There are multiple ways that companies can approach mobile management. The most common approach is device management where IT pre-configure a device and locks it down by not allowing users access to certain features and/or prevents the installation of apps. There’s also the approach of locking down data in which enterprise apps allow IT to create and manage an encrypted sandbox for business data on the device. There’s also the option of taking a lighter hand and issuing policies about acceptable use where IT can use device management tools to ensure that users are complying with those policies.
There are pros and cons to each approach but the truth is that there’s no need to pick one approach over the others. An effective management strategy can actually employ multiple styles of management. It’s also important to remember that mobile management doesn’t need to be one size fits all – it’s perfectly fine to use different levels of management and security based on the job functions of users, on the ownership of devices, or on the devices themselves (and their OS version).
The idea of mixing mobile management options as a best practices got a boost this week in a pari of announcements my some of the major players in the enterprise mobility space.
The first announcement involves the partnership between Good and BoxTone. Good made a name for itself by establishing the concept of creating a secure and managed space on mobile devices, beginning with a replacement for the Mail, Calendar, and Contacts apps in iOS (and their equivalents on other platforms). Since then, the company has branched out into creating secure on-device sandboxes for business data using its Good Dynamics platform that allows other app developers to partner with Good and use its secure on-device storage capabilities. BoxTone is one of the companies providing mobile device management solutions to businesses that has partnership with several companies including device manufacturers and carriers. The collaboration brings together two of the major players in the enterprise mobility management space, each of which tends to focus on a different approach. BoxTone’s device management products include real-time monitoring of devices as well as automated enrollment while Good brings the ability to lock down critical data more than is possible in a straight device management approach.
In a similar vein, enterprise management and security giant Symantec announced plans to acquire mobile information management and app management firm Nukona. The move follows Symantec’s purchase of Odyssey, a device management vendor. The companies will add to Symantec’s stable of enterprise solutions that already includes deployment, security, and client management tools for Macs and Windows PCs. The pair of acquisitions will give Symantec the ability to be a complete end-to-end provider of desktop and mobile solutions. More importantly, it illustrates that simply acquiring either Odyssey or Nukona rather than both would only give Symantec the ability to provide a portion of the mobility management options that most companies need these days.
It seems likely that we’ll see more partnerships and acquisitions like these in the future. While IT departments can cherry pick and combine various solutions to meet their overall mobile management needs, there are obvious advantages to dealing with a single vendor or vendors that have an established partnership. Those advantages include licensing, more streamlined support when needed, and a better framework for getting the products to work with each other.