F5 Mobility Management Addresses Corporate And User Needs

In addition to cloud, Big Data and virtualization, mobility – and its BFFs, BYOD, MDM and EMM – is dominating news headlines, analysts’ reports and CIOs’ nightmares. IT vendors have rushed to prescribe their panaceas, and now F5 Networks is joining the field with Mobile App Manager. The company said it is a cloud-based solution that extends corporate applications and data to employees’ personal mobile devices while leaving all personal content under the control of the device owner.

A ‘complete’ BYOD solution that combines the policy management and secure application delivery features of the BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM) with the scalability and affordability of a SaaS offering, Mobile App Manager securely connects only corporate applications to the enterprise network, and it manages only the enterprise content and applications on a device rather than the entire device itself, said Rich Campagna, Senior Director Product Management. “IT really has no interest in managing your personal data.”

What he calls BYOD 1.0 started around 2009 when companies rushed to support the growth in enterprise mobility demands. The kneejerk response was to manage this from both the device connection and the management perspectives, but F5 is in the business of protecting the entire enterprise footprint, said Campagna. If you’re going to protect the customer’s footprint, you needed to provide them a better, safer way.

“What makes us really different… we can do that with unmatched scalability. It really complements our holistic security strategy.”

There are a lot of vendors offering BYOD management solutions, i.e. Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), including HP, and SAP. IDC just reported that the smart connected device market grew 27.1% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2012, reaching a record 303.6 million shipments valued at $140.4 billion dollars. Shipments are expected to surpass 2.1 billion units in 2016 with a market value of $796.7 billion worldwide.

The global MDM enterprise software solutions market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31.43% over the period 2011-2015. The dominant players are Mobilelron, AirWatch, Fiberlink Communication, Zenprise, and Good Technology, with other vendors including SAP and Symantec.

According to IDC, MDM vendors generated about $300 million in revenue in 2010, but that figure will quadruple by 2015 to $1.2 billion. And in the next five years, 65% of firms will adopt an MDM solution.

Campagna said F5 already has a very large installed base, and because this is a SaaS offering, customers just need to activate a license. Another advantage is the company’s ability to make things easier for CIOs. Organizations are starting to shift from a security-silo approach, and anything which can reduce the number of vendors should be attractive, he said. “Also, companies are coming up to a hardware refresh and this allows us an opportunity to come in with them,” which opens the door for both existing and greenfield engagements.

The SaaS version of Mobile App Manager will be available in June, and an on-premises version is under consideration. Key benefits include:

-improved security – using the App Wrapper functionality, both internally developed and third-party applications can be quickly and easily secured before making them available to employees on mobile devices; when used with BIG-IP APM, IT can create a secure application VPN for corporate applications;

-improved user experience – employees are more comfortable knowing that their personal content is completely inaccessible to IT, won’t be automatically wiped in the event a device is lost or stolen, and that device functionality (such as the camera) cannot be restricted; also requires minimal storage space on the device, and because applications don’t run constantly in the background, they help preserve battery life;

-cost savings and reduced IT overhead – as a SaaS solution, IT avoids costly hardware and infrastructure investments and spends less time managing and securing enterprise content only rather than entire devices; in addition, organizations that have been using MDM solutions also reduce the cost of providing VPN capabilities to handle all mobile traffic (business and personal); and

-scalability – as a cloud-based solution, it can easily be scaled to meet growing demand to support employee-owned devices, i.e. BIG-IP APM supports up to 200,000 concurrent users.

Author: Steve Wexler

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