Tech world shifting to mobile but road full of potholes, says IT firm

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With the migration of the tech industry to the mobile world now in full swing, a US-based company that has mobility as its underlying foundation said the move to the mobile space will be a difficult transition process for most companies.

MobileIron president and CEO Bob Tinker
MobileIron president and CEO Bob Tinker

This is because most enterprises are configured with a traditional IT mindset although the whole IT industry has pretty much gone mobile, according to mobile security firm MobileIron.

The disruption caused by mobile is happening at an unprecedented pace, catching businesses off-guard. This rush to migrate, MobileIron said, can lead to a host of errors if not executed properly.

At a recent press briefing at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, MobileIron Bob Tinker said various trends and developments are forcing enterprises to make mobile a major ? if not the main ? part of their strategy.

According to Tinker, one key factor that will further push mobile as the leading concern among businesses is Windows 10, the new operating system from Microsoft that has gained good traction for its ability to run across mobile, desktop, and embedded devices.

?Windows 10 is a major milestone and it adopts a mobile security model. It has gained major interest from our clients and that?s why we have a launched a resource center on how enterprises can safely take advantage of this new operating system,? Tinker said.

In Windows 10, enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions are used instead of group policy objects (GPOs) to secure and manage smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. This fits right into the game plan of MobileIron, which has EMM solutions that it developed in coordination with Microsoft.

Aside from Windows 10, Tinker said the exponential growth of smartphones based on the iOS and Android platforms are also forcing companies to adopt a ?mobile first? strategy. Unfortunately, the executive said he can?t say the same thing for troubled Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry.

?In Asia, the trend is that users are moving off from BlackBerry to iOS and Android. We?re seeing less and less of BlackBerry,? said Tinker.

The much-discussed BYOD (bring-your-own-device) trend is also pushing enterprises to overhaul their IT policies in an attempt empower their employees.

?While this enables employee productivity, companies at the same time must ensure privacy of corporate data,? said Tinker as he underlined MobileIron?s competency in the mobile security space.
Tinker noted that because firms are no longer buying devices from a single vendor, mobile security is also becoming a paramount concern in the enterprise sector.

?The traditional IT set-up is changing. By 2020, smartphone security and management architectures will dominate the endpoint computing environment,? he said.

The mobile security model will become the model of all security platforms,? Tinker stressed. ?Mobile is now becoming a major productivity area and is moving beyond e-mail with mobile apps.?

The executive said the recent release of ?Android for Work? represents a major leap forward for mobile as an enterprise-grade platform. ?Mobility is not just for executives anymore. It?s for everybody,? he said.

The rise of mobile, according to Tinker, is particularly more pronounced in Asia which MobileIron sees as a major market in the future.

?It?s going to be quite a while though before firms will do away with the laptop. It’s just a different form factor but it?s also basically mobile,? he said.

But the writings on the wall are already obvious, Tinker said, as he highlighted the mobile transformation initiatives of various industries: pharmaceutical companies giving phones and tablets to their agents, retailers replacing cash registers with iPads, insurance firms getting documentation with instant photos, and banks doing mobile banking.

Matt Bennett, vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan at MobileIron, said choice is a crucial element nowadays when it comes to digital tools among mobile workers.

?This is where we come in. If you don?t secure mobility, then you secure nothing,? said Bennett, who underlined his company?s competitive advantage since it focuses on mobile security.

A number of industries have even adopted a ?mobile-first? strategy since their business model is basically anchored on mobile, according to Jonathan Andresen, MobileIron?s director for marketing and products at Asia Pacific and Japan.

Andresen cited the case of taxi apps such as Uber and GrabTaxi, whose existence is essentially dependent on mobile. ?For legacy-based firms, our aim is to help them transition smoothly to mobile,? he said.

Tinker said being based in Silicon Valley means that the company is near Apple and Google, as well as Microsoft, making sure that its mobile security solutions work seamlessly with the products and solutions of the tech heavyweights.

The MobileIron chief executive said the market opportunity for mobility security in the enterprise is extremely huge, noting that only VMware is its only real competitor.

The company earned $140 million last year after consulting firm Deloitte named it as the fastest growing company for mobile device management in 2013.

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