The end of Mobile Device Management (as we know it)

Just recently, BlackBerry announced the acquisition of Good. This is just one more acquisition of Mobile Security Management vendors. Quite a while ago, VMware acquired AirWatch, which so far has been the most prominent M&A activity in the field of Mobile Security Management.

However, these acquisitions are not the only fundamental changes for Mobile Device Management (MDM) and, in particular, the Mobile Security Management market – with Mobile Security Management being the most important part of overall MDM anyway. The other fundamental change becomes apparent when looking at what companies such as (in alphabetical order) Centrify, Okta, and VMware are doing. All three have offerings in the field of Cloud IAM, in particular what KuppingerCole calls Cloud User and Access Management. And all three have support for securing access to apps and applications from mobile devices. Be it the Centrify Identity Service, the Okta platform, or VMware Identity Manager: All focus on integrating Mobile Security and Identity Management.

From my perspective, such integration is logical. Back in 2012, I wrote about why Mobile Device Management must change towards a more integrated approach. Right now, we are facing a growing number of offerings that support that integration. I appreciate this, because the main challenge is not managing devices but providing secure and seamless access to all types of applications, for all types of users.

This also puts other players under pressure. In order to succeed, Blackberry and Good will have to go beyond providing access to a limited set of secure, containerized applications. Obviously, this is the wrong approach, as they are facing a growing number of competitors that provide secure access to a multitude of different applications. Pure-play MDM players such as MobileIron also will have to rethink their positioning. MDM for itself is not sufficient anymore. It must become part of a broader approach to delivering seamless and secure access to any type of application from any device for everyone. The path that players such as Centrify, Okta, and VMware are following (with very broad support for existing applications) leads to solutions that tackle the core problem – which isn’t securing a device but secure access to applications and information.



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