It likely doesn’t come as a big surprise that users are addicted to their gadgets. And lots of them – so much so that the number of devices they carry are steadily on the rise, making security and control that much more difficult. That’s a trend the channel shouldn’t miss.
The gadget overload trends were determined revealed in a Sophos Ltd. study, which found that the average user carries around 2.9 devices, with 12 being the largest number of devices carried.
Also not surprising was the fact that smartphones represented the most popular devices carried, comprising 85 percent of respondents, with eReaders being the least popular at 29 percent. And consistent with overarching industry statistics, Google’s Android narrowly beat out Apple iOS as the most popular mobile platform, coming in at 40.9 percent compared to Cupertino’s 40.5 percent.
In short, nothing new here.
Now, it’s become very clear that users are adding on increasingly more devices and using them interchangeably for both business and personal functions. Consequently, Bring Your Own Device trends have escalated to what has become a Bring Multiple Devices trend. For users, that means more devices to track, more passwords to remember and more operating systems to keep secure. And that means channel opportunity to differentiate.
For the most part, mobile device management is still a burgeoning industry, with growth largely remaining in the single digits. Last year, a MarketsandMarkets report projected the MDM industry to grow at a CAGR of 7.8 percent between 2010 and 2014. But as the Sophos study suggests, users are pocketing more and more mobile devices, which could put the accelerator on more robust growth.
Already, the channel noise around MDM has started to increase, and the market is starting to fill with initial waves of competitors. Vendors are prompted to produce differentiators that separate their solutions in the market, which of which otherwise contain the same basic features. On the channel side, solution providers will also face increasing pressures to differentiate via a competitive blend of service offerings.
“People are buying and using more and more devices, and are increasingly bringing them into the workplace. Inevitably, that trend increases the need to keep those devices safe and secure from threats,” said Graham Cluley, Sophos senior security consultant. “In this age of BYOD smart organizations are implementing security policies to ensure that both corporate and personal devices are protected and secured – keeping sensitive information out of the hands of hackers.”
One likely differentiator? With the groundswell of mobile devices, partners have the opportunity to reinstate best practices training and consulting, and incorporate more policies around individuals in greater MDM strategies. Among other things, partners have renewed opportunities to introduce new and alternative password solutions, while reinforcing policies that require password complexity and frequent changes.
They’ll also be able to provide services that keep customers’ mobile software updated and build out patch management portfolios that extend to mobile platforms. And that includes security software. Partners have routinely been called upon to install and manage security software via MDM solutions. But increasingly, those capabilities will expand to include services that ensure mobile device software is thoroughly patched while scanning and detecting any vulnerabilities that might put users at risk.
Mobile security, like endpoint security a decade ago, is quickly becoming a horserace. And competitors are amid a mad rush to add new combinations of bells and whistles to their offerings in the hopes of getting noticed. The same philosophy will apply the channel. And solution providers that couple their offerings with the most unique and relevant services will likely come out ahead.
With its study, Sophos is indicating a commitment the mobile space that it hopes will keep it credible and relevant as a viable MDM competitor. That means that solution providers wanting to bulk up services offerings around Sophos’ growing mobile platform will likely have opportunities to do so.
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