device management shines in Barcelona for BYOD-focused enterprises

Device management appears to be making a big noise on the opening day of Mobile World Congress. As the likes of Nokia, LG, HTC and Sony unveiled their new smartphones, enterprises were carefully watching SAP and Symantec who unveiled upgraded mobility strategies.

According to Symantec's State of Mobility Survey – released at the Congress – 67% of enterprises are concerned with malware attacks spreading from mobile devices to internal networks and 65% cited data loss as one of their top concerns for mobile adoption.

As a result, it used the Mobile World Congress to announce that its modular enterprise mobility platform to allow these services to be delivered via on-prem and SaaS models, as part of existing security and management solutions, to drive operational efficiencies and lower total-cost-of-ownership. This solution will be generally available in late summer 2012.

the need for intervention

Such intervention is deemed necessary by analysts. Leif-Olof Wallin, Research VP, Gartner, explains: "The overwhelming demands of consumerization and access to information from mobile devices is leaving enterprise IT departments to struggle with the requirements of device choice, the new era of mobile apps and the blurred lines between corporate and personal data. Organizations must look to secure the complete ecosystem: devices, apps and data. Doing that in an efficient manner that enables business productivity will be key to success."

Also capitalising on this trend at the MWC is SAP, who announced the 7.0 release of Afaria. SAP says the release aims to allow enterprise IT to more effectively manage mobile applications and devices through a new user interface for simplified administration, improved workflow and enterprise integration capabilities. It will also help make personally-owned devices enterprise-ready with end-user self-service portals.

"The consumerization of IT is driving our innovation path and commitment to providing customers with the industry's most comprehensive, robust and streamlined mobility management platform, including mobile device management," said Sanjay Poonen, president, Global Solutions, SAP.

Meanwhile, Fixmo, the mobile risk management company, announced Fixmo MRM – a platform for enabling protected, compliant and auditable mobile computing across the workplace and Bright Star Tech Data, announced it is to distribute Fiberlink’s MaaS360 to its vast network of customers, resellers, and system integrators in the German, Austria and Switzerland markets

the enterprise dilemma

Enterprises should take note. Some enterprises are embracing BYOD , while others are fighting the trend.

A recent report by analysts Canalys found that 86% of SMEs have no company-wide smartphone security in place and therefore put sensitive data at risk, if handsets are lost or stolen. One wonders if larger enterprises are much better.

According to the GSMA, enterprises must become much firmer with controls over devices because mobile operators are focusing on continued significant investments in mobile broadband and LTE technologies to connect the world's population to the Internet.

They are accelerating the adoption of embedded mobile technology to create the 'Connected Life'; and driving the adoption of SIM-based mobile NFC handsets and services to grow mCommerce, which will require tighter enforcement.

Through these and many other initiatives, and through organic growth, the mobile industry will experience significant improvement across all key economic metrics, but the risk of malware may rise.

After all, in the recently released 2011 Mobile Threats Report, Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center revealed that from 2010 to 2011, there was a 155% increase in mobile malware across all mobile device platforms.

Are you prepared for device management in your organisation? Do the MWC announcements pique your interest?

Nicolas Jacquey
Joe Fernandez

Joe Fernandez is a technology writer and blogger for Futurity Media. As a journalist, he was an editor on Computer Weekly and Microscope magazines and worked as a deputy editor for Marketing Week and its sister title Pitch covering online marketing and social media developments. Joe has also appeared in titles including New Media Age, Guardian Computing, Computing Magazine, The Inquirer and Mobile Magazine.