Feature Article

July 23, 2013

Thinking MDM is Thinking Too Small

The hardware and software workers use on a daily basis has substantially shifted the past five years thanks to smartphones, mobile computing and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends.

While a joy to some, the shift to working from employee-supplied smartphones and tablets has created headaches for enterprise IT as it struggles to provision, manage and secure all these devices.

The solution has been mobile device management (MDM), software that couples with the cloud to remotely add, modify and remove data and settings for mobile devices. But MDM is just the start.

“It really started with MDM, and now it is evolving into application management and content management,” Victor Cooper of Airwatch told MobilityTechzone recently.

Airwatch, one of the MDM leaders, sees it more about enterprise mobility management (EMM), not just device management.

“So you take the device management, that’s really the bread and butter of configuring profiles and sending down the Wi-Fi, sending down VPN profiles, but then you can get into application management, layering on our SDK for extra security, and also application wrapping,” said Cooper.

“Even more,” he added, “it goes down to the technology integration, integrating with network access controls and unified communications. So we really see it as more than just MDM, we see it as a full EMM platform now.”

One aspect of managing all aspects of enterprise mobility is making it more secure to share sensitive documents. The company’s Secure Content Locker is one part of the company’s offerings that Copper said is gaining traction in the boardroom.

Secure Content Lockers let documents of any kind be time-sensitive, deleting themselves at a specified time like you might see in a Mission Impossible movie. It also can be restricted by geo location, so a PDF or rate sheet can be available only to people in a certain physical area.

And of course there is the essential roles-based security built around Secure Content Locker files, which can give access to those only in a certain position within the company. The technology can even restrict which times of the day an employee can access a file.

“The board of directors will have access to the book, but then if you only want to have your associates look at something not as important, that is possible,” Cooper noted. “So it goes back to a multi-tenant architecture.”

The need for EMM and MDM is so great, companies such as Apple are baking it right into their core mobile offerings. But Airwatch is not concerned about this trend eating into its business.

“We don’t really see it as a competitive threat. We know that we have the leading platform, but you always have to stay on your toes,” he said. “Once you really dig down and do your due diligence and compare all the vendors and all the different capabilities that are out there, we know that we are in the lead.”

Edited by Alisen Downey

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