The mobility and wireless tracks were packed at the Gartner Catalyst Conference 2011 this week in San Diego, underscoring the pressure enterprises are under to accommodate mobility demands. in fact, the standing-room only sessions on Wednesday drew grumbles from some attendees who wondered why Gartner didn’t figure that the hot topic would draw crowds; other sessions in much bigger rooms drew far fewer attendees.
One of the sessions I managed to get a seat to provided an overview of mobile device management technology. With more new smartphones and tablets coming out all the time, the age of the single mobile OS — BlackBerry — is over, said Michael Disabato, a Gartner research vice president. These devices, which employees are bringing into the enterprise, lack management capabilities; mobile device management technology provides a way to control and secure diverse devices, he said.
MDM products can do over-the-air provisioning and provide “virtual containers” to separate personal and professional data, he said. If the device is compromised or lost, a company has the ability to delete the corporate data from it.
Disabato said MDM products are available in client-less and client-based implementations, with the latter providing the most flexibility and more granular management capabilities. He also noted that MDM vendors have created enterprise application stores that bypass the iTunes Store and Android Market for application distribution.
He recommended that companies determine which MDM features they really need by conducting a detailed risk analysis. “There are a lot more on these things [MDM products] than you really need,” he said. IT pros also should understand how the MDM agent will impact the end user, he added.