Monthly Archives: March 2012

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


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Filed under Management, Mobile, Security

BYOD or Bust: Report Highlights

Employees using their own devices (smart phones, tablets, PCs) are able to use the technology they’re most comfortable with–which has a positive impact on productivity. But as anyone in IT can tell you, this has risks. To address those, some organizations are creating BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that establish guidelines for proper use. Last month, Kyle Lagunas of Software Advice launched a survey to get a pulse on what companies are doing to manage employee-owned mobile devices.

Kyle shares a few highlights with us here. You can find the full report of his findings on his Blog.

Fact: Employees Are Already Using Their Own Devices for Work

The question many business leaders are asking their HR partners is: “Do we need a formal policy for managing mobile devices?” This is not an easy question to address, as it requires perspective on what employees are doing with their mobile devices. To that end, we asked a couple of questions around usage.

Figure 1: Ownership of devices employees use for work-related purposes.

The most important question when discussing BYOD, of course, is whether or not people are even using their personal devices for work-related purposes. As shown in Figure 1, the majority of employees (77%) are using their own devices to some extent–either exclusively or in addition to company-issued devices–to do work. Of course, “work-related purposes” could be something as simple as checking their email. So we wanted to gauge what else they’re doing.


Figure 2: Employee uses of mobile devices.

According to our respondents, employees are using mobile devices at a roughly equivalent frequency for personal and business use. As shown in Figure 2 above, 67% of employees are using devices for business correspondence (email, phone calls, etc.), and 44% are using their device–company-owned or not–for professional networking.

Whenever employees are using mobile devices to access company data (48%), one would think a policy with guidelines for proper use is a must. However, another survey question revealed that only 30% of respondents’ companies had a policy for managing personal mobile devices in place. Is there a disconnect here? Survey says… Quite possibly.

Will BYOD Become a Higher Priority?

Considering the majority of employees are already using personal devices for work-related purposes, we were surprised that only 12% of organizations without a BYOD policy plan to adopt one in the near future (half of those are currently developing policies). 30% of participants without BYOD policies said that instituting one wasn’t a priority, 33% plan to modify their plans for managing use of personal mobile devices in 2012.

Security risks associated with BYOD policies continue to intimidate some–one respondent said he is “scared to death of security vulnerabilities”–but what would do more to minimize risks than to adopt an official policy? Are organizations better served by addressing issues as they arise? Or should leadership elevate mobile device policy as a priority for 2012?

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Filed under Mobile, Strategy

LiveCirrus – Mobile-Enabling Your Legacy Apps and Content

LiveCirrusAre you in a hurry to get an existing Java application mobile-enabled without a complete re-write of the code? Do you have content that have been developed in Flash that you want delivered via iOS or Android? LiveCirrus, an innovative mobile company, has a way for you to leverage your existing investment of legacy systems and content. LiveCirrus offers a service that allows companies to deploy proprietary software and content to a virtualized system that is accessible via popular mobile platforms. Speaking via phone, Mark Schinkel, head of marketing for LiveCirrus stated, “We create a native shell-app for your content.” This shell wraps your existing app or content, thus allowing it to operate in a non-native scenario.  “We can deliver content and apps to mobile devices that would be cost prohibitive to rebuild as an HTML 5 solution,” he continued. This is a huge win for organizations that have made a significant investment in content or apps who want to continue to leverage them but in a mobile context.

The enterprise offering of LiveCirrus is built on top of their consumer application, named Cloud Browse. Cloud Browse, which has been downloaded over 1 million times, allows users the ability to view and interact with websites containing content that is incompatible with iOS and Android. Cloud Browse opens a desktop FireFox browser session on LiveCirrus’ secure, remote cloud servers to provide the native experience. Both the consumer and enterprise services are hosted on Amazon E3 servers.

Besides delivering the experience in a SSL browser, LiveCirrus’ enterprise offering can secure content in several ways depending on needs. The shell-app can require a username and password upon launch or require authentication on the server side before granting access to the content or application. LiveCirrus offers the flexibility of serving content from their datacenter or yours. Currently the container that the content or app runs under is Linux based. Windows support is offered through emulation at the moment, but native Windows support is on the near-term roadmap.

Getting set-up is an easy process that can take a few days to a couple of weeks depending upon the amount of content and complexities of deployment. LiveCirrus’ enterprise offering is a conversion process right now, but an SDK will soon be available so that companies can integrate their services directly into their mobile strategy. Pricing is typically done on a per user basis. LiveCirrus’ offering is a great option for companies needing to bridge the gap between existing line-of-business investments and the advantages of mobility. Check them out today at


Filed under Apps, Mobile, Productivity

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

This is the second half of a two part series examining data’s central driving role in enterprise mobility. Part Iexamined the aspects of data management. Today we’ll look at how a robust enterprise app ecosystem is derived from the data requirements.

There are many apps and services available that target enterprise users – almost too many. In assessing if an app or service is the right fit for your organization what do you use to inform your judgment? How do you go about assembling your enterprise mobile app ecosystem? What steers your strategy? Data is the cornerstone of a robust enterprise mobile ecosystem. If you have a robust data management process in your organization it will provide the clarity required to select the right apps and services, as well as understand the boundaries for your ecosystem.

Required Capabilities

Once you have done the legwork to develop a data inventory and management practice, you will have a sense of not only the data itself, but also the process that drives this data. This is invaluable in developing an enterprise mobility strategy and ecosystem because you are able to eliminate the noise and distraction of that ‘shiny new functionality’ in any given app. You will be able to zero in on capabilities that support those data processes. App/Service evaluation is less about cool and more about capable. It is important to ask – does this app have the flexibility to fit within my current and future processes?  Knowing how data moves about in your organization will allow you to tightly focus your ecosystem to provide just the right level of functionality to your users. The apps you chose for your enterprise ecosystem need to fit your data processes.

Access & Control – Getting at the Data

When evaluating apps or services, the insights you gain from your data management process will also drive the access and control questions. What sort of data access privileges do you require as an administrator; a power user; a common user? Does an app or service even provide the level of granular access control? It is also important to understand how easy or difficult it is to control data access. An app or service may allow you to fine-tune access permissions, but if it is clunky you could end up wasting a lot of time.

As well, are you able to access the entire data set easily? Are you able to import and export the data? This is particularly important for several reasons. First, if you want to use a service but have existing data you want to leverage, without being able to import it you are DOA .Next, if you are unhappy with an app or service and you want to change, you will need to export the data.  If you can’t export the entire data set you could be stuck or have to start over and heads may roll. Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of manipulating data, especially sales data, in applications like Microsoft Excel. I have seen companies select cloud services with poor import/export capabilities and pay dearly later when they need to access it in entirety.

Data Sensitivity

Data is also in the driver’s seat because many organizations are wanting to mobile-enable existing data sets. Many of these data sets are considered sensitive. This alone is often the deciding factor of leveraging a public cloud service or app vs needing to build a custom one that is on-premise. Data sensitivity often determines an organization’s appetite for risk.

These are just a few of the key high-level considerations that data influences in the assembly of an enterprise app ecosystem. Data is the understated driver in a sound enterprise mobility strategy. Data will determine a number of key directions.  Apps may possess the ‘coolness’ factor, but it is in the data that enterprises will find a ROI with mobility. How else do you see data driving the ecosystem? Post a comment and let me know!

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, Mobile, Strategy

Just For Fun – The Space Needle As a Slingshot for Angry Birds Space


The view from outside our ofiices. My kids are going to love it!

Update – slingshot complete.




Filed under Uncategorized

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.


Filed under Information Management, Mobile, Uncategorized

Threat Management Summit – BrightTALK Panel on BYOD and Consumerization of IT

I was one of the panelist today as part of the BrightTALK Threat Management Summit. The panel focused on BYOD and the Consumerization of IT moderated by Derek Brink, VP of Aberdeen Group, with myself, Patrick Wheeler from Trend Micro, and Mary Siero CEO of Innovative IT participating. The panel topics ranged from mobile strategy to security to policy. Click the image below to watch the recoding of the panel.


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Filed under Mobile, Security, Strategy, Uncategorized