The mobile management fever is about to break

Vendors have gone silly finding security 'needs' to sell, while IT has discovered life with BYOD isn't so bad after all

I don't know about you, but I am so sick of getting product pitches for yet another new way to deny users the ability to get their work done in the name of security.

Here's a sample of these dubious claims:

[ InfoWorld's Galen Gruman walks you through the taxonomy of mobile security technologies available. | Looking to adopt Windows Phone 8? See InfoWorld's detailed comparison of how it stacks up against iOS and Android for mobile security. | Subscribe to InfoWorld's Consumerization of IT newsletter today. ]

  • Of the nearly 100 mobile device management vendors out there, a good half of them provide no more capabilities than what is bundled into Exchange ActiveSync.
  • Dozens of vendors offer private app storefronts, though they're usually little more than a combination of an index to the Apple App Store and Google Play store mixed with a delivery and auditing mechanism of homegrown mobile apps. Apple's Business App Store already provides this, and Google does the same for Google Apps customers.
  • At least a dozen offer all sorts of ways to wrap or isolate apps -- usually via proprietary technologies that commit you forever to their product -- to keep the apps' contents safe. Another half-dozen want you to separate your users' smartphones into virtualized personas, in a sort of user virtualization.
  • At least a dozen are selling VDI and other Windows terminal emulation approaches as a way to bypass iPads and Android tablets completely, even though no one buys an iPad to run Windows -- in fact, they buy it to not run Windows.
  • There's a wave of encryption providers seeking to encrypt the data on your mobile devices and cloud storage, even if those platforms are already encrypted.
  • The antivirus vendors are gleefully publicizing the many attacks in the Android world and bitterly complaining Apple won't let them into the iOS world (where, ironically, their technology would punch the holes in apps' sandboxes that malware would then exploit).
  • Never mind the telecom expense management vendors that keep flogging products that cost more money than they will save you.

It's endless!

The good news is that IT doesn't seem to be buying, and much of the enterprise community is starting to find its BYOD fever break, the cold sweats subsiding.

Two years into the BYOD scare story, fewer than 15 percent of enterprises have deployed an MDM tool beyond Microsoft Exchange's native capabilities, according to the 451 Group research firm. Better yet, they're buying even less of the remaining malarkey. Why? They've realized that the encryption and password requirements, coupled with the remote lock and wipe capabilities, provided by Exchange are all the MDM that most companies need, notes 451 analyst Chris Hazelton. Those who have stricter rules have bought the higher-capability MDM tools to satisfy their guidelines.

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