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Think Big. Move Fast.

Over the last 12 months, there have been a handful of acquisitions of mobile start-ups like RapSphere* (by Appsense), Nukona (by Symantec) and most recently Zenprise (by Citirix) that help enterprises better manage mobile devices. In the consumer world, the newness of mobile has, for the most part, worn off as everyone from teenagers to grandmothers now proudly carry smartphones, using apps and taking photos wherever they go.

But in the enterprise, the rapid growth of mobile has caught many companies off guard, which is why I predict that we’ll see more companies form to address enterprise mobility as well as more M&A in the space in 2013.

CIOs today are scrambling to figure out how to manage everything from employees who may now favor using their own smartphone over one the company provides to users who are supplementing, or even replacing, their laptop with a tablet in the office.

Why does this matter? Well, these devices are controlled by the user, no longer by IT. They each come with their own hardware configuration, their own OS, different personal consumer apps, different network providers – all of which contributes to “unmanageability” for a large enterprise. Also, the user can be anywhere so now corporate information assets can also be anywhere which can cause problems especially for organizations who operate in regulated industries (banks, healthcare companies, etc.) and especially given that these devices are no longer protected by the hardened firewalls and internal security systems that kept the traditional enterprise secure.

Natalie Lambert, Citrix’s director of product marketing, put it well in an interview with Michael Endler from InformationWeek following the company’s acquisition of Zenprise saying:

“At the end of the day, every organization will look at mobility differently. Highly regulated industries will demand granular control over the device itself, she explained, citing geo-fencing technologies or authority over a smartphone’s camera as examples. Other parties, meanwhile, want out of device management altogether [and] just want to manage corporate content.”

First generation mobile device management (MDM) companies gave enterprises some basic fleet management tools. But with the scale of the problem CIO’s now confront, they need much more granular methods for controlling the data and access of these devices that they no longer “control”.

Solving this problem has been at the heart of the new generation of rapid innovation in security and management for mobile devices. The existing players are trying to snap up the new innovators but more are coming and we’re still at the very early stages of how this plays out.

What are you thoughts on BYOD and what is next for enterprise mobility, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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*A Lightspeed portfolio company


  • Manju

    security due to BYOD requires a completely new holistic approach with keeping in mind that employee privacy matters especially what (s)he does during non-office hours and that is where the MDM or client way of managing fails and sort of continues on the philosophy of “IT owns the device”. We are looking the problem with a new approach and do everything with the philosophy of “Dont’ trust (the devices) and Don’t touch (no client on the device” approach

    i7 Networks, “Agentless BYOD Control”

  • Amitabh Sinha

    I agree that MDM does not solve the problem of BYOD. MDM enables IT to lock down and control a device, which is in conflict with the end user’s ownership of the device.

    CIOs want more granular control over data and applications on devices that are owned and to a large extent under user control. There is a 3rd wave of solutions (http://manydevices.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/the-third-wave-of-solutions-for-byod/) being built to address this problem.

  • John Gannon

    Aside from the challenges that BYOD and mobile present the enterprise, I think there is a huge potential opportunity as well, for example for more secure identity management. Posted about this here: http://johngannonblog.com/2012/01/09/mobile-is-the-new-identity/

  • http://twitter.com/mdkail mike d. kail

    1st, and perhaps 2nd, generation MDM solutions don’t solve the BYOD problem at all. Relying on employees going to IT to have them “install shackles” on their device and just as (in)secure as password-based authentication. The next generation of solutions need to address strong authentication IdM plus a level of Data Access Management. If IT and BYOD vendor provide the right framework then protecting access to the data is both much simpler and far more secure.

  • Guest

    We are focused on leveraging those workforce devices to help manage and automate IT inventory. As you mentioned, they are increasingly growing in the enterprise and we want to take full advantage of that growth and market. http://www.userpod.com