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Ditch the device-level mindset for enterprise mobility management

MokaFive CTO John Whaley explains why enterprises need to change their mindset and scrap the cloud when they take on mobility management.

The corporate desktop and mobile worlds intersect as more and more organizations support consumer devices. But not all of those companies are ready to take on enterprise mobility management.

John Whaley, MokaFiveJohn Whaley

In this Q&A, John Whaley, founder and chief technology officer of MokaFive, a desktop virtualization software provider that now offers secure workspaces that run on any device, explains why enterprises need to get away from the device-level mindset if they're going to be successful with mobility management.

Do you think desktop virtualization and mobility will remain interconnected?

John Whaley: Yes, everyone is going to have a desktop or a laptop, and more and more people are going to have tablets and phones. It's never going to be either-or.

Other vendors are coming in from the MDM [mobile device management] side and are trying to get into desktop management, and then you have desktop management vendors that are struggling to move into mobile. That's one advantage we have -- our single management platform that spans both sides. It's about the users and the devices they're using; it doesn't matter what type of device.

Why should customers believe that enterprise mobility management will really take off?

Whaley: More employees are using mobile devices, whether it's allowed or not. If you try to lock it down, you're just hurting productivity and making people less happy with their job. There is no real argument -- these changes are happening. The question is: What are you going to do to manage it?

Today, there are not really good solutions to that problem because employees will just forward things through Gmail, they'll use Dropbox or Evernote -- they store all their sensitive information with a company somewhere that you don't have any control over. There's huge liability in this. It's important for the enterprise to provide users with a way to use these devices while maintaining all the things that are important for the enterprise, like security and accountability.

Do most businesses today have the right mindset to adopt enterprise mobility tools?

Whaley: It's all so new. There are new products coming out all the time, so there's definitely a lot of confusion.

There's an old-school model of thinking: 'I'm going to manage the device.' All the MDM vendors are doing this. You set policies on the device that you have to enter this passcode before you use it, and if you enter it wrong too many times, it's going to wipe it. And you need to use encryption with all these keys. That is an antiquated way of viewing it. People don't want the company to have the ability to see what they're reading or be able to wipe their entire device.

We've seen a shift away from device-level management toward other solutions. Even if not now, a lot of these devices are not going to be company-liable; the user is responsible for it. So customers need to look at solutions keeping that reality in mind.

And do they have the infrastructure in place to support those tools?

Whaley: More and more, there is no infrastructure, because a lot of things are cloud-hosted. You have a bunch of existing data -- things like SharePoint, people's home directories, shares or internal websites -- and you have to think about how to give access to that.

Some solutions out there say, 'Hey, enterprise, give us all of your data, and we'll store it up in the cloud for you.' There are a lot of downsides to that. No. 1, you get vendor lock-in. No. 2, you get a single point of failure. If Box gets hacked -- which happens -- there's huge exposure there.

What we see from customers is that in the early phases or proof-of-concepts, people do purely cloud-hosted. But when they deploy for real, they put mobility solutions on their own servers. They want to have control over it.

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