Tag Archives: EMM

MaaS360 – Win In the Cloud

This is the second post in a two part series of my discussion with Jim Sheward, CEO of Fiberlink, makers of MaaS360. The first post examined Sheward’s vision for enterprise mobility management. Today we’ll look at how that vision is becoming reality.

MaaS360′s pure cloud strategy creates very distinct advantages. The first is that with a single platform to support, they don’t have to develop and maintain two code bases. They also don’t have to worry about supporting all the server versions that an on-premise solution would need to be compatible with. As Sheward put it, “we don’t have to think of legacy platforms and legacy products in the same way. It gives us a chance to stay ahead in terms of features and capabilities that matter to customers as they try to move forward.”  One of the capabilities that MaaS360 provides is the ability to be up and running in a few minutes. Sheward told me, “The beauty of our platform is that it is an instant on. When people begin to recognize that they can begin to solve their problems 20 minutes after they go to our site, and then compare that to the fact that an on-prem installation is going to potentially take them 90 days; they start to recognize that in a world that changes as fast as this, they may need to rethink how they solve this problem.”

Sheward touted several other cloud advantages. “We believe we’ve taken the best of a SaaS environment – quick to set up, intuitive, easy to use – and combined that with a powerful tool that we can deliver to companies who have the most complex policy and security requirements.”  MaaS360 does this through a multi-tenanted environment that is redundant and FISMA certified. FISMA certification is the highest level of federal certification for security that you can get. They are the only MDM vendor to receive this authority to operate (ATO) under FISMA from the GSA. This certification has strict standards not only for the data center and its redundancy in terms of backup, power, and air but also how code is written, QA, administrative rights, data access, etc. “In an environment like ours, that gets changed every two weeks, thinking through security and functionality and building a solution to world-class capabilities is an important element for meeting client requirements.”

Sheward believes that a competitive advantage that MaaS360 has over other enterprise mobility management platforms, is that through MaaS360 you are able to manage a wide variety of mobile use-case scenarios.  Such as company laptops, personal computers, BlackBerrys, personal iPads, corporate delivered Android tablets, etc. – all from the same window. This ability to respond to a wide-variety of mobile use-case scenarios is key according to Sheward. “Each of these devices needs to be managed differently depending on who the owner is, what the location is, and what the application set is that is on the device.” As tablets become laptops and vice versa those issues will become critical as IT tries to figure out how to manage a more complex environment. “Today you have a content creation versus content consumption challenge between a laptop and tablet. Increasingly, that is morphing. As it does, there will be a desire to limit the number of devices that one carries. Sheward thinks that users will want to have both experiences in the same device.  He aptly justifies this by stating “it’s the same reason we have a phone that has email and pictures. People want to take pictures but don’t always want to carry a camera around. Because of this, we have century old photo companies disintermediated by a desire to collapse into one device what had been multiple devices. People don’t have a predisposition to carry extra devices. That is why the original tablets didn’t work; people couldn’t get enough benefit out of it to bother carrying the extra device around.”

MaaS360 does more than just manage at the device level. Application Management is an integral part of their solution. Their approach to application management is squarely aligned with their cloud-only strategy. “We think that application management is another example of something that is incredibly different from an on-premise versus a cloud based environment.  IT needs the ability to discern the corporate app from a personal one and which one is approved or not. We believe having that take place in the cloud, rather than trying to distinguish this from in the office, is the right way.”

Sheward believes that the user experience should be the primary driver in how the enterprise thinks about assuring adoption of the corporate app store. Beyond just apps, Sheward also believes they need to be thinking about the data and location. “You want to be able to change users behaviors based on location. One of the things that we do that we think is critical, is say that when you are on the corporate LAN you get filtered, even on your personal device. But when you move off the corporate LAN, you can have access to whatever sites you want. We think that context matters, that location matters, and that you need to be able to define policies closely enough to be able to assess context.” He concluded that “Bad security is all on or all off. The need is to enable somebody to get very granular in their capabilities, if they want to, and deliver best practices and comparative information as it relates to their security requirements.”  As enterprises continue to leverage the cloud more and more, MaaS360 will be there to deliver those capabilities for the win!
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.

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MaaS360 – The Vision for Enterprise Mobility Management

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.

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The Desire for Enterprise Mobility

Yesterday there was a prolific (almost heated) exchange on Twitter regarding the correct use of enterprise mobility acronyms. Enterprise mobility has introduced an entire slew of acronyms into IT speak; BYOD, CoIT, MDM, MAM, MIM, EMM, etc. (*see below for the key).  However, the specifics of the Twitter exchange, and who is right and wrong, is not what I want to focus on. Instead, I want to take an historical approach as to why these new terms are emerging and how we should respond.

The dominant compute paradigm is changing. The birth of enterprise computing began with mainframes. A mainframe was a mysterious beast that was housed in an unknown place and did unknown things.  It was the ultimate black box. It was almost magical. The mainframe and our relationship to it was wonderfully personified as HAL 9000 in the film 2001 A Space Odyssey. A mainframe was cold, distant, and powerful. It acted in ways we didn’t fully understand.

As the dominant compute paradigm changed from the mainframe to the PC, so too did our relationship with computing. The PC was something we physically could see and touch on a daily basis. Computing went from something we shared to something that we individually owned. When it didn’t do what we wanted it to do we could swear at it and bang on the side of it. However, the PC was something we left at the office each day as we drove home “packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes” (virtual high five to anyone who can name that reference without using Google). We had a relationship with our PC, but it was bounded by office hours.

But now, with mobile devices, we never part with our computing device. We live in an anytime, anywhere always connected world. My relationship to this device is more intimate than ever. Not only is it physically with me at all times, but the device itself carries social status and social value. What phone you have says as much about you as the clothes you wear or the car you drive. The social circles you are a part of are determined by what apps you use. Your ability to keep connected to friends is dependent upon your mobile device. Many of us are in constant fear of losing our mobile device because of the pictures we’d lose of our kids or places we’ve been. The list goes on and on of how personal the mobile device has become. This will only increase as time goes on. We have stumbled into a culture that is intertwined with our new devices and in turn these devices are stumbling into the enterprise.

This desire for mobility is turning enterprise computing on its head. Not just from the fact that the devices are different but precisely because of our intimate nature with it. The desire to have these mobile capabilities and connectivity in our places of work represents the prime mover in our need for new acronyms. It is the spark that has caused the flame. The terms and idea behind BYOD and CoIT are desire driven. I want my device with me. I want to use it to do work. I like the device I have – hence BYOD. Beyond that, I believe my mobile device and apps makes my life easier and therefore I want it to displace clunky, confusing, and complex IT – this is CoIT.

This desire for mobility in the enterprise is also driving a second ideological change; enterprises and their IT staff want to must manage and secure digital assets in a mobile milieu. Since mobility easily breaks down and dissolves our traditional notion of a network, aka a fence, we are struggling to keep up with building new fences that keep everything properly corralled. Every time we think we have the right size fence, mobility busts through and we chase on after it. It is precisely because of this that we have the second half of the alphabet soup – MDM, MAM, MIM, EMM. At first we thought we could just corral the devices – MDM, then the apps – MAM, then the data – MIM, and so on. We have to keep setting the posts further and further out.

I do think that precise definitions are important, but expecting everyone to be on the same page with terminology for a paradigm so new is not practical. For better or worse, most people have connected BYOD with the desire to have our mobile devices at work and MDM to represent the need to manage the aftermath of that desire. The job of those of us who have a higher than average interest in the industry should be to first, focus on guiding enterprises in the most efficient and cost effective way to meet the desire for mobile devices in the enterprise and second, help identify all security threats so that enterprise management vendors can build the correct fence(s). I think constructive debate around these motifs is healthy and worthwhile. We should share what we know of success and failures. We should be at the forefront of recommending best practices. We mobile champions should work together to bring this new compute paradigm to maturity.

*Acronym Key

  • BYOD – Bring Your Own Device
  • CoIT – Consumerization of IT
  • MDM – Mobile Device Management
  • MAM – Mobile Application Management
  • MIM – Mobile Information Management
  • EMM – Enterprise Mobility Management

Benjamin Robbins is a Principal at Palador, a consulting firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobile strategy, policy, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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Filed under Apps, Information Management, Management, Mobile, Security, Strategy