October 25, 2013, 10:07 AM — Technology has become a little like fashion, seeing constant change and promoting a good measure of built-in obsolescence. For instance, BYOD and MDM have been top of mind throughout IT for a good two to three years. But like last year’s Uggs, their glow might be starting to fade.
First, let’s not forget that MDM – mobile device management – has been around since the inception of the BlackBerry in 1999. Corporate-liable devices have all needed management and security, just as PCs (whether desktops or laptops, connected by an Ethernet cable, Wi-Fi or a cellular signal) have needed these capabilities.
It’s only the relatively recent dawn of the multi-platform mobile enterprise environment that turned the spotlight on MDM as a market in its own right, demanding systems that can support dissimilar user equipment. And the multi-OS, multi-device trend in enterprises is largely a result of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement. So MDM and BYOD are tightly linked.
But consider some reasons the bloom might be off the BYOD/MDM rose:
• Not all enterprises have a good handle on BYOD. Many have trouble building a business case for it and are revisiting a corporate-liable model for devices. Last year’s Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, for example, found that 53% of organizations officially condoned BYOD, but no single best practice had emerged for managing the trend. The research also found that there were more companies prohibiting BYOD than allowing and subsidizing it.
• MDM offerings are growing commoditized. So they are being folded into broader toolsets that are required to adequately handle mobile app security and management.
"Mobile device management is in chaos right now, and I think this market is going to die," in favor of app management and shielding, John Girard, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, was quoted as saying at the researcher’s 2013 Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit.
BYOD has made certain platform versions difficult to control with out-of-the box MDM functionality. MDM vendors can only provide functionality based on the APIs available to them by the platform or device makers. Enterprises attempting to enhance that functionality run into limitations.