinion about the bring your own device to work trend?
Weldon: Well first of all, I don’t think that companies necessarily have a choice anymore, because a lot of employees are bringing in their own device without even asking for permission. As companies realize this more and more, they are starting to try to develop policies that can at least sort of rein in the kinds of things that employees are doing with those devices, or the kinds of information that the devices are accessing. And at first, at least superficially, it can save the company money. The employees are actually paying for the devices themselves. The problem in some cases is the separate support costs involved. There may also be separate costs in making sure there is a mobile device management and a security program in place to make sure that the employees aren’t accessing corporate data—accidentally sending it to the wrong person; introducing viruses into the corporate network with those devices. So, the other thing is that companies are experimenting with hybrid models. They tend not to say, ‘OK, from now on, it’s all BYOD.’ There seem to be certain roles within the organization, certain departments or employees, for whom it really might make sense for them to bring their own device, and others, for whom the company wants to keep more control of the devices. So I don’t think it’s a trend that’s going away, but I think reality is starting to set in a little bit in terms of maybe even doing a total cost analysis to see what is really going to save the company money.
Sarkar-Basu: So, it sounds like security is one of the big concerns for these large companies in terms of bring your own device? What are you hearing about how they are dealing with the challenge?
Weldon: Well first of all, mobile device management has a certain amount of security built into it. So if you do use one of those solutions, there is generally encryption, there is generally VPN [virtual private network] capabilities sort of built into an MDM platform. And there is also—if you are a large company and you have an IT security department already—you are probably already doing a lot to protect the corporate perimeter from outside breaches, so it makes sense just to extend what you are already doing for those devices to the mobile population. There are some industries where there is a lot of confidential customer information that needs to be protected, so those companies are likely to go even farther in terms of protecting information. And, there are some new solutions on the market that are called “dual persona” solutions which actually, physically separate the personal and the business data completely. What’s interesting with that, is that the employees now don’t worry that they can’t do what they want to do on their device. They can still go to any Web site, they can still use any application, they don’t have this sort of fear that IT is hovering over them like Big Brother, and seeing everything they do. On the other hand, the corporate information is secure, it is separated, and it is much more secure.