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.
“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.
*A Lightspeed portfolio company