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Mobile Device Management Momentum

Posted on May 31, 2016

Mobile Device Management Momentum

Mark Curtis-Wood, Nimans' Head of Network Services, assesses the latest trends.

How prevalent are MDM solutions?
One of the biggest changes in the market is that a lot of the networks are now bundling up MDM as part of the overall solution. It’s a value-add and a way of trying to win new business. I think mobile security is still confusing for people and there’s still way too much apathy out there. What we all have to realise is that the amount of data we carry around on mobile devices is in some cases more precious than on a laptop or desktop computer. There’s the danger of losing the device and also getting hacked whilst on public Wi-fi. This is becoming more popular as people’s work habits are changing, so the risk is growing leaving users more exposed.

Is MDM the primary function for protecting corporate data?
I don’t think MDM is necessarily the primary function but its impact is definitely growing. Inevitably it always starts with standard security such as internal firewalls. But if you are a small business user you are unlikely to have comprehensive firewalls because everything will probably be in the cloud. For them MDM may well be the primary safety net and it’s also important in larger enterprises where there’s likely to be lots of staff using mobility-based services and applications.

BYOD challenges
The challenge is how to keep corporate information in the corporate environment but also allow people access to social media etc when outside of work. Geo-fencing is a good solution. This uses GPS or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries and create a virtual barrier. Some MDM solutions have an effective sandbox to prevent documents being shared too.

For me I don’t have two phones anymore. However there have been problems around liability which I know in Americas is becoming an issue. What happens if someone leaves a company and data gets wiped and what happens if personal information gets lost too? Who is liable? Legal challenges throw up another headache.

Solutions and Margins
It depends on the customer as to the type of solutions required. Some providers are selling it as a value-add as part of a bundle, a bit like anti-virus on a PC. There’s definitely opportunities to drive professional solutions and add more money and value into deals.

Are consumer apps confusing this space?
I wouldn’t say consumer apps are confusing this space, maybe fragmenting it a little. There’s so many apps out there that could be perceived as adding a false layer of protection and still put data at risk. Inevitably there’s more choice and options which create greater awareness of security issues, which isn’t a bad thing.

Is this space being taken seriously?
I think people are starting to take things a little bit more seriously but there’s still a long way to go. I don’t think the protection of mobile data has ever caught on in the way it should particularly when compared to laptop and PC security. The default mind-set is completely different, based on consumer mentality. Tablets are just as important as mobiles too.

In time there’s going to be some horror stories around a big data hack which will make people sit up and realise the importance of MDM. As it’s added more to standard bundles it will become more of the ‘norm’ which is another factor in terms of future trends.

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