MaaS360 is an exception in the enterprise mobility management space. They have a long history of securing mobile devices from a cloud-based infrastructure way before the advent of the iPhone or iPad. Over that time they have supported millions of devices. From their initial beginnings of secure laptop dial-up access, they have skillfully transformed themselves into one of the vanguards of enterprise mobility management.
The key to their success, as Jim Sheward, CEO of Fiberlink (makers of MaaS360) explained during our recent conversation, was witnessing the consumerizatoin of IT unfold. “As it became easier for individual users to enable those [secure] connections on their own through improvements in the OS, primarily Windows, we recognized that it was the management of that device and the underlying applications was becoming increasingly difficult from an on-premise based environment. Today there is a very different heterogeneous world that is driven by the consumerization of devices.” For Sheward, management of the network can no longer happen from behind the supposed comfort of the corporate firewall.
To illustrate his point, Sheward explained how MaaS360 fills a much needed gap. “There is a term we use called the ‘mobile-blindspot’.If I have a premise based server managing my devices and I have end-users that don’t tunnel back in to my network very frequently, then I’m less able to gain visibly and control around that device.” Sheward mentioned how this was becoming more the case as applications and their capabilities shifted to be internet-based. “As the ‘mobile-blindspot’ grew bigger, our opportunity continued to evolve.” The vision was solidified as the proliferation of iOS devices burst into existence. “With the invention of the iPhone and the explosion of mobile devices, it became more apparent to us the opportunity to evolve our strategy to more mobile devices than just laptops made sense.”
Sheward continued that their history and infrastructure gives MaaS360 a distinct advantage. “We have a single instance of our platform that is represented in multiple NOCs around the world that we update on a bi-weekly basis.” These changes instantly become available to their clients and their end-users. In a rapidly changing environment, according to Sheward, that architecture is quickly proving to be the preferred approach. “Over time, we think it will become the default approach and eventually you won’t be able to do it from on-premise.”
Knowing that many in IT approach the cloud as an insecure out of their control, I inquired if they get the clamor of IT departments asking for an on-premise version. “We do, but we see it rapidly changing. We have several large wins over the last two quarters of Fortune 500 companies that had on-premise solutions that completely failed.” He explained that this was primarily due to the fact that IT departments couldn’t meet the requirements to block cloud functionality that posed a security risk. They also needed a solution that would scale for a larger numbers of employees. Another contributing factor was that IT couldn’t keep up with the need for constant upgrades to an on-premise mobility management platform. These companies made the decision to replace their on-premise solution and move to a cloud-based solution. “We have big banks, big pharma, agencies in government, etc. who have recognized that they can’t and shouldn’t solve this problem from a premise based solution. We think the wind is behind us on this front.”
Sheward’s vision of a pure cloud solution is paying off. “When we first delivered our solution, there was a majority of folks evaluating us that said they need an on-premise solution that looks like a BES.” However, this has begun to turn a corner. Sheward continued on to say, “in the middle of last year that shifted to a 50-50 perspective and now 9 out of 10 companies will consider a cloud solution. Very few say they are on-prem only. While there are still ‘server-huggers’ out there, that is becoming a smaller and smaller subset.”
Sheward stated that a cloud approach to enterprise mobility management is supported at the highest levels of the enterprise. “The higher up in an organization you go, the more credibility you get with our [cloud] approach. CIO’s recognize that data centers aren’t core to 99% of the businesses that they are involved in. Data centers are just an asset.” Sheward thinks that if that asset can be deployed and managed more efficiently, thus allowing organization to focus on core capabilities, it is all the better. He doesn’t see the win as a cost savings, but one that brings increased reliability, scale, and efficiency. “We make the proposition that says, ‘Why in the world would you want to dedicate a team to take a mission critical system down every two weeks in a BYOD world – simply so you can have the equipment behind your firewall?’ You can use those resources a lot better than that.”
Next up – see how MaaS360 has transformed this vision into a cloud-based reality.
Fiberlink is the recognized leader in software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for secure enterprise mobile device and application management. Its cloud-based MaaS360 platform provides IT organizations with mobility intelligence and control over mobile devices, applications and content to enhance the mobile user experience and keep corporate data secure across smartphones, tablets and laptops. For more information, please visit http://www.maas360.com.