Archive

Posts Tagged ‘mobile device management’

Dual Interface Mobile Devices To Address BYOD Issue

November 27th, 2012 11:46 admin View Comments

Cellphones

Lucas123 writes “Next year, smart phones will begin shipping with the ability to have dual identities: one for private use and the other for corporate. Hypervisor developers, such as VMware and Red Bend, are working with system manufacturers to embed their virtualization software in the phones, while IC makers, such as Intel, are developing more powerful and secure mobile device processors. The combination will enable mobile platforms that afford end users their own user interface, secure from IT’s prying eyes, while in turn allowing a company to secure its data using mobile device management software. One of the biggest benefits dual-identity phones will offer is enabling admins to wipe corporate data from phones without erasing end users profiles and personal information.”

Source: Dual Interface Mobile Devices To Address BYOD Issue

[Infographic] What We Learned From Mobile World Congress & RSA 2012

March 2nd, 2012 03:40 admin View Comments

shutterstock_smartphone_security.jpgTwo conferences 6,000 miles apart this week have set the agenda in the mobile and security industries for the year ahead. Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is the most important gathering in the wireless industry all year while the RSA Conference in San Francisco is the table setter for all of the cryptographers before Black Hat hits Las Vegas in July.

MWC 2012 was a product-focused event, as most wireless conferences tend to be. We saw new devices coming from Nokia (a 41-megapixel camera on a Symbian, what?!), HTC, Huawei and ZTE. RSA was more issue focused. That makes sense since it is harder to roll out a new security product than a couple new smartphones or tablets. At the same time, there was a distinct intersection of the two conferences. See below for what we learned this week.

Below is the second of two exclusive infrographics that Juniper made for ReadWriteWeb this this on the intersection of security and mobility. You can check out the first one, setting the stage for RSA and MWC here.

One of the biggest issues when it comes to security and mobile is the notion of “mobile device management” (MDM). This is the term bandied about by enterprise IT denizens when attempting to deal with the “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) phenomena in corporations across the world. To be completely honest, it is kind of a played out topic. Enterprises struggle with it because IT departments often move with the speed of a glacial slug. While IT departments move slow, the security vendors providing MDM solutions move fast, clamoring over each other to provide a new service that is often no different from any of their competitors. When it comes to device and security management, MDM is the Plane Jane Vanilla of mobile security.

Some of the smarter security vendors have started adding more core services to mobile security. For instance, BlackBerry has always been good at MDM as well as application and document security. Its Mobile Fusion product, scheduled for a full release in late March, brings its BlackBerry Enterprise Server functionality to other smartphone platforms and device vendors. Motorola subsidiary 3LM (Three Laws of Mobility) provides one of the most comprehensive security solutions across application, document, device, encryption, virus protection and more.

Check out the links from RSA and MWC below as well as the infographic from Juniper.

Did you attend either of these events? What were your biggest takeaways? Let us know in the comments.

News From MWC

Updates from RSA

rsa:mwc_welearned_infographic12.jpg

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock

Source: [Infographic] What We Learned From Mobile World Congress & RSA 2012

A Year Later, the BlackBerry PlayBook is Finally Fully Baked

February 21st, 2012 02:41 admin View Comments

RIM_150x150.jpgBetter late than never, right? Research In Motion has released the next iteration of its BlackBerry PlayBook OS that (finally) brings some core functions to the tablet that were missing when the erstwhile slate was released in April 2010. That includes a dedicated email client with a unified inbox, calendar and contact apps, improved document editing and an updated BlackBerry Bridge. It will also run select Android apps.

The question for RIM is whether or not these updates will actually give consumers and enterprises incentive to buy the tablet. Most people’s minds were made up on the PlayBook last year and it is doubtful that a software update, no matter how badly it was needed, will entice new users. It has been 10 months since the original release and the reviews at launch were that the PlayBook was half-baked. Fully baked now, will consumers care?

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2 will include the first release of Mobile Fusion, RIM’s mobile device management software that frees the BlackBerry Enterprise Server from being a RIM-only platform. Mobile Fusion will allow enterprises to manage devices from any manufacturer or platform provider. While it is interesting to see and early release of Mobile Fusion, it does not mean much in the grand scheme as it will only be available to BlackBerry smartphones and the PlayBook until the full release in late March.

The calendar app has baked-in social integration with the ability to update contact cards with real-time information from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Contacts have also become a social hub with information from the three social networks. That is an entry out of the Android and Windows Phone arsenal that automatically search your social networks and email contacts and update contacts appropriately.

From an enterprise perspective, there are new document editing functions, a “Print To Go” app and deeper control of personal and business information with BlackBerry Balance. There is also a new keyboard that institutes SwiftKey-like auto correction and predictive word completion.

With all the new core functionality, the BlackBerry Bridge app that connects the tablet to a BlackBerry smartphone becomes an obsolete feature. The Bridge was intended to provide contacts, calendar and email to the PlayBook by attaching it to your BlackBerry smartphone and was a stopgap measure until these core functionalities were released. Bridge is now being featured as a “remote for your PlayBook” and a way to share content between your smartphone and the tablet.

The Bridge app was one of the poor decisions that RIM made when releasing the PlayBook. In talking to RIM executives last year before the tablet was released, they believed that the potential market for the PlayBook would be anybody that owned a BlackBerry smartphone. At the time, that was about 55 million people. The vision was to see smartphone sales drive tablet sales and vice versa but that proved not to be the case. By muffing the PlayBook’s original release with no native email and contacts support, the tablet was essentially doomed and users resented the fact that they had to have a RIM smartphone for such basic functionality. Bridge is now a feature as opposed to a necessity and that is the way it should have been from the beginning.

The biggest selling point for the PlayBook could now be the fact that it can run select Android apps. RIM promised Android functionality in March 2011 and delivers in February 2012. The addition of Android functionality (that RIM built itself as opposed to using a third-party system like Myriad’s Davlik) greatly increases the quantity of apps available to the PlayBook. This would have been a killer feature a year ago before we saw affordable Android tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire hit the market. In April 2010 there was not yet an Android tablet worth its weight in salt and the PlayBook had potential to steal the market if it was released with Android functionality on top of all the goodness BlackBerry is known for. A year later, the PlayBook is an also-ran in the ecosystem.

One good thing we learn from PlayBook OS 2 is that BlackBerry 10 will likely be issued with all the features originally missing from the original QNX operating system. So, whenever RIM gets around to releasing a new BlackBerry smartphone running the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 it will likely have dedicated email, calendar, contacts and Android apps. That should be good news to BlackBerry fans that have not had much good news in the past several years.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2 is available for download today.

Source: A Year Later, the BlackBerry PlayBook is Finally Fully Baked

Why the iPad Works For Productivity

January 17th, 2012 01:15 admin View Comments

When the iPad first launched two years ago, it was derided by some for its limitations. The first iteration didn’t even have a camera on it, and it may never get a physical keyboard, so the notion of the device being used for content creation was laughable. Instead, the iPad was seen as a tool best used to lean back and consume content. For the most part, that’s how things have played out. People use their iPads for reading, watching video, listening to music and gaming.

Despite that, the iPad is finding a place in business all over the world. About 67% of iPad-owning professionals use their tablets at work, even if the vast majority of the devices are not supplied by employers, according to a recent survey by IDG. Of those people, 93% use the device for work-related communication.

The iPad’s role in business and worker productivity is fueled in large part by the efforts of app developers. Between the “Business” and “Productivity” sections of the App Store, there are over 12,000 iPad applications available for download.

Some of the more popular choices include apps for word processing, document reading and signing, remote desktop, file-syncing, communication and collaboration. There are numerous apps that turn your iPad into a whiteboard, let you attend virtual meetings and focus more intently on what you’re writing. For any business or sole proprietor with goods to sell, downloading Square or one of its competitors is just a no-brainer at this point. There’s no shortage of business intelligence apps and even IT can use server admin tools, FTP clients and mobile device management software.

A Supplement to – Not Yet a Replacement For – the PC

The iPad and its chief competitors in the tablet space are not poised to replace laptops and desktops just yet, a fact confirmed in IDG’s survey. Only 6% of respondents said their tablet has “completely replaced” their PC and 16% said the iPad had ousted their laptop from their lives. Instead, the tablet is serving as more of a supplementary device.

ipad-device-replacement.pngWith cloud syncing of calendars, email and documents, the tablet becomes sort of an extension of the desktop. Content can be shifted seamlessly across devices via Dropbox, Instapaper or email. There are, of course, limits. Graphic designers and high-end video editors aren’t going to get much of their work done on an iPad. But for basic work-related tasks like reading, writing, communicating and even accepting payments, the tablet is a fit. Sure, the lack of a physical keyboard can make extensive writing cumbersome, but a small, wireless keyboard can fix that.

It’s not just the apps available for the device that make it ideal for productivity. Indeed, the very thing that many critics cited as one of the iPad’s biggest flaws makes it better at getting certain tasks done. As it turns out, the device’s tendency to allow users to only do one thing at a time provides a much-needed boost in focus. For many, the iPad serves as a place to go when prolonged focus on a single document or task is needed. It can be a refuge from the cluttered, multi-windowed, multi-tabbed, chat notification-buzzing world of the desktop.

It’s worth noting that the tablet revolution is still in its early stages, and that the iPad isn’t the only player, even if it is the dominant one. Android-based tablets have grown up quickly and offerings from Amazon and others may force Apple to reconsider its $500 entry level price point when the iPad 3 launches this year.

Source: Why the iPad Works For Productivity

How One Mobile Device Manager Works

December 20th, 2011 12:00 admin View Comments

maas360-150.jpgI have written frequently about the BYOD trend (such as my article last week on why managing devices isn’t easy. The other side of BYOD is using some form of endpoint management product to make sure that you can track and secure all of your devices. These go under various headings, such as Mobile Device Management (MDM), endpoint security, or network access controls. No matter what you call them, using these products aren’t easy and have lots of issues. Fiberlink was game to show me around their software, called MaaS360, and while I don’t mean to pick on them I will show you what some of the drawbacks are with using these tools and what you are in store for if you are interested in trying to get a handle on your mobile devices across your enterprise.

I tried out MaaS360 on both a Kindle Fire and an iPad and got them under my corporate thumb within about an hour, including the time it took to learn more about the various requirements for the service. Fiberlink claims that they are the first Fire supporter, I wasn’t able to verify that. Here is a nice short video explanation of what the product does with an interview with our own Dan Rowinski.

If you are going to evaluate any of these products, the first thing you want to examine is which devices do they manage. For that, you will need special client software. If you want to allow anything on your network, you need some kind of agent that keeps track of what your end users are doing with it, and can protect it in case of malware or other infections. MaaS360 has versions for iOS, Android/Kindle, Blackberry, Louts Traveler, and Microsoft Exchange, among numerous other tools. Its download page (you can freely try any of these out for 30 days) is almost overwhelming.

Depending on what platform you are protecting, you will have to go through a process to install the agent and set things up. Any iOS device requires a series of cryptographic certification installation steps to get things going, which is somewhat annoying (this is from Apple, not the fault of anybody else). MaaS360 is fairly straightforward: you register your device on this screen:
mdm-enroll.png

And then it sends you an email with the download link that you open in the mobile’s browser to finish things up.

Once you have your agent up and running, you go into your portal to track what is going on. You can get lots of detail such as the report below on a Kindle Fire (running the Android OS) that you see below:
mdm-report.jpg

MaaS360 can integrate with your Active Directory or LDAP server so you can bulk load up your management system without having to do much manual installation, but there still is some work involved.

A second issue is in understanding the portal page where the service tracks what is going on across your network. What information is presented, what is actionable, what you can safely ignore. It could be more work to understand what you are seeing than you bargained. This is somewhat akin to when intrusion detection products first came into corporate networks; we needed to train our security staff what they were reporting and what they needed to pay more attention to.

Next, you want to examine how flexible the device management policies are with the service. With MaaS360, you have dozens of different levers you can push to prevent the device from connecting to particular Wifi networks, allow installation of particular apps from outside the approved marketplaces, and enforce device encryption.
mdm-management.jpg

Finally, what is all this going to cost? MaaS360 starts at $6 apiece per month in quantity of 100 devices and discounts are available as the number of devices increases.

MaaS360 is just one of dozens of MDM and endpoint products that are out there. One of my favorite for ordinary Windows and Mac desktops is Symantec’s Endpoint Protection, which currently doesn’t offer any mobile agents – yet.

Source: How One Mobile Device Manager Works

Looking at BYOD As a Complete Protocol Stack

December 12th, 2011 12:00 admin View Comments

byod-150.jpgAs I wrote about last week in my story about why BYOD isn’t a trend, I came across something that Nick Mehta, the CEO of LiveOffice, put together. If you are going to allow users to bring their own devices and use them at work, you have to start thinking about the entire software and management stack to manage these devices.

Remember how IBM’s System Network Architecture (SNA) managed our enterprise infrastructure? That was what it was good at, but only if the device was a mainframe terminal. Now we need more tools that can do the equivalent of SNA for smartphones, tablets, and whatever else the average corporate citizen wants to cart into his or her cubicle.

Mehta has divvied up the stack into four major pieces, and I like his model. There are mobile device management frameworks, enterprise social media policy management vendors, endpoint security solutions and enterprise federated identity management vendors. Unlike the traditional seven-layer protocol stack, there isn’t a lot of connective tissue between each layer, and I am not sure that any of these vendors, or anyone else, is really thinking about BYOD universe in this fashion. But the time to start is now.

  • MDM vendors include MobileIron, AirWatch and ZenPrise are securing corporate mobile devices, whether they were purchased by the company or by the user. Employees can choose the device they want, and change it as often as they want. But now IT can ensure that users also change their passwords from time to time, and make sure that they’re not “1234″ or “password.” And they can zap all corporate data from these devices if employees leave or their devices are lost. That is a tall order, and we’ll see many more MDMs over time that are going to try to deliver bits and pieces of the whole story.
  • Enterprise social media policy management companies include SocialWare, Hearsay and Actiance. They are ensuring compliance and policy management for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As financial representatives and real estate agents use social networks of their choice to communicate with customers and prospects, their firms can ensure that all reps are adhering to policies – whether driven by brand-consciousness or regulatory compliance.
  • Endpoint security solutions from companies such as Symantec, Trend Micro, Checkpoint and others are going to have to evolve to cover the new kinds of endpoints besides the traditional Windows/Mac/Linux desktops.
  • Finally, enterprise federated identity management vendors such as Okta, Ping Identity and Symplified are helping IT departments enable users to deploy DropBox, Box.net, Google Apps and other applications of their choice without having to manage a myriad of passwords and security policies. These technologies essentially allow enterprises to implement their internal authentication and authorization policies (namely who can see what) for their cloud-based apps. .

“Companies are optimizing more for RFP submission than for usability,” Mehta said. “Simplicity is more important than meeting a bunch of items on an IT checklist.” That may be a tall order indeed.

Source: Looking at BYOD As a Complete Protocol Stack

Looking at BYOD As a Complete Protocol Stack

December 12th, 2011 12:00 admin View Comments

byod-150.jpgAs I wrote about last week in my story about why BYOD isn’t a trend, I came across something that Nick Mehta, the CEO of LiveOffice, put together. If you are going to allow users to bring their own devices and use them at work, you have to start thinking about the entire software and management stack to manage these devices.

Remember how IBM’s System Network Architecture (SNA) managed our enterprise infrastructure? That was what it was good at, but only if the device was a mainframe terminal. Now we need more tools that can do the equivalent of SNA for smartphones, tablets, and whatever else the average corporate citizen wants to cart into his or her cubicle.

Mehta has divvied up the stack into four major pieces, and I like his model. There are mobile device management frameworks, enterprise social media policy management vendors, endpoint security solutions and enterprise federated identity management vendors. Unlike the traditional seven-layer protocol stack, there isn’t a lot of connective tissue between each layer, and I am not sure that any of these vendors, or anyone else, is really thinking about BYOD universe in this fashion. But the time to start is now.

  • MDM vendors include MobileIron, AirWatch and ZenPrise are securing corporate mobile devices, whether they were purchased by the company or by the user. Employees can choose the device they want, and change it as often as they want. But now IT can ensure that users also change their passwords from time to time, and make sure that they’re not “1234″ or “password.” And they can zap all corporate data from these devices if employees leave or their devices are lost. That is a tall order, and we’ll see many more MDMs over time that are going to try to deliver bits and pieces of the whole story.
  • Enterprise social media policy management companies include SocialWare, Hearsay and Actiance. They are ensuring compliance and policy management for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As financial representatives and real estate agents use social networks of their choice to communicate with customers and prospects, their firms can ensure that all reps are adhering to policies – whether driven by brand-consciousness or regulatory compliance.
  • Endpoint security solutions from companies such as Symantec, Trend Micro, Checkpoint and others are going to have to evolve to cover the new kinds of endpoints besides the traditional Windows/Mac/Linux desktops.
  • Finally, enterprise federated identity management vendors such as Okta, Ping Identity and Symplified are helping IT departments enable users to deploy DropBox, Box.net, Google Apps and other applications of their choice without having to manage a myriad of passwords and security policies. These technologies essentially allow enterprises to implement their internal authentication and authorization policies (namely who can see what) for their cloud-based apps. .

“Companies are optimizing more for RFP submission than for usability,” Mehta said. “Simplicity is more important than meeting a bunch of items on an IT checklist.” That may be a tall order indeed.

Source: Looking at BYOD As a Complete Protocol Stack

RIM To Offer Multiplatform Device Management

November 29th, 2011 11:51 admin View Comments

Blackberry

Aryden sends this quote from an IDG News report: “Research In Motion is taking on mobile device management for Android and Apple iOS devices as well as its own products, introducing the BlackBerry Mobile Fusion product, on Tuesday. BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is designed to simplify the management of phones and tablets that run RIM’s current BlackBerry OS and the emerging BBX platform, which is based on the QNX software that currently powers RIM’s PlayBook tablet. But Mobile Fusion will also manage devices using the two biggest mobile OSs, Android and iOS.”

Source: RIM To Offer Multiplatform Device Management

Is RIM Shooting Itself In the Foot With Mobile Fusion?

November 29th, 2011 11:45 admin View Comments

rim_logo150.jpgResearch In Motion has taken a step that many in the industry thought the company would not, could not take. RIM announced today that it will release Mobile Fusion, an enterprise-security grade mobile device management suite akin to its BlackBerry Enterprise Server, for the iPhone and Android platforms.

This was a necessary move for RIM. Yet, it has lost the first mover’s advantage. The BES system was the first of its kinds and became the default system for enterprise mobility. That era is beginning to pass as more employees bring iPhones and Android to work. RIM will look to monetize off that trend, but the company’s edge has been lost.

Mobile Fusion will provide MDM alongside the BES in enterprise and government IT departments. Fundamentally, it is nothing that the industry has not already seen before. Here is the list of functions for supported devices:

  • Asset management
  • Configuration management
  • Security and policy definition and management
  • Secure and protect lost or stolen devices (remote lock, wipe)
  • User- and group-based administration
  • Multiple device per user capable
  • Application and software management
  • Connectivity management (Wi-Fi®, VPN, certificate)
  • Centralized console
  • High scalability

If these product capabilities sound familiar, it is because there is a vibrant ecosystem that has been built around MDM services that do exactly the same thing. Companies like BoxTone & 3 Laws Of Mobility (a Motorola subsidiary), Good Technology, Zenprise, Symantec, McAfee, Sybase (which partners with Samsung), Fixmo (that got a huge Series C round of funding yesterday), Airwatch and others have all come out with BES-style MDM services in the last year or so focused on delivering security to enterprise smartphones.

The problem comes down to the fact that enterprises no longer have to rely on BlackBerry for security. RIM’s data encryption technology on BlackBerry handsets is still at the forefront of the pack and remains attractive to enterprises but there is no shortage of options for companies looking for solutions.

Here is a breakdown of MDM services from Gartner in April. It does not include 3LM, which launched out of public beta in October with a partnership with BoxTone at CTIA Enterprise and Apps.

gartner_mdm_april11.jpg

RIM is in a tricky position here. Mobile Fusion is a product where the company is damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t. Either way, RIM appears to be damned. In talking with analysts over the course of the year, the general consensus on RIM that it would return from whence it came, a niche enterprise smartphone manufacturer. That was as long as it had the proprietary functions of BES attached to BlackBerry devices. Come Mobile Fusion in March, that is no longer going to be the case.

So, where does RIM go from here? It is losing consumer market share by the fist load and now is making an effort to monetize on that loss in the enterprise market. What it all comes down to for RIM is the wait and see. Wait for BBX to come out next year, hope that it sparkles and gain back consumer (hence, enterprise) market share.

Source: Is RIM Shooting Itself In the Foot With Mobile Fusion?

The Top BI Predictions From Forrester

November 25th, 2011 11:40 admin View Comments

Earlier this month, Forrester’s Boris Evelson gave his top ten predictions for business intelligence for the coming year. Some of them bear repeating, some bear further reaction and clarification. What is clear is that this space is poised to take off, with just the right mix of products and innovation.

  • More end-user empowerment of self-service BI tools.One of the reasons that BI hasn’t become as household an app as the average spreadsheet is that it was never really designed for self-service. I can remember working back in the early days of the PC for a large insurance company where we were gung-on on Information Builders’ Focus, which they now call BI but back then was labeled as a fourth generation programming tool. It was the farthest thing from self-service you could think of: people had to take year-long classes to learn how to use its basic functions. Many of the BI tools have come a long way since then, but they are still too hard to learn. Evelson is right in saying, “Finding the right win-win combination that combines the flexibility and agility that self-service brings with behind-the-scenes monitoring and adjusting will become the name of the game.”
  • More mobile BI. Completely agree. We are starting to see mobile device management tools combine with some primitive BI type functionality. This is a natural and we’ll see more of this next year. As more knowledge workers get iPads and other tablets, they will have the needed screen real estate to do some productive things with these tools too.
  • Living with Big Data in the enterprise. Ditto. There will be some interesting intersections among the traditional BI tools and the NoSQL/Big Data/cloud services tools. It will spread from single line-of-business departments that can figure out how to use Big Data effectively and then finally enter the IT department in many corporations as a corporate standard. A few years from now all data will be Big and we will wonder why we made such a fuss over it.
  • Better email and collaboration integration with BI tools. I think this is a big win but will take some time. And why email integration is still lacking is just frustrating. Just look at all the enterprise-grade collaboration tools that are out there now, and it seems a new one is invented every day. Until this market settles down a bit, the integration will lag. Cisco is poised to show some leadership here (after all the collaboration vendors they have been buying over the past couple of years), and even IBM might have a break out hit if they can effectively communicate their value-add.

Source: The Top BI Predictions From Forrester

YOYOYOOYOYOYO