With the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets, much of the network traffic and corporate data that was once the primary domain of enterprise PCs is now being shifted to mobile devices. Consequently, according to market research firm Gartner, Inc., 65 percent of enterprises will adopt a mobile device management (MDM) solution for their corporate liable users over the next five years.
"The era of the PC has ended. Employees are becoming more mobile and looking for ways to still be connected wherever work needs to be done," said Phil Redman, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. "The convenience and productivity gains that mobile devices bring are too tempting for most companies and their employees. Securing corporate data on mobile devices is a big challenge, but one that companies must embrace. Enterprises are struggling with how to support and secure this dynamic workforce."
Additionally, the research firm predicts that through 2017, 90 percent of enterprises will have two or more mobile operating systems to support. In the past year, many companies have moved to Apple's iOS as their main mobile device platform, with others to follow over the next 12 to 18 months. As enterprises continue to offer multi platform support, and new platforms such as Windows 8 continue to emerge, MDM needs will continue to grow.
Along with smartphones, tablets are also one of the fastest growing enterprise devices in the last year and a half, further driving enterprises to adopt a robust MDM solution. Though many companies and users are supporting the tablet for limited usage, typically for e-mail and personal information management (PIM) functions, users are further pushing for more enterprise applications to be supported on their tablets. Media reports indicate that as more of these native apps become available and remote access technology improves, more enterprise content will be stored on these devices.
Gartner believes that mobile device proliferation is inevitable and the only way that IT staff can maintain control is by separating mobile computing devices into three distinct device classes: trusted standard devices provided by the company, tolerated devices and non-supported devices.
Edited by Jamie Epstein