Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Blog

Symantec Moving Down the Path to EMM

To realize the enterprise mobility vision, there are many elements to building the mobile enabled enterprise. Albeit not limited to, but core elements of any mobile enterprise strategy include mobile security and the application distribution infrastructure.

At MobileCon 2012, VDC had the opportunity for a briefing with Symantec on their new offerings designed to accelerate enterprise mobility initiatives. The offerings include two new programs:  the App Center Ready Program, and the Mobility Solution Specialization Program, as well as a single mobile suite spanning device management, application management and mobile security. Symantec's release speaks to two significant trends in the enterprise mobility market:  making applications ready for mobile devices, and enabling enterprise mobility with an end-to-end solution versus point solutions.

Right now, if an enterprise wants to avoid developing their own applications, they can look to solutions like Symantec's App Center Ready Program to buy applications off the shelf. Initial partners of the Symantec App Center Ready Program include business applications such as Branchfire iAnnotate, Damaka Xavy, Emtrace MoxierMail, GoodReader, iKonic Apps, Infraware Polaris Office and Picsel SmartOffice. Symantec's App Center Ready Program allows a mobile application developer to embed Symantec's security and management features into an application. We expect competitors like Mocana, and others, to move in a similar direction. At VDC, one key area of differentiation that we are observing among vendors is related to enterprise security of the application, which made me wonder, how is Symantec securing the app? Our assessment is that Symantec is using a "wrapper", a security and usage policy around individual mobile applications, which in Symantec's case allows for management features such as encryption, authentication, data loss prevention policies, app distribution and revocation without changing the source code. Earlier this year, Symantec's acquisition of Odyssey Software provided the core for its O3 Cloud Identity and Access Control, the company's cloud information protection platform. Symantec's O3 Cloud Identity and Access Control provides companies with a single, secure access point to cloud applications and services, which is indicative of Symantec's recognition of the need for a single-sign-on solution for enterprise apps. The "wrapper" approach to application security does mean than whenever and ISV releases an update for an application, the application does need to be "rewrapped", which can equate to a few seconds of time required by the vendor. In contrast, some vendors are approaching security using virtualization, which eliminates the need to rewrap the application. We see this as a noticeable difference between Symantec and how some other vendors approach security.

As other practice members of VDC's Mobile & Wireless practice have covered (David Krebs,https://bit.ly/StvT1q; and Eric Klein, https://bit.ly/Q1n5Le), to date, the approach to enterprise mobility has largely been met by vendors with point solutions. However, we continue to see a noticeable shift that reflects vendors making investments and acquisitions to drive mobility as a core competency, and we believe this is the foundation for enabling enterprise mobility. It seems clear that Symantec's market messaging and positioning is geared toward enterprise mobility management (EMM), and moving away from being viewed as a vendor with a point solution for mobile security. Adoption of this trend is true for some of the other SHOWMI vendors, namely SAP and IBM.

Over the past year, acquisitions by Symantec of firms such as Nukona, which gave Symantec the "wrapper" technology and application storefront, and Odyssey software, which provided mobile device management and software development tools, have significantly enhanced the ability of Symantec to deliver an enterprise mobility solution. Clearly, Symantec is moving down the path to enterprise mobility management and is positioning itself as more than a security vendor for mobility. At the same time, the brand name that Symantec brings to EMM is significant. It may be built on the consumer market, but orienting itself to the enterprise does not seem like a stretch. The strength of the Symantec brand name should provide a competitive edge in the enterprise market. Of course, even a strong brand will not eliminate the need for Symantec to successfully integrate and utilize their recent acquisitions to build a competitive EMM solution.

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