Due to the valuable and often
sensitive nature of the content residing on mobile devices, and the inherent
insecurity of modern mobile computing platforms, CIOs and IT personnel know
that they must make protecting their mobile end points from the vulnerabilities
and threats that they are regularly exposed to a top priority. Handset OEMs and
mobile ISVs are in tune with these trends and are beginning to augment and
enhance the security mechanisms to protect both corporate liable and BYOD
devices. The goal is in hiding the complexity associated with the enterprise-grade security they are adding from consumers who are the ultimate buyers of the devices.
Hardening the OS w/o Affecting the
In just the past 8 weeks, all
four of the major mobile computing platform vendors held their own developer /
ecosystem oriented events (BlackBerry Live and Google IO (May), and Apple's
WWDC and Microsoft's Build (June). While each respective company's mobile
initiatives (save BlackBerry) weren't necessarily front and center, the
enterprise mobility strategies of each were thoughtfully "rolled out" and messaged. The mobile elements of these events received plenty of attention
from the media and analyst community.
Handset OEMs are very well aware
of the enterprise opportunity ahead of them – while Apple's Senior Manager of
device management Todd Fernandez poked fun at his company for furthering its
enterprise strategy "lookout I just used the 'e' word", Apple did
announce several notable security enhancements to its latest version of iOS,
and did proceed to updated its 'Apple for Business' web site.
The Platform Battle is on
While BlackBerry’s mobile
solutions have historically been synonymous with large mobile deployments in
enterprise settings, the iconic handset manufacturer’s slow move to
touchscreens has significantly impacted its market share and given competing
platforms such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android an opportunity to take over in the
enterprise. As depicted above, this has BlackBerry (and Microsoft) on the outside looking in on the enterprise market.
The security enhancements that Apple teased at WWDC were indeed
notable, IT-friendly improvements included: auto-updates for apps, better app
multitasking, per-application VPN, enterprise SSO capabilities, streamlined
device-management enrollment, better app license management. However,
competitors focused on Google's Android platform (e.g., Samsung, HTC, Huawei et
al – along with mobile ISVs) are taking advantage of the platforms' openness
and innovating on a broad range of enhanced security features on Android
devices. Not to mention that these vendors are able to innovate, harden, and
develop their own security enhanced (SE) features by leveraging the good work
that originated in NSA to better protect the integrity of apps and data on the
Microsoft seems to have blown an
opportunity at the recently concluded Build conference – Mr. Ballmer spent all of 3
minutes on Windows Phone 8. While Microsoft did disclose that Sprint would be
carrying a new device, many of us expected to hear more. It seems clear that
the vendor has been slow on delivering its 'General Distribution Release 2'
(GDR2) update for Windows Phone 8 – although it is rumored that at least 2 GDR updates
are forthcoming and will be delivered prior to the upcoming 'Blue' release.
Regardless of any potential enhancements that are planned, what I see mattering
is where mobile ISVs are focused.
So what does an enterprise Smartphone/Tablet look like? For now, iDevices, and Android devices (with mobile ISVs
focused on both, and the Android inclined handset OEMs who have formailzed enterprise strategies focusing on the latter).