Mobility management in 2011 and beyond

Will you opt for MDM products, services, virtual clients or a mix?

Let's hope that 2011 is a year when mainstream enterprises start getting serious about mobility management and security.

With the onslaught of mobile devices and next-generation wireless networks only growing, it's getting about time to step back and figure out how to balance user freedom and expectations with policy enforcement, cellular expense management and protection of your confidential data.

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There are well over 200 companies out there that offer software or services to help you track, commission, decommission and secure your mobile fleet. Among them:

• Multi-platform startups focused solely on mobility management and security;

• Traditional enterprise networking companies;

• Mobile carriers;

• Telecom expense management companies that have added wireless mobility management to their portfolios;

• PC security companies that have launched comprehensive mobility management strategies.

At issue, of course, is the widening variety of devices in the enterprise, including the latest tablets. There are a few approaches you can take to managing your multi-device, multi-OS environment. The first step is to review and amend or establish best practices and processes for both mobile security and cost (usage) control. Once you know what you want to achieve from an access and budget perspective, you can investigate the tools that are candidates for meeting your needs. Among your top options from there:

1. Invest in mobile device management (MDM) software tools from one or more vendors.

2. Use a carrier service based on the same software you could buy directly in Option 1.

3. Move to a "thin client" model, in which certain users have virtual client software on their devices.

It will be interesting to see how Option 3 begins to take shape this year. Using a virtual desktop, users would see what they usually see on their notebook PCs, but it would really be just a reflection of a virtual desktop back in the data center. Any manipulation of data (or code) would take place centrally, much in the way terminal emulation and dumb terminals work.

What's unclear at this point is what the user's virtual desktop experience would be over mobile networks. Bandwidth is limited, and it's not been decided yet what traffic management prioritization policies will eventually be permissible in the mobile WAN.

Learn more about this topic

Desktop virtualization cheat sheet

2011 tech priorities: Finding a place for iPads

Text message of 'death' threatens smartphone security

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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