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Updated: December 9, 2012 15:19 IST

Mobility for a dynamic workforce

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The high growth rate of the mobile device market has been influencing businesses to embrace mobility in order to stay competitive, productive and meet the increasing demands of a dynamic and younger workforce.

According to IDC, the total number of mobile workers using mobile devices to access enterprise systems is expected to reach 1.2 billion by 2013, which is more than 33 per cent of the global working populace. With the number of different mobile devices gaining access to company network and corporate data, one of the critical areas that IT managers have been trying to address is about how efficiently they can manage this influx of BYOD (bring your own device), the multiple operating systems, as well as the numerous applications and features deployed on these devices.

However, it would be interesting to note that in the current global scenario, most enterprises are not adequately equipped with the budget or the bandwidth to support such complex mobile deployments. These constraints have been compelling chief information officers to rethink their IT strategy and adopt a different model, Mobility-as-a-Service (or MaaS), to tackle their growing mobility business needs.

Touted as the next level of enterprise mobile device management, MaaS enables on-demand access to applications and data to the rising mobile workforce while allowing IT administrators round-the-clock control of these mobile devices, applications and data beyond the corporate perimeter.

This trend of moving mobility management to a third-party, cloud-based service has some additional benefits also:

It supports all devices through a single network-based platform and identity management while unifying security applications from multiple vendors. It is important for the IT department to know their mobile workforce to ensure their users receive the levels of security that enable them to be most effective.

MaaS ensures data security by having a tighter rein over the settings and configurations of mobile devices through data encryption, backup and authorisation validation.

It simplifies end-user experience by offering smooth system compliance, automated support and a single path to connect to any network.

Consolidated operation allows the IT department to evaluate and manage the security policy compliance of mobile networks.

MaaS manages risks involved in implementing and maintaining policies that are imposed even off campus where compromised mobile devices can be quarantined from the network until the risk is mitigated before bringing them back to the business. It allows for a smooth IT transition through a combined approach between capital expenditure and operational expenditure model.

MaaS allows scalability as this service supports a fixed-cost infrastructure where businesses need only deploy and pay for the mobile services they require or have used.

Though at a fairly nascent stage in the country, end-to-end mobility services are being provided to customers in critical areas that include mobility strategy development, application development, managed mobility and mobile platforms.

However, for several businesses, the lines between security management and the mobile environment are converging as security remains one of the major concerns while implementing enterprise mobility and BYOD.

Although MaaS is only popular among large enterprises now, it will soon percolate into the mid-market segment as they realise that mobility services are vital for their businesses.

As enterprises seek mobility solutions that are simple, cost-efficient and that have the ability to operate flawlessly, it is important to partner with the right service providers who can help with secure management of networks and devices, and also offer operational support, helping enterprises customise the solutions to meet their own unique needs and scale up as their needs diversify.

As the requirements become more strategic in nature, vendors need to be ready with a future-proof roadmap in order to build trust and be qualified to gain access to the enterprise.

(The author is director, Enterprise Sales, India, Research In Motion Ltd.)

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