Mobile Device Management: We Love You, Now Change

Carl Weinschenk
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Five Tips for Overcoming Mobile Security Challenges

The importance of mobile device management (MDM) and the subcategories it has generated can’t be questioned. Indeed, MDM is a vital enabler of mobility as bring your own device (BYOD) and related non-traditional work structures become the rule rather than the exceptions.

The growth of the overall market is commensurate with its importance. The Radicati Group today released research on the trajectory from this year through 2018 of what it calls the Enterprise Mobility Management Market. This market, in Radicati’s view of the world, includes MDM, mobile application management (MAM), mobile security and mobility content management (MCM). The firm said it will grow from $1.3 billion at the end of 2014 to more than $5.7 billion in 2018.

The Radicati report actually was the second released this month that is aimed at sizing up the market. TechNavio used a slightly longer frame, 2013 to 2018, and determined that the category would enjoy a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.95 percent. The press release on the report shows a market that current is fairly evenly distributed between financial services, manufacturing, health care and communications categories. The universe of organizations outside of those four industries is the largest, but isn’t too much bigger than financial services. The company sees a consolidating industry in which the big players – the release mentions Good Technology, Citrix Systems, AirWatch and MobileIron -- are filling needs by acquiring small fry.

The definitions of an MDM solution are even fuzzier than in other categories. Securing mobility and BYOD simply is a faster-moving target than almost anything else in telecom and IT. The risks of doing it poorly are high and the rewards are great for the organization, and the vendors, that thread the needle of protecting data without overly constricting users.

With that in mind, Tom Temin at BizTech offered insight into what to look for in an MDM offering. Companies should seek platforms that have enrollment and authentication features, and that provision apps and offer adequate security. Temin writes that shoppers should look for remote access management and mobile expense management, enterprise data management and general management features.

MDM clearly is changing as the use of mobile devices shifts and the value of the data that they traffic increases. It is difficult to track the granular changes. However, one of the major high-level evolutions can be readily identified: The focus is shifting from protecting devices to protecting data. VB’s Kia Kokalitcheva writes that this was the takeaway from a panel presented at VentureBeat's MobileBeat conference last week in San Francisco. Such a shift in focus offers two advantages: better security and easier segregation of data belonging to the employee and the organization.

Mobility and ever more use of BYOD are the waves of the recent past, the present and the future. Nobody doubts that. Vendors and service providers are working to create MDM and related platforms that allow organizations to succeed – both in terms of security and work efficiency – as these work approaches evolve. It’s an interesting and vital area.

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