MDM is 'bare minimum' for enterprises dealing with BYOD, says analyst

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For the average enterprise, a mobile device management solution is the "bare minimum" needed to handle the challenges posed by BYOD, said Chris Hazelton, research director for mobile and wireless at 451 Research.

MDM is sufficient for an average company "where mobility has a primary relevance to its core business, they have medium risk tolerance for mobility, they are dealing with private but not necessarily regulated data, and they have a comprehensive stance on mobility management, Hazelton told FierceMobileIT. "You many want to consider a secure container, but we feel that MDM is sufficient in that case," he added.

The mobile management market is shifting from a focus on device management to applications and data management and security. Mobile management vendors are evolving beyond the boundaries and definitions of what constitutes MDM to ensure that they are meeting the needs of IT, according to 451 Research's latest report, "Mobile Management Disorder."

While MDM might be the best solution, enterprises have a number of options to manage and secure employee-owned devices. These include MDM, mobile application management, container-based apps, mobile virtualization, mobile backend as a service, or MBaaS, network access control and software-defined networking.

"The report examines how companies deal with deciding between MDM, mobile virtualization, secure containers, and application management. And where do they apply these solutions," Hazelton explained.

"In this report, we have maps that show where MDM is relevant, where secure containers are relevant, where mobile virtualization is relevant, what types of applications would justify application management and where you would use the emerging mobile backend as a service product," he noted.

The report explained that MBaaS is similar to platform as a service, but it is designed specifically for mobile app developers' requirements. Features provided by MBaaS vendors include push notifications, object upload and storage, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB)/Twitter integration, geolocation, authentication and in-app payments.

"We see this starting to be used by companies. The challenge is that by itself it is difficult to protect regulated or classified data, so those use cases haven't emerged yet," he said.

Hazelton agreed with recent predictions by other research firms that the MDM and MAM markets will merge into an enterprise mobility management market. "Every MDM vendor is already doing application management;" for example, MDM vendors MobileIron and Zenprise have recently announced application management initiatives and Good Technology recently acquired AppCentral, he related.

"When you think what is the next thing that is coming into the enterprise to challenge IT, that will be mobile applications. As an IT manager, I have to deal with five or six devices, three different operating systems, but I have to deal with 50 or 100 mobile applications. That is when it gets to be a challenge," he said.

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