Mobile Cloud Computing: 5 Key Trends: Page 2

Posted January 31, 2011

Jeff Vance

Jeff Vance

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Crampton believes that the best approach is to start figuring out how to control data and how to manage access to that data, rather than simply blocking classes or types of device. “If you create different categories of data, you can then define what each level means and how to control it,” he said.

For instance, Level 1 data wouldn’t have much risk associated with it and you wouldn’t lock it down as tightly as, say, Level 3 data, which could be sensitive, proprietary data that may not be available on mobile devices or even beyond the physical walls of the organization.

“You also need visibility into who is coming into your environment,” Crampton said. “An acceptable level of risk, then, could mean that you don’t care if the information goes out of the network, so long as you know who is getting it.”

Organizations will then need to create even more data-use policies for more scenarios. If they do, many mobile risks become much more manageable.

The mobile cloud could again be a boon here. If applications have mobile-app components house in the mobile cloud, it’s easy to shuffle mobile users into a safer, more controlled environment.

3. The Mobile Cloud will change how we work.

Microsoft, Google, Salesforce.com, and plenty of others are rolling out cloud-based features that enable collaboration. Much enterprise collaboration, though, is still done through a tried-and-trued communications medium: email.

And what’s the first application everyone wants on their smartphone? That’s right: email.

Email is also often the first application companies seek to move to the cloud. A recent Frost & Sullivan report sums it up nicely:

"After years of uncertainty, the North American hosted enterprise email markets have finally taken off. As businesses perceive email as mission-critical, they were skeptical about email applications residing outside the enterprise in a third-party data center in the past.

However, the entry of large cloud-based providers and on-premise email vendors has lent credibility to the software as a service (SaaS) delivery model. In addition, technology maturity and cost advantages have helped spur the growth of hosted email services among enterprise users."

According to the report, the size, complexity and storage requirement of email are driving it to third-party providers in the cloud. Compliance issues and demand for mobile access are only going to accelerate that trend. “The basic tenet of the cloud services model is that customers have a greater choice in terms of the number and range of applications,” Frost & Sullivan argues.

The mobile cloud will change how we work in more ways than simply how we access email and how IT manages it. Today, location-awareness is pretty much inherent in mobility. Location-awareness will change how sales teams prospect, how IT delivers security, how marketing and advertising firms interact with customers.

Applications will be more fractured (the single-purpose app model), yet they may well integrate more easily with related apps.

“Mobile devices are going to create some challenges for IT, but they’re going to create a different working ‘sensation’ for individuals,” Crampton said. “When you can do things like connect your social network to your car, all sorts of behaviors will change. There will be a different paradigm for how we use and think of mobility.”

4. The Mobile Cloud will pave the way for the “Internet of Things.”

Imagine a time when everything from refrigerators to parking meters to pacemakers is connected to the Internet?

If you’re imagining a time well into the future, you’re either a cynic who’s grown wary of these promises and predictions (I’ll raise my hand as being guilty here), or you haven’t realized how cheap processing has become and how much downward price pressure there is on wireless networking.

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Tags: cloud computing, networking, mobile cloud computing, mobile cloud, handheld device

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