Enterprise mobility is evolving – and fast. For a few years, talk has been around mobile devices in the context of bring your own device (BYOD) and security. Now the focus is shifting to how to make mobile really work for business. 
“Beyond e-mail on handsets and using mobile devices to allow employees to connect to the corporate network and do their work, companies want to use mobile to differentiate, be more competitive and drive growth. Increasingly, companies are looking to tie business process to employees’ mobile devices.
“So instead of being viewed as a security liability, forward-thinking companies are seeing mobile as a strategic initiative. They’ve got the basics sorted and now it’s onto more. That’s why we’re seeing a tsunami of applications, and we’re not talking about the fun or helpful ones, we’re talking about mission-critical apps that are strategically custom-designed and deployed to support companies’ line-of-business activities.
“Mobile is being put to work,” says MDM channel manager, Elna du Plessis at Securicom, a leading South Africa-based provider of managed IT security services, including Zenprise’s world-leading MDM technology, which it provides from the cloud.
Zenprise, considered to be the most innovative and secure mobile device management (MDM) technology by both Gartner and Forrester, calls next generation MDM capabilities, MDM 2.0. While MDM 1.0 are the core capabilities that support an organisation’s mobile devices through their lifecycle, MDM 2.0 builds on that foundation to give companies the capabilities to use mobile to enhance how they do business.
These capabilities include, amongst others, content security and collaboration which allows for secure distribution of files with the ability to set usage policies around what users can do with them; advanced Web and intranet security which provides for secure access to corporate intranets without full-bore VPN; “business-ready” third party apps, which takes enterprise apps like Evernote, QuickOffice, and Dropbox, and makes them business-ready by adding a wrapper of security, performance, and configuration with little or no involvement from the app developer.
Then, in the direction of where companies are heading, MDM 2.0 provides capabilities for “business-ready” custom apps to be rolled out with appropriate security, for optimal performance, and configuration with an SDK.
Most MDM vendors are focused on configuring the security on devices, and it mostly ends there. This is necessary but not enough. Zenprise’s capabilities extend beyond the device to apps, the network, and data.
“These capabilities take MDM from being very device-centric to being very data and device-centric. This is when mobile starts producing improvements in business processes which ultimately lead to real returns on investment.
“Basic MDM functionality is not going to cut it for companies that are strategically putting mobile to work like this. We’re going to see a lot of SA companies re-looking at their MDM solutions to see if they are going to be able to support them at the next level,” says Du Plessis.
She stresses though, that before companies start considering delivering business-critical apps to mobile users, they must first get to grips with core, device security.
Companies must have the capability to configure and provision devices, enforce security software updates, manage access to company resources from mobile devices, monitor device compliance and decommission devices. This should include the ability to wipe clean mobile devices that have been lost or stolen.
“Before spending thousands of rands on a solution, companies must carefully evaluate whether the technology can adequately address their security requirements, and support their enterprise mobile strategy,” concludes Du Plessis.