Security: The Key Driver for Enterprise Mobility

IT consumerization is a big trend right now and has pushed enterprise mobility onto the center stage, stealing the spotlight from cloud computing. Everybody loves mobility, every user wants it and every vendor’s technology is compatible.

Guest blog by Raul Castanon-Martinez

However, top of mind doesn’t always translate into buying intention, as we have seen with cloud computing. Everyone talks about the cloud, but it has yet to become a priority for CIOs; cloud adoption seems to be slower than what one expects, given its benefits.

Will something similar happen with enterprise mobility? In a recent discussion about the topic with Scott Lewis, former VP of Partner Marketing and Enablement at Novell, he pointed out to me that “the main issues for mobility solutions happen to be the main issues for external cloud computing: Integration challenges and security.”

However, it is precisely these issues that may accelerate enterprise mobility adoption. Unlike cloud computing, which can be described as a top-down trend where IT is in full control, enterprise mobility is a bottom-up trend driven by end users.

A recent IDC survey found that workers report using consumer devices at twice the rate employers report; this dissonance is a red flag that IT needs to address. Enterprise mobility by itself is “nice to have”, but the need for tighter control of employee owned devices is what makes it a “must have” technology for the enterprise; this is what is driving the first phase of enterprise mobility.

These security requirements can be addressed by defining and enforcing policies for employee owned devices and with enterprise solutions for Mobile Device Management (MDM) and PC Lifecycle Management Tools (PCCLM). However, we are already experiencing limitations in MDM and PCCLM capabilities; current solutions are incompatible with non-Windows and mobile devices, according to the January 2011 Magic Quadrant for PC Configuration Life Cycle Management Tools by Gartner Inc.

These limitations are the catalyst for a second phase of enterprise mobility, with developments in enterprise applications and Enterprise App Stores that address the complexity of supporting mobile devices with different platforms and can provide a security layer that sits between devices and application data, instead of relying only on endpoint security. Their potential is such that Forrester Research recently revised their prediction for the size of the MDM market in 2015 from $3.9 billion to $6.6 billion; Forrester believes that the market will shift to building mobile app stores and managing mobile enterprise applications for smartphones and tablets.

There are developments in the smartphone market that can be a game changer, like the battle of the smartphones, which has now shifted to the platform with iOS versus Android and new contender Microsoft pushing into mobility with Windows 8 operating system. Security, however, will continue to be a top concern for IT managers, and the key driver for enterprise mobility.

We haven’t even covered the potential that mobile applications can have in enterprise productivity and their impact in improving key performance indicators. This is still, in my opinion, borderline between “nice to have” and “must have”. Building a strong business case for enterprise mobility based on this alone can be challenging, but when we factor in the security risks of IT consumerization, it becomes clear that the enterprise needs tighter controls; this should be compelling enough for CIOs and IT managers to develop a comprehensive enterprise mobility strategy.

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Raul Castanon-Martinez is a Massachusetts-based marketing professional with over 15 years in high tech working in mobile communications and enterprise software solutions for collaboration, security and endpoint management . His experience includes technical positions, business development and product marketing working at Comverse Technology, Kaspersky Lab and most recently as Partner Marketing Manager at Novell.

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