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GFI Eyes BYOD with Cloud MDM for MSPs

Managed service providers using GFI MAX platform can now help their clients wrest control of their BYOD environments.

GFI MAX, the managed service provider (MSP) division of IT services specialist GFI Software, has launched a new product that extends the reach of MSPs to smartphones and tablets.

The company's newly launched, cloud-based GFI MAX Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution provides several of the essential RemoteManagement console tools that enable employers to support bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives without risking data loss or compromising their networks. The solution stems from GFI's acquisition of VizualMobile, a provider of cloud-based MDM.

GFI is offering customers a "sneak peek," of sorts, allowing them to enroll mobile devices on the platform free of charge and get basic information of the iPhones, iPads and Android devices that have invaded their networks.

The service's other tiers -- there are three in total -- unlock added functionality. GFI MAX MDM provides mobile device tracking, remote wipe and locking capabilities. Automated provisioning tools allow administrators to configure security policies along with VPN, Wi-Fi and email settings on business-owned devices.

GFI sees a big opportunity in helping MSPs and organizations safely leverage the booming popularity of tablets and smartphones in the workplace. The company cites its own survey results, which show that 20 percent of mobile devices don't have security enabled.

Fewer than a quarter of respondents said that their company's security policies are enforced on their devices. GFI also found that 95.6 percent of mobile device users hop on a public Wi-Fi connection to access company data.

"As more and more digital natives enter the workforce, employees will likely have different expectations for mobile device usage at work as well as different tolerances for corporate standards or limitations," said Dr. Alistair Forbes, general manager for GFI MAX. For MSPs, the solution helps them "create deeper relationships with their customers while enabling them to simultaneously protect their network and avoid the risk of alienating their employees," he added.

And there are indications that MDM may be a big market opportunity for MSPs and essentially end free tech support for clients that want to on-board and manage new mobile devices. In a poll of GFI MAX customers, the company discovered that less than a third of MSPs (28 percent) were generating revenue from offering their customers mobile device support.

In a statement, the company boasted, "here's the point where you stop working on mobiles free-of-charge and start monetizing the market."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.




Tags: mobile device management, GFI, BYOD


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