Two-thirds of enterprises are expected to adopt MDM by 2017

Gartner says firms are moving to iOS as main mobile device platform

Orlando, Fla.--Close to two-thirds of enterprises are expected to adopt mobile device management products for their corporate users by 2017, predicted Phil Redman, research vice president at Gartner.

The increasing functionality of smartphones and expanding use of tablets in the workforce are expected to drive growth in MDM adoption, Redman told an audience Thursday here at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo.

Through 2017, Redman estimates that 90 percent of enterprises will have two or more mobile operating systems to support. In the past year, many companies have moved to Apple's iOS as their main mobile device platform, with others to follow over the next 12 to 18 months. As enterprises continue to offer multiplatform support and new platforms emerge, MDM needs will continue to grow, he said.

Redman cautioned that MDM should not be seen primarily as a BYOD security tool. "Enterprises should put a security strategy together, whether that includes encryption, VPN client, and/or authentication, and then bring in the technology, such as MDM, on top of that to put a solution together," Redman told FierceMobileIT.

The Gartner analyst said that tablets are a further driving force for enterprises adopting MDM. Most companies and users are supporting the tablet for limited usage for email and personal information management functions.

Employees are pushing for more enterprise applications to be supported on the tablet, usually through either enterprise or application provider development. As more of these native apps become available and as remote access technology improves, more enterprise content will be stored on these devices, Redman noted. Employees are already synchronizing corporate content into public clouds for later retrieval on the devices, he added.

Redman argued that IT staff can maintain control by separating mobile computing devices into three distinct device classes: trusted standard devices provided by the company, tolerated devices and unsupported devices.

In this scenario, employees would be given a list of supported technologies in each class, along with a budget for the projected amount that each selection consumes. Employees can optimize the technologies according to their requirements without exceeding the budget.

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