No one wants to be the next hacking victim or news headline. Just as organizations are giving the nod of approval for mobile apps, more are saying “no” to apps that leave their company vulnerable to hacking. While that resistance may pose obstacles in the channel, it also creates windows of opportunity for partners to introduce enterprise collaboration tools and a host of security solutions for mobile customers.
The Q2 2012Zenprise MDM Cloud Report identified key trends in enterprise mobile adoption and found that, in light of rising mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to work trends, organizations have made more than 100 mobile third-party apps available to their employees and users. Organizations have also doubled their app deployment from last quarter.
And if anything, the rising tide of approved apps indicates a strong future for channel partners bolstering their MDM portfolio. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most common whitelisted apps were around enterprise-related functions, including Citrix, Adobe, Evernote, Find My iPhone/iPad, Keynote, Google Search, Pages and Cisco AnyConnect, as well as Dropbox and Skype.
Organizations have become increasingly wary of productivity wasters, bandwidth drains and apps known for inherent security risks. In fact, organizations were nearly twice as active in blacklisting apps in Q2 as they were the previous quarter, according to the study. Dropbox and Skype were among the most commonly blacklisted apps, which included Angry Birds, eBay, Facebook and Google Play/the App store.
In addition, organizations are becoming more granular in the way they restrict mobile app users, limiting basic device functionality or apps such as Google Play, Bluetooth and embedded cameras. As such, more than a third of companies limit some app or function of a mobile device, compared to 14 percent last quarter.
“The numbers indicate that enterprises are getting their arms around BYOD trends and are now leveraging mobility as a strategic initiative,” said Amit Pandey, Zenprise CEO. “More enterprise organizations now recognize the significant productivity and operational gains that mobile devices can provide, so we’re seeing companies pushing policies and trying to guide workers toward apps that provide real business advantage.”
That increased sense of wariness is not unwarranted. Earlier this week, cloud collaboration firm Dropbox admitted its site was hacked when usernames and passwords stolen from other Web sites were used to gain unauthorized access to Dropbox customer accounts. The improper access allowed miscreants to pummel users with spam.
While the Dropbox hack could potentially raise red flags for customers around free cloud collaboration tools, channel partners could also leverage incidents like these to promote industry-specific and enterprise-class collaboration tools, such as Box Inc., SalesForce’s Chatter and Cisco Systems Inc.’s WebEx Social, to their customers.
Free public collaboration tools such as Dropbox and others are particularly attractive because of their cost-effectiveness and, subsequently, perceived high ROI. However, partners could overcome cost hurdles by offering solutions that contain more robust security mechanisms and are a much lower-profile target for hackers, while highlighting potential financial losses following a data breach.
Also, according to the Zenprise study, companies are increasingly deploying a variety of productivity-enhancing policies including Wi-Fi, VPN and GPS. Likewise, the use of advanced capabilities such as mobile app tunnels – app-specific encrypted tunnels used to improve mobile-app security and performance – increased during the second quarter.
That bodes well for partners wanting to further delve in mobile device management. And those with security in their portfolio could be pivotal in bolstering customers’ mobile strategies with a variety of offerings, including application control, encryption, mobile security apps and a variety of MDM solutions.
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