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The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) phenomenon has quickly gone from emerging trend to par for the course in most organizations, but the uptake of what has been coined mobile device management (MDM) still has a way to go.

The cloud, however, just might be the key to accelerated adoption.

ManageEngine recently announced a cloud edition of its Mobile Device Manager Plus MDM software, which provides IT administrators an on-demand service they easily scale to manage devices across the organization. Already available for on-premise deployment, ManageEngine president Raj Sabhlok said putting MDM in the cloud is “a proverbial no-brainer.”

The company is seeing customers become more comfortable with cloud-based applications, according to Sabhlok.

“It’s that much easier to go online, access the application, (and) get phones enrolled and configured,” he said, without worrying about application installation and management.

But while the cloud may be emerging as the logical platform for MDM, companies have been slow to deploy any form of it, he said, with average adoption rates currently below 50 per cent.

“In terms of having a mentality of managing these devices, we’re behind.”

Sabhlok said ManageEngine is seeing some positive momentum in the market. The cloud edition of Mobile Device Manager Plus enables IT administrators to manage and monitor mobile devices and applications through a dashboard. And it’s not just smartphones, he said, it’s any endpoint. Features include stringent restriction policies for securing apps and devices, containerization of corporate data for BYOD and corporate-owned personal devices, and integration with Exchange ActiveSync for syncing business emails.

“We need to approach security of newer devices just like desktops.”

Sabhlok said one the benefits of cloud- and SaaS-based models is that it’s a relatively low commitment for an organization to try an application such as Mobile Device Manager Plus, and for smaller enterprises, it bypasses the need for dedicated IT staff to manage devices. “We always read about high profile security breaches and hacks. The reality is SMBs are more likely to be hacked or breached because they don’t have staff and are less inclined to install these applications.”

BYOD was a buzzword and synonymous with MDM, said Sabhlok, but it’s here to stay. The discussion has now moved to managing and securing devices. “These are devices that are pervasive and interacting with company data. I think that mentality may be a new one for many organizations.”

ManageEngine is a division of Zoho, which has more than 3,000 employees, all of who rely heavily on mobile applications – as many as 25, said Sabhlok. “The application management is much more of priority than three years ago when we were (initially) talking about BYOD.” He noted that research analysts usually refer to the space as enterprise mobility management (EMM) now.

EMM is a crowded space full of large vendors and smaller players. Earlier this year, IDC forecast that the annual sales growth by global EMM vendors will slide from last year’s 27 per cent growth rate to a projected annual increase of less than 10 per cent in 2019. Sales are currently projected to top US$2.9 billion, according to IDC.



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