40 BYOD Vendors, One Confusing Market - InformationWeek
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40 BYOD Vendors, One Confusing Market

As enterprise IT gears up to battle mobility run amok, vendors are using a mix of acronyms to disguise few comprehensive offerings. Our research shows little distinction between products that are designated as BYOD and those that are MDM, MAM or something else altogether. So now what?

If there's one thing tech vendors hate it's being told that a marquee product is essentially the same as what competitors offer and, by the way, also not a great match for customer needs. But that's the reality today in the growing mobile device management market, as IT teams try to use software meant for managing mobile devices to secure the data on those systems. It's not all the MDM vendors' fault--mobile operating system vendors are either reluctant to share control of functions like encryption and policy enforcement (Apple), or they let device makers mess with the OS (Google) so they end up exposing the capabilities needed for MDM unevenly, if at all.

Mobile vendors care first and foremost about controlling the user experience--of prime importance in the battle for consumer mindshare. But that goal is fundamentally at odds with letting third-party software vendors provide all the features needed for enterprise-class security, as we discuss in our InformationWeek State of Mobile Security report. But instead of admitting that no one product can do it all, vendors often just slap new names on existing products, many times without adding a whit of new functionality, as they scramble for advantage in a hugely crowded market that is, frankly, overdue for consolidation.

To make sense of this market, we asked 40 vendors, from Absolute Software to Zenprise, not just about features, cost, and functionality, but also how they classify their products: mobile device management, mobile application management (MAM), bring-your-own-device suites, all of the above, some of the above, or the ever-popular "other." While (the so broad as to be meaningless) BYOD was the No. 1 answer, multiple categorization is also quite popular.

This is a bad time for confusion to reign. Ninety-one percent of companies think tablets will increase somewhat or significantly in importance, we find in our new InformationWeek 2013 Mobile Device Management and Security Survey. That's a 12-point jump from our August 2011 poll. Our survey also shows that 43% have MDM software deployed or are in the process of deploying it, compared with 39% still evaluating their options.

We understand IT's reticence to cut a purchase order. These suites tend to lack clarity in terms of not just what they're called, but what they can and can't do: 24 of the 40 vendors surveyed for this report say their offerings could be called a BYOD suite, but 14 also indicate that their BYOD products could qualify as some other type, including MAM and MDM.

Don't sit around waiting for vendors to put neat lines around these product categories. Your goal is to let employees be productive on their personal smartphones and tablets while maintaining data security, and that will likely take more than one software suite--at least until the next wave of ARM chips that support virtualization and allow for multiple personalities on phones: one work, one personal.

Good Technology
Classification: MDM and MAM
Cost: Good Dynamics, $129 for unlimited apps on one device
Deployment options: On premises
Platforms supported: Android, iOS, Windows

"There is no such thing as a 'BYOD solution,'" says Philippe Winthrop, founder of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation, a community devoted to promoting the value of mobility. "Vendors are marketing to the pain points that end user organizations are dealing with. They are making the most of the buzz surrounding BYOD."

It's clear vendors are repurposing and renaming existing products with a BYOD tagline. The key for IT is to stay focused on the capabilities they need and what platforms they'll support.

"We are currently in the trial/testing stages of two MDM vendor software suites," says one survey respondent whose business has tied deploying MDM to a BYOD program. His company's biggest concern is wiping all corporate data from the device in the event it's lost or stolen or the employee leaves the company. You'd think that ability would be table stakes, but only 22 of our 40 vendors offer remote wipe. That's just not good enough--remote wipe came in at No. 4 in desirability among 18 features for centrally controlling mobile devices in our survey, behind only compliance and policy creation and enforcement and the ability to push out updates. In addition, the company plans to enforce strong security measures on the devices, such as passcodes, auto lock on idle, and no jailbroken or rooted devices. But nine vendors don't give IT the ability to take action--such as preventing a device from accessing the network--if that device is not in compliance with those kinds of security policies. (You can download vendor responses here.)

chart: Which of these following mobile technologies will play a  more important role in business productivity at your company over the next 24 months?

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User Rank: Apprentice
11/18/2013 | 5:55:44 AM
Managing BYOD
BYOD will continue growing as mobile devices continue to play a greater role in our lives.  That's why so many IT players are offering solutions to address such BYOD challenges as security and device management.

Does BYOD come with headaches?  Of course it does.  However, security issues and IT management headaches (how do I support all those devices?) can be addressed by using new HTML5 technologies that enable users to connect to applications and systems without requiring IT staff to install anything on user devices. For example, Ericom AccessNow is an HTML5 RDP client that enables remote users to securely connect from iPads, iPhones and Android devices to any RDP host, including Terminal Server and VDI virtual desktops, and run their applications and desktops in a browser. This enhances security by keeping applications and data separate from personal devices.

Since AccessNow doesn't require any software installation on the end user device – just an HTML5 browser, network connection, URL address and login details - IT staff end up with less support hassles. The volunteer or temporary employee that brings in their own device merely opens their HTML5-compatible browser and connects to the URL given them by the IT admin.

Visit http://www.ericom.com/BYOD_Workplace for more info.

Please note that I work for Ericom
User Rank: Apprentice
11/5/2012 | 9:33:05 PM
re: 40 BYOD Vendors, One Confusing Market
Whatever you want to call it, BYOD, BYON, MDM, MAM - people using thier own smartphones, tabets and laptops for business is here to stay and will only increase in size. This will have positive productivity results, and it will also create many security issues. Companies will need to chose weather to use large BYOD systems, or like us use focused software or apps. Example, we needed HIPAA complient BYOD communication for our doctors. We looked at some larger systems like Aruba and Entrepoid, and found they were too large and invasive for the doctors. We eneded up getting a focused HIPAA compliant app (Tigertext) installed text on everyones device for HIPAA complient texting which the doctors felt comfortable with and solved our HIPAA compliance issue. these are the kind of choices that companies will have to make for BYOD.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/3/2012 | 5:57:58 PM
re: 40 BYOD Vendors, One Confusing Market
Did you do an anecdotal survey or do you have side by side comparisons from your research? Inquiring minds need to know. Thank you,
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