As with BYOD before it, employees have turned to bring-your-own-application (BYOA), enabling them to work faster and more efficiently using familiar tools and software.
According to Ovum, the most popular types of applications sourced by employees are VoIP/IM, enterprise social networks, and file sync and share apps.
Just as the channel helped companies with their BYOD policies, MDM strategies, and solutions, it can now play a large part in assisting with BYOA. IT departments are asked to rationalise all the application and device approaches, secure and manage them, and rectify security problems.
The constant evolution of the threat landscape for mobile devices means MDM tools will remain relevant to anyone managing enterprise mobility.
Enterprise mobility strategies need to be built from the ground up, not from end-user pressure or an application owner. This first phase of planning is an area where the channel can add value.
Start by developing BYOA policies for customers, providing clear direction for their employees. As with BYOD and mobile device management (MDM) policies, it will be about protecting corporate information while enabling employees to use the applications they find most productive.
Companies will also need help to weed out undesirable applications and change users over to new, corporate-approved apps.
Mobile security threats and tools to combat these are developing rapidly as a market. Assist customers to establish formal review processes and keep enterprise mobility strategies and policies up to date.
As the number of applications brought into the enterprise increases, so too does the volume of passwords and user accounts. Identity management is therefore a critical cloud building block.
Companies need to get this right to help with the uptake of new apps, as well as make it easier for IT to retain control.
Organisations will need to understand that not all applications are safe for their staff to use at work. App wrapping and containerisation can help secure data held within various applications, for example by harnessing the features of mobile application management offerings
Help customers to establish an enterprise app store so that the application life cycle can be managed properly and policies enforced. Alongside this, encourage companies to set up a forum for employees to discuss the best productivity apps – and make them available in the company's app store.
Define the levels of helpdesk support available for different levels of application. For example, apps that a company wants its employees to use get full support, while apps that meet only the minimum security standard receive "best effort" or no support.
A number of vendors provide cross-platform capabilities around the scanning of remote user devices, whether corporate or personally owned. This may also check for application and O/S vulnerabilities, alongside sensitive data.
The market for tools associated with scanning and remediating a security breach may be a strong growth area for resellers.
As customers adopt mobile enterprise strategies and infrastructures, there is much the channel community can do. The question is, how quickly can the channel act on this demand?
David Ellis is UK and Ireland director of strategy at Arrow ECS
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