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Growing recognition of security threats associated with the unrelenting BYOD trend promise to drive mobile security to the forefront of IT agendas in coming months. Moving forward, BYOD policies and other “consumerization” pressures surrounding mobility will challenge IT organizations to widen the scope of their mobile security strategies for an increasingly mobile workforce.
IBM’s recent announcement saw a new mobile security solution introduced to the market, called IBM Hosted Mobile Device Security Management. This new service has the potential to attract interest from enterprise customers as IBM assures provisioning of managed services such as policy management and user compliance monitoring outside of the mobile security features offered by this product. Through collaboration with Juniper Networks, IBM’s service (based on Juniper’s Junos Pulse Security Suite) will cover leading mobile platforms such as Android, iOS, and BlackBerry OS (legacy OSes such as Windows Mobile and Symbian are also covered). Juniper developed a custom API and OEM Toolkit that enables partners such as IBM to customize, integrate and co-brand their mobile security solution into their offerings. The Junos Pulse Security Suite can run as an add-on to select Juniper gateways and SSL VPN appliances, or as a standalone mobile security suite. The software also features the ability to provision OTA policy management to mobile devices with robust device management capabilities, including: anti-virus protection, firewall, backup services, application monitoring, and remote tracking and device wiping. IBM hasn’t revealed how it will price its new service, but Juniper’s pricing for the Junos Security Suite is subscription-based and dependent on the number of devices covered.
The need to incorporate a mobile strategy into broader corporate strategies will only increase in importance as mobile technologies continue to evolve and become further integrated into business workflows. Recognition of the importance of safeguarding intellectual property and business information from theft and misuse is an increasingly critical management issue and risk mitigation challenge, as the rate at which data is moving to mobile platforms – by expanding application scenarios – exacerbates risks currently facing organizations.
Historically, IBM has been very effective in using its global services organization as a channel for IT solutions. Because this hosted service supports a wide array of form factors and mobile platforms, we believe IBM’s Hosted Mobile Device Security Management platform will see success within IBM’s existing customer base with large mobile deployments, as it will complement these environments. While best-of-breed MDM and mobile security ISVs have robust solutions, they will ultimately be forced to compete against offerings such as IBM’s on their ability to deploy solutions more quickly and offer better technical support to their customers. As we’ve written about in the past, a multi-channel strategy is critical for mobility-oriented ISVs moving forward, as competition is becoming more intense – while direct sales continue to be effective, leveraging the channel is critical to both ensure and enhance value to the customer.