BYOD Boom Triggers a Wealth of Mobile Device Management Solutions

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 25, 2012

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

Most, if not all, business will embrace some type of bring-your-own-device program in 2012.

That was the word from Tim Wagner of Samsung, who spoke at ITEXPO East earlier this year in Miami.

Indeed. The worldwide mobile worker population will increase from one billion in 2010, to 1.3 billion in 2015, accounting for 37.2 percent of the workforce, according to IDC. To support this prolific wireless device growth, organizations are becoming acutely aware of the need to secure and manage access to corporate resources from a wide array of mobile endpoints. And everybody and their brother seem to be hawking solutions to help business customers manage the untamed wireless beast.

Samsung, which is best known for consumer electronic devices, recently entered the mobile device management space with what it calls its Samsung Approved for Enterprise – or SAFE – strategy. SAFE addresses mobile device management; corporate e-mail/calendar/contacts synchronization; on-device encryption (which involves hardware within endpoints); and VPN connectivity (for which Samsung works with leading VPN providers).

“Everybody in the world is looking at MDM today – across the board,” Alan Murphy, senior technical marketing manager at F5 Networks Inc., told INTERNET TELEPHONY in an interview.

F5 Networks in late February moved to address the bring-your-own-device trend in the enterprise space by partnering with mobile device management solution providers AirWatch, MobileIron, SilverbackMDM and Zenprise (News - Alert).

The above-mentioned MDM offerings can call up the F5 application directly and automatically (through the entitlement layer) whenever an SSL VPN is needed. In fact, these pairings allow enterprises to enforce network policies from the mobile device through the entire network to secure and manage access to enterprise applications. The MDM partners and F5, which sells a mobile user access solution, also will do customer referrals.

F5’s mobile user access solution is comprised of the BIG-IP Access Policy Manager, the BIG-IP Edge Gateway (News - Alert) and the BIG-IP Edge Client. These solutions provide secure, high-performance access to enterprise resources. Murphy says F5 over the past year or two has had a strong release path for customers that run on Android (News - Alert) and iOS. As a result, customers with devices running these operating systems can pull up dedicated VPNs to connect to their enterprises from such wireless devices.

But recently F5 customers have been asking the company for the ability to do device wipes and lockdown mobile devices, he says. Since F5 is a company whose solutions operate at the network layer, it responded to those requests by creating an ecosystem of MDM providers. F5 chose this foursome of MDM outfits based on their market presence and technology. Murphy says the four are the larger players in the MDM space and have penetration in both the Android and iOS arenas.

“MobileIron was purpose-built for global companies to secure and manage mobile devices and apps,” said Ojas Rege, vice president of product at MobileIron. “By teaming with F5, a leader in application delivery and innovative SSL VPN and access solutions provider, we can offer our customers greater control and scale of their mobile infrastructure, improving application delivery, enforcing critical security policies and ultimately providing increased mobile productivity.”

Another recent pairing on the MDM front has Enterproid joining forces with UC outfit BroadSoft to deliver an integrated solution addressing both security and unified communications requirements for mobile business users.

The Divide platform by Enterproid includes a personal management portal that provides employees the ability to lock, beacon, or wipe their mobile devices in the event they are lost or stolen. The Divide Manager capability from the company, meanwhile, is designed to enable IT to do enterprise-wide policy deployment and enforcement, including the ability to see all connected devices, set policies by group, perform remote wipes of corporate data, lock the corporate persona and administer password reset.

“The integration of Divide and BroadSoft's communications platform creates a new standard for BYOD mobility, virtualizing the worker's office, making it accessible on the employee's personal Android device and delivering it via the cloud – regardless of carrier, device or version of Android OS running on their device,” said Alexander Trewby, vice president of product and an Enterproid co-founder. “While other BYOD solutions focus on corporate e-mail or the use of dual phone SIMs, the integration with BroadSoft's platforms has extended the BYOD user experience to encompass workplace messaging, data and voice services, while also giving IT the tools to secure, manage and tailor the BYOD experience for each employee. We give the employee the flexibility to get what they need to do their job, anytime and on any device, without compromising user experience or privacy.”

Symphony Services recently expanded its mobile device management play as well. But in this case, it did that through acquisition.

To better appeal to mid to large enterprises looking for holistic solutions in this new BYOD world, Symphony Services earlier this year announced plans to buy Teleca for an undisclosed amount. The combined company, called Symphony Teleca Corp., expects to bring in $350 million in revenue this year, meaning the deal doubles the size of the former Symphony. The leader of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is CEO Sanjay Dhawan.

“The two companies are merging to really accelerate enterprise mobility,” Keith Higgins, chief marketing officer, told INTERNET TELEPHONY in an interview about the Teleca deal.

Symphony Teleca, Higgins said, can help organizations decide which platform(s) to use, how to interface that with their app stores, and even how to create and support an enterprise app store (which Symphony can deliver as a managed service). Symphony also can assemble for businesses mobility solutions including best-in-class software from multiple vendors, mobility expense management, device acquisition and more.

“We are the first company at scale who enterprises can come to for an end-to-end mobile enterprise solution,” said Higgins, adding that Symphony can do that without requiring businesses to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on outsourcing, as do some of the larger systems integrators.

Symphony traditionally has worked closely with enterprise software companies, whereas Teleca’s software and services have catered to the needs of wireless device suppliers like Nokia (News - Alert). Now, with the Teleca deal under its belt, Symphony has a broader and deeper product portfolio, staff expertise, and geographic coverage on the wireless front, Higgins said. The deal increases Symphony’s headcount from 4,000 to 6,100 people. And Teleca, which is based out of Sweden, has a very strong European presence, according to Higgins.

Others offering MDM solutions include Amtel Inc., which in February announced a free MDM service targeted at enterprises of all sizes. Amtel Free Business Mobile Device Management includes mobile password security, detection of compromised devices, device information and statistics, application discovery and listing, and the ability to build a central mobile inventory for the management of mobile assets. Like Amtel’s premium MDM service, the free service offers a web-based console that operates across iOS and Android

Amtel says it has led the market as one of the first MDM providers to offer its premium service via a software-as-a-service model. As discussed in a strategic solutions series that ran in the October 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, Amtel offers a single platform that delivers mobile device management, and telecom expense management, including mobile expense management.

“Our solution can address expense management and device management – all from the same platform. That helps with ROI,” Karlyn Gonzalez, Amtel manager, told INTERNET TELEPHONY in an interview last year. “With our competitors’ systems, customers need separate expense management and device management solutions – so customers have to learn how to work with multiple systems.”

Amtel’s TIMS platform, however, includes a broad range of functionality. It enables invoice management, inventory management, device security management, procurement portal, mobile policies, contract management, and dispute management and reporting of telecommunication services for global enterprises. Organizations can use the solution to implement adds and changes related to mobile devices, mobile plans and even mobile carriers; to track their wireless and wireless expenses; and much more, said Gonzalez. Clients typically eliminate 10 percent to 40 percent of their mobile expenses as a result of using Amtel TIMS.

Last year Amtel added to the TIMS platform an integrated SaaS (News - Alert)-based Telecom/Mobile Expense Management & Mobile Device Security Management Solution. That enables users to set security password and e-mail settings; approve and restrict particular mobile applications in the business setting; detect and quarantine jailbreak, rooted devices; and remotely wipe and lock devices (if, for example, an employee loses a wireless device containing confidential business information) . It also allows for 411 directory assistance saving; provides alerts related to international calling and roaming; and does GPS location and lost device tracking.

“The popularity of mobile apps is putting an extra burden on corporate mobile billing,” says Pankaj Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Amtel. “Companies are struggling to find ways to implement mobile policy and segregate the individual apps spend from the allowable corporate usage policy.”

BoxTone is another player in this space. The company says its Enterprise Mobility Management solution is used to keep tabs on millions of devices and by some of the world’s largest companies.

While enterprise mobility has become a hot area for many IT outfits, Higgins of Symphony pointed out that Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report indicates there is no one leader in the category.

“The MDM market is quickly evolving,” according to a Gartner report published last year and available online. “The requirements and definitions are changing rapidly, and vendor offerings will evolve quickly and be even more capable and mature by next year. High demand is creating a frenzy of development, as well as hope.”

That frenzy was expected to continue at the big Mobile World Congress event in late February/early March of this year.

Enterprise IT management software ManageEngine said it would be launching MDM services addressing security, configuration and more at the Barcelona event. And Symantec was planning to announce significant enhancements to its enterprise mobile enablement and protection strategy at Mobile World Congress.

Edited by Jennifer Russell