Browsing Posts published in September, 2011

In the last few weeks I have written about the complementary relationship between Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile File Management (MFM). As a proof point to that, yesterday we announced a new partnership with MobileIron (press release is here), a leading MDM vendor and the innovator in enterprise management and security for mobile devices and apps, and we are one of the first companies to join their MobileIron AppConnect program. This partnership spans marketing, development and sales.

MobileIron Appconnect is loosely a mobile device management framework which allows enterprises to secure mobile apps and data. Essentially this allows apps, such as our mobilEcho, to operate within the MobileIron ecosystem with all the security and management capabilities inherent with MobileIron. This will not only provide more secure mobile computing but will also greatly enhance management capabilities through integration.

We are already seeing (and actively engaged with) enterprises who want to have mobilEcho as part of their enterprise mobility strategy and see it as very complementary to MDM. Some of the organizations have already bought MDM and considering mobilEcho as an add on. Others are considering MDM for the first time and they see mobilEcho as a natural extension of that effort. Our partnership with MobileIron is an outgrowth of this demand and a desire on the part of both companies to deliver complete solutions to customers.

Over the next few months I will be keeping you updated how customers are leveraging this partnership to provide an integrated MDM and MFM environment and experience for their users.

There is no doubt that security is one of the key topics raised by customers when discussing their enterprise mobility strategies. One of the first things I would say about mobile security is that good mobile security starts with good overall security. What I mean by that is that mobile security has to be viewed in the greater context of an overall security infrastructure within an enterprise. Why? There are several reasons, but scaling and streamlining management is one, setting a universal set of policies is another (although there needs to be flexibility here), and to address the notion that a security plan is only as good as its weakest link. So you can’t view mobile security in isolation, especially given the current and projected proliferation of these devices and their increasing usage.

From a mobility perspective, many of these discussions start with Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions such as those from Mobile Iron, Good Technology, Sybase, AirWatch, Absolute, JAMF, and others. However, there is also a need to provide secure Mobile File Management (MFM). Just like enterprises need to provide simple and secure file access to their desktop and laptop users, they also need to do that on mobile devices. This means an MFM solution requires several things:

1. Providing encryption in-transit as well as on the device
2. Integrating with existing security infrastructure, such as Active Directory
3. Giving IT the management capabilities to turn functions on/off to meet corporate security policies. For example, the ability to turn on/off the “open in” function.
4. Remote wipe so that the application and its data can be permanently deleted if the device is lost, stolen or compromised.
5. Having control of the file servers/storage resources themselves.
6. Ability to audit both management and user activities.

And there is much more of course but those are some of the basics to think about. If you are interested in hearing more about mobilEcho, we are holding a live demo/webinar/chat on October 12 at 11am Eastern (4pm GMT). The registration is here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/523964858 . This is a general overview of mobilEcho but highlights many of the enterprise security features as well.

We have been holding monthly webinars and live demos on mobilEcho for a few months now, and we have received a tremendous response (even for what would be considered down months in July and August). One of the things we learned pretty early on is that there is no substitute for seeing the product in action and that is why we these live demo sessions have been so popular (and why we do the 21-day free trial). Our mobilEcho Product Manager, Brian Ulmer, runs through a few quick slides then spends the majority of the time demo’ing the client and management capabilities of mobilEcho. And we answer questions via chat. Hope you can join us.

You can follow me on Twiitter @andersgl and you can follow GroupLogic @grouplogic.

In my last post, I talked about Mobile File Management (MFM) and why I thought it was important (Essentially, it makes up for the lack of an iPad file system, amongst other things). One question that comes up occasionally with our customers is, “how are you different than mobile device management (MDM)? Do I need both?” They are, in fact, very different; addressing very different needs. I would also say that they are very complementary solutions and for an enterprise, they are both core to any enterprise mobility strategy.

Just by way of short definitions. MDM helps organizations to manage, secure and monitor the mobile HW and OS. MFM provide secure and managed access to corporate files and content. I am sure some would quibble over these oversimplified definitions but I am just trying to put a general framework around it. The point is that they are not competitive and address very different customer needs. In discussions with customers we will naturally hear about their use of various MDM vendors such as Mobile Iron, Good Technology, Sybase, AirWatch, Absolute, JAMF, and others.

The point I am making is that as enterprise mobility continues to grow there are a number of core functions that need to be there. Some of them are obvious (ex. Email). Others are not as obvious yet. But it is very clear from the conversations we have with enterprise customers that there needs to be a whole ecosystem of functionality around mobility In other words, a group of core applications that are applicable to just about every enterprise user and organization. This is obviously still evolving although some of the pieces already exist but it is fragmented. My expectation is that enterprises will be looking to address necessary management and security functions in a number of different areas. MDM and MFM are but two critical areas, and from my perspective, they are completely complementary.

With the increased usage of mobile devices has also come a host of new needs and new capabilities. Certainly the emergence of Apple’s App Store and all its applications has changed the way people, both consumers and enterprise users, utilize and interact with applications. However, as much as things change, things also stay the same. Most users, be they consumer or enterprise, have a need for email. It is a core function that you expect from a computing device. Web access through a web browser is another. And if you have email you probably need some kind of address book/contact manager, and you may as well throw in a calendar in there as well so you can keep track of your appointments and meetings. I would call these core functions of any computing platform. And lo and behold, the mobile computing devices so popular today offer this functionality.

But there is one core function that has been completely under-served, and perhaps said more strongly, completely missed. And that is file access. How do mobile devices access files that you created that sit on laptops, desktops, corporate file servers or even NAS (network attached storage) devices? That is where Mobile File Management (MFM) solutions step in. Essentially, MFM solutions allow users to get access to files. For us this is an enterprise focus and we address it with our mobilEcho solution. What makes mobilEcho an enterprise MFM solution is that it not only provides the simplicity for the end-user but more importantly, provides the security and management need by IT organizations.

So why is MFM important? Whether we like it or not we still live in a world of files. And for decades we have been producing files – and spent plenty of money doing it. Now we have a wave of new mobility devices – the iPad being the best example of all. So the question is, “how do you access all those files, all that content, which you work with on a daily basis on your laptop or desktop, from your iPad?” In other words, how do we get mobile file access to files sitting on corporate servers, just like I have access to the file servers from my laptop or desktop? Now, we are an enterprise company (for over 20 years now) so we are obviously not just concerned about the access but also about providing safe, secure, and managed access to files – whether they be documents, spreadsheets, presentations or other formats.

For us, this is what Mobile File Management is all about. The ability to access and manage files from a mobile device.