Tag Archives: MAM

MobiDM – Managing Mobility From the Middle

How can a company you probably have never heard of position themselves to be managing mobile devices all over the globe? Only through the power of creating a network of partners, such as T-Mobile, Vodafone, BT, and Capgemini that places you smack in the middle of it all. That is exactly what Alex Bausch, CEO of VeliQ, set out to do and succeeded. I had the pleasure of meeting Alex at SAPPHIRE NOW and recently caught up with him for further details and insights.

VeliQ, the makers of MobiDM, started out in 2006 under the name of VeiligMobiel. Their first product secured Windows mobile smartphones for government agencies. But as the smartphone market evolved, so too did the product and the company. First, Bausch realized that the company’s name was too much of a mouthful for anyone outside of Holland to pronounce, so it was changed to VeliQ. Second, the product evolved into MobiDM, a cloud-based SaaS offering of what Bausch calls a “managed mobility ecosystem.”

MobiDM provides a middleware solution around three main areas; Mobile Device Management, Security, and Application Management. When developing the product, Bausch looked at the existing MDM solutions available and decided to build MobiDM leveraging Afaria.  “MobiDM is the mobile management middleware with the Afaria engine underneath,” Bausch noted. In 2008 they signed an OEM agreement with Afaria and haven’t looked back since.

Bausch believes that the service should be incredibly easy to use and sees that as a distinct advantage. He says comparatively “Afaria is a Boeing 747 with 500 levers, which you need a license and training for. MobiDM is like flying with JetBlue; come along for the ride and we’ll take care of everything.” Bausch believes that there is a time and a place for a more complex solution, but that MobiDM’s approach to simplicity is appealing to a large audience.

Bausch reaches that audience through lots of partnerships. In fact, the product is sold exclusively through partners. Bausch recalled that, “Because we were in Holland, there was lots of fragmentation to deal with. So we decided to sell exclusively through partners.” MobiDM has about 50 partners worldwide, made up of mostly telecom companies. Chances are you have never seen the MobiDM brand. That’s because partners such as Vodafone, T-Mobile, Sybase, and T-Systems all re-brand MobiDM’s service. “Our product is used under their own brand. That is the difference between us and a company like Airwatch; Airwatch sells direct.”

Through leveraging partnerships, MobiDM’s growth ramped up quickly. As Bausch put it, “We never sold MDM as a point solution; we sold the product as part of a mobile subscription. In year one we were up to 22,000 subscribers.” Their success doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing either, as they signed 9 new partnerships in Q1 of this year. “The market is accelerating, that is why we believe in partnering and the ecosystem.”

With this kind of success, there have been other larger organizations that have tried to copy their offering. These solutions have since folded, while MobiDM continues today. “We have a different approach. We are successful because we have focus. We focused on usability, services andscalability.” As far as future competition, Bausch thinks that, “The threat is that there is so much money being thrown at [mobility management]. It creates a distortion field.”

So what does the future hold for Bausch and MobiDM? They recently released MobiDM Mobile Integrated Cloud. This allows subscribers to the service to integrate with Jamcracker, Single Sign On providers for AD integration, and line-of-business apps for SAP.  Bausch wants to only continue this partnering/ecosystem line of thinking. “The trend that we see is, it’s not MDM that is important, but rather it is the whole ecosystem.”  With the strong partnerships in place, and more to come, it is hard to see how they can lose.

 Mobile Device Management by MobiDM provides a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution which makes smartphone and PDA management easy. All your mobile devices can be installed, managed and secured from a single central portal, regardless of the type of device, network or operating system, leaving users free to go about their business with no loss of productivity.

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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

AirWatch – The View from the Front

Alan DabbiereIt would be hard to argue that AirWatch isn’t a definitive leader in the MDM space. To begin they are in the Leaders Quadrant of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for MDM, their revenue is up 10 fold from a year ago, they are twice the size of their nearest competitor when it comes to employees, and they were the only MDM product that Forrester Research named as “innovator” for both On-Premise and Cloud-Hosted solutions. As well, they believe that any deployment worldwide of more than 20,000 mobile devices is managed by AirWatch. If that wasn’t impressive enough, when I got the chance chat with, Alan Dabbiere, Chairman of AirWarch, he put the icing on the cake by asserting “we’re doing this without any outside capital.”

With all this momentum, I was curious to find out how AirWatch plans to leverage it. I asked Dabbiere what they are doing to stay ahead.  “Scale is important in software. It gives you more money for R&D, more money for building partnerships, for marketing, for a broader product. It’s a pretty virtuous cycle in every way.” The economies of scale create a snowball effect that allow for efficiencies to be passed on to customers. Dabbiere continued, “Software wants leaders to emerge. It is so much cheaper to write software for a hundred million devices than for a million devices. I am amortizing development costs over more devices.” This translates into a more robust platform for clients.

I wanted to know what Dabbiere thinks sets AirWatch apart from competitors. He stated that the differentiator is the “breadth of capabilities. We are the only place you can go to get fully-integrated classic device management, secure mobile browser, secure content locker, and developer toolkit for jailbreak detection, Single Sign On, etc.” He noted that many MDM vendors claim that they provide the same breadth but that upon further digging it becomes apparent they do not. “When you are flying at 35,000 feet, Boston and Bombay look a lot alike.” Dabbiere also noted that their leadership position and size gives them an edge with staying current in the fast-paced realm of mobility. “We were the only product that had every iOS 5 feature built into our product the day iOS 5 was released.” Their large customer base makes them relevant to manufacturers and in-turn able to keep abreast of platform changes.

Being in the front of the pack comes with its challenges though – specifically growing pains. Dabbiere sees the key to avoiding some of the pitfalls he’s seen in the past, lies in the management team. “We’ve got a management team that is going to take us to the next level; that has seen this kind of growth.  We all can finish each other’s sentences and we know exactly what needs to be done.” He also looks to other success stories on how to grow smartly. “We are learning from great companies like Salesforce.com. We absolutely are looking at industry best practices and modeling off those and try to make improvements where it fits our business.”

In discussing the increasing trend of mobility in the enterprise, Dabbiere has a very positive outlook for its viability.  “Mobility can be used safely and responsibly. But it’s like water, you’ve got to channel it; make good decisions. Because if you just try to stop up water you are going to have a flood – you’re going to have a mess.” When it comes to enterprise mobility he believes that companies “are much better off creating policies, creating DLP, deciding what can and can’t go on devices, through good management.”  Dabbiere thinks that AirWatch will continue to have a strong central role as this trend continues. “We see device management, application management, security, content distribution -all of that as one footprint. We view that for the core of it – our space [MDM] is the one to deliver it.” Given that assertion,Dabbiere is definitely correct that when it comes to enterprise mobility AirWatch is “doing something that every device in the world needs.”

AirWatch is the global leader and innovator of enterprise-grade smartphone security and mobile device management solutions. An award-winning company, AirWatch has more than 1,700 customers in the retail, financial services, healthcare, government, distribution, education, hospitality, manufacturing, telecommunications and transportation industries. For more information, visit http://www.air-watch.com

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Mobility Management – Dividing Business from Personal

One of the best parts of covering companies that provide enterprise mobility management is I get to hear about the many cracks and crevices that need filling in order to provide organizations and users a smooth mobile experience. My most recent conversation on this topic was with Nick Turner, VP of Business Development at Enterproid. Enterproid developed Divide, a dual persona mobile virtualization solution that segments your personal and corporate experience on Android devices. The goal of Divide is to create a secure environment for IT, while maintaining an excellent user-experience for end-users.

“BYOD is an inevitable, marvelous thing,” Turner explained. However, mobile devices are not a PC endpoint. “Security assumptions are fundamentally changing and IT administrators don’t have a decade to figure it out. The challenge is there is going to be ten times more endpoints out there and we need to figure out how to secure it in a compressed timeframe.” The problem facing IT is how can they secure these devices today.

Turner recounted that many IT organizations they talk to face pressure from executive mandates to mobile-enable the company as a way of advantaging the workforce and improving productivity. They also face pressure from user demand. Android, with its cost advantages over iOS, is increasingly finding its way into the enterprise. However, in Turner’s experience, IT managers are hesitant about Android in a corporate environment because “they don’t have time to document all the fragmented use-cases of Android, such as OS versions, devices, GUIs, etc. There are too many variations to write up.” As well, IT managers are concerned with the trend of sharpening privacy laws. “How do you secure and manage something you are not allowed to look at?” Turner said. In some scenarios enterprises aren’t even allowed to wipe the employee’s devices.

Divide has solved these issues by creating a dual persona, virtualized environment that can be deployed after-market. With the touch-of-a-button, users can switch between the corporate and personal context. In having one environment for personal and another for business, Enterproid has figured out how to eliminate many of the friction issues that existing between corporate and business. This is done by keeping the environments clean and separate. Their solution is so robust that they can even deploy to the Kindle Fire; what Turner calls “the least enterprise-grade device on the planet.”

Turner attributes the success of Enterproid to their focus on the user-experience. “CoIT [Consumerization of IT] is about users voting based on a seamless user-experience. If a user can’t instantly understand what they are dealing with they won’t use it.” Turner believes that user-experience should be at the top of the heap of all the functional points for mobility management solutions. Divide maintains a great personal experience through allowing a company to bind policy and apps to the business environment without affecting the personal side. Turner believes that users of Divide “are able to enter an environment and quickly understand it to be either my personal or business environment without logically having to think about it.”  Beyond that, Turner thinks that the experience on the business environment should be as close the same as possible as on the native Android experience.

Enterproid’s focus on user-experience bodes well for their future outlook. While Android’s fragmentation is an excellent starting point for Enterproid’s solution, Enterproid wants to extend the virtualization experience to other mobile platforms. Look for exciting things to come from Enterproid!

 

Divide™ was designed from the ground up to secure, enable and accelerate BYOD mobility. Its dual persona client secures corporate information, ensures employee privacy and enables user productivity. And it’s delivered via the cloud making BYOD simple to deploy, scale and manage. For more information visit http://www.divide.com/

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Enterprise Mobility – Data in the Driver’s Seat – Part I

This is Part I of a two-part series on the importance of data in an enterprise’s ability to effectively enable mobility for users. The first part covers the necessity of a solid data management foundation and the second will explore how that foundation drives the app ecosystem.

Besides email, can you name your three most valuable data sets in your organization? If a new data set is created do you have a process to bring it under management? Do you have audit capabilities? Do you know who is accessing your data sets? When discussing the various popular topics of enterprise mobility such as BYOD, Consumerization of IT, Mobile Device Management (MDM), and Mobile Application Management (MAM), the topic of security – especially data security – is always top-of-mind. The idea that one of your most valuable corporate assets is potentially running around on insecure devices is enough to induce a panic attack for many IT professionals.

A lot of mind-share has been devoted to the idea that data, not devices, is of paramount security and management importance to enterprises. Lost or stolen data represents the greatest risk to your organization with mobility. Mobile Information Management (MIM), as a technological solution, is seen as a pinnacle of enterprise mobility management. While I subscribe to the idea that MIM is the desired destination for mobility management, MIM must sit firmly atop of the best practices of data governance. Data governance is often assumed but not discussed or, at best, only briefly mentioned. It is a practical house-keeping exercise that, while mundane, will produce the optimal atmosphere for the success of Mobile Information Management. Data governance is the idea that data is formally managed in an enterprise and adheres to a life-cycle process as would any physical asset in your business. The idea of data governance seems almost too obvious and simple to bother to discuss, but I am always amazed at the number of organizations that I help advise that have very limited data governance practices. Perhaps it is the seemingly ever-changing nature of data. Perhaps it is due to rogue data creation. Perhaps it is just sheer laziness. Whatever it is, mobility presents an opportunity to only compound the effects of poor data governance. That is why this is so important to raise as an issue. Mobility represents another technology layer for access, consumption, and creation of data. Without the proper data governance processes in place, organizations are at risk of piling additional complexity on top of an already lacking process. This will only create more opportunity for data dispersion and exposure risk.

Data governance should be approached as a process issue and not as a control issue. It is far too easy for users to create their own data sets. This is exacerbated further with the services available to users through mobility. If you create a process that works for users rather than against them, your chances of success are greatly increased. Where data resides and how it is conceived might change, but a robust process will be flexible enough to adapt to these changes. This doesn’t need to be an over complex, heavy-handed process. Communication and education are your best and primary tools. Your goal shouldn’t be how to tightly control data but rather developing a network of those who take an active part in ‘owning’ and curating the data.

If you currently lack any process for data governance you could easily begin with performing a high-level data inventory – better to start simple than have nothing at all. A simple data inventory consists of:

• A central record of all data sets
• Who currently ‘owns’ it
• Should it be backed up

There are many more elements that one could collect but this basic data inventory will get your organization to a baseline. Once you have this baseline established you can begin to collect more refined attributes, but more importantly, develop process and community around adds, edits, and deletes to data.

It is most important to remember that a technical solution is a poor substitute for a process. Mobility has activated our imagination and allowed us to see just how easy access and exposure of data has become. It has jolted our senses and brought data security to the forefront of the mobile discussion. But, MIM, as it is often discussed in the public sphere, is a solution and not a process. Its effectiveness is heavily reliant upon good data governance being firmly in place. MIM should be the technology applied to a well conceived process. Technology will never be the solution to bad process. When it comes to your data this is no exception. How good of a handle do you have on your data? Where do you think the process could be improved? Do you think that data governance is overkill? Post a comment and let me know what you think!

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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