As IT managers and CIOs struggle with (BYOD) initiatives, the quickest fix is to adopt a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. (See our MDM buying guide for guidance.)
Several mobile industry insiders, though, beg to differ, and many have been pitching me lately on the idea that MDM is a passing fad. Some think it should be integrated as a feature in security suites or infrastructure management software. Others believe it will be integrated into some sort of cloud-based app management tool. Still others believe that when RIM opened up BES to other OSes, it was pretty much game over for other MDM vendors.
The most interesting take is that MDM will start to refocus around risk. Startup Fixmo believes that MDM, as is, approaches things with a faulty premise.
Fixmo recently surveyed four airlines, Air Canada, Delta, American, and British Air, asking them about lost devices. “Lost phones outnumbered lost laptops 50 to 1,” Segal said. “Tablets were also frequently lost, usually just left in the seat pocket.”
The problem with MDM is that someone could find the lost tablet and access sensitive data before it is ever reported as lost or stolen. Or, let’s say it is reported as lost; if the device is in airplane mode, someone could still pilfer anything stored locally on the device, because it wouldn’t wipe until it connected to a network. And while MDM might enforce password protection, someone sitting next to you could easily see that you’ve entered “8345” or drawn a “z” to access your phone.
“This is such a huge risk that I wouldn’t be surprised if someday a lawyer who loses a poorly secured tablet is disbarred,” Segal said. With MRM in place, the lost tablet wouldn’t grant access to any sensitive data without a secure wireless connection, which would then give the MRM back-end engine the ability to check on the state of the device and lock down the device, wipe it or request a higher level of authentication if a suspicious behavior is noticed.
Google Wallet launched in May of 2011, prompting retailers around the country to accept NFC (Near Field Communications) payments at select locations. However, to access those terminals, users needed to have NFC technologies built into their smartphones or be able to augment their current phones with technologies from third-party providers, such as Device Fidelity.
2012 will see far more phones shipped with built-in NFC technologies, and many more retailers (and banks) will line up to reap some of the profits. However, are customers going to line up and go “paper money-less” in the coming months? Or will simply pulling out a credit card seem simpler?
“Besides the convenience aspect of using your smartphone vs. utilizing your credit card, the integration of location-based services and online coupons alongside NFC will also motivate users to begin to adopt this technology,” said Tom Kemp, CEO of Centrify, a provider of security and compliance solutions.
Another concern will be security, but with companies like MasterCard, Citi, and most of the big mobile carriers poised to support NFC’s expansion, making consumers feel secure should be a priority.
One interesting possibility is that carriers could try to supplant banks as major lenders. Consumers probably won’t care much one way or another. Banks are widely loathed today, but carriers aren’t exactly loved by consumers.
1. Mobile malware. We all know this is a never-ending issue, so it’s not so much a trend as an ongoing disappointment.
2. RIM threatens MDM vendors with Mobile Fusion. This would have been a great move two years ago. Now, it very well could be too late.
3. Tablets. Yes, adoption will continue to rise, but the status quo has been pretty well covered in pretty much every tech and even consumer pub under the sun. Until somebody really challenges the iPad, there’s nothing new here.
4. Overtaxed bandwidth. Yes, a proliferation of devices in the enterprise will tax corporate bandwidth. Yet isn’t bandwidth always overburdened, especially in the U.S. where carrier monopolies mean that even in major metro areas, few of us have access to fiber-optic broadband connections?
5. M2M takes off. I’d argue this trend is already well under way, but the fact that GE announced that it plans to build an “industrial Internet,” which will mostly consist of machines talking to one another, could mean I’ll be revisiting this topic soon in 2012.
Do your mobile predictions differ from the ones above? Let us know in the comment section below.