Not long ago, organizations did not even dream about the need to geo-fence within their business nor did they ponder the security risk involved in managing the company data on mobile devices. But times they are a changin’. Corporate America is seeing a massive shift in favor of users/employees bringing their own devices (BYOD) to work. Does this prove a benefit or a deficit for the company? In this first installment of my interview series with Pankaj Gupta, CEO of Amtel, Inc., we discuss the upside for a company allowing BYOD and how Amtel is set to support a company’s move toward this popular trend.
Howard: Tell me about Amtel.
is an 11-year-old company that specializes in mobile and telecom solutions for enterprise clients. Initially, we were focused primarily on mobile lifecycle management. Then we began to fill in our portfolio with mobile device management and mobile apps management. Now we support all the major platforms for MDM and apps management.: Apple iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry.
Howard: How long did it take you to make the transition to Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Applications Management (MAM) space?
Pankaj: A bit of MDM history: MDM started when Apple launched their iPhone and employees began to bring their iPhones into businesses. The businesses were struggling at that time and Blackberry was the gold standard. Then the iPhones came in and businesses/employers wanted a solution to managing said devices with all the corporate information on them.
Around 2009-2010, a shift began to occur in MDM. Predominantly, Amtel was managing all the Blackberry devices for our clients. As a company, we were flexible enough to recognize the shift in time and develop a full solution around the market movement. Due to our foresight, Amtel developed our MDM platform; just when the iPhones started to get traction. Then Android came on the scene and Amtel was ready for Android as well.
Howard: What do you feel the current state of MDM is? How is MDM evolving to meet this growing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) demand?
Pankaj: First of all, BYOD is a good thing. Let me explain. Early in the days of MDM, resistance came from companies on whether they should adopt a BYOD policy. The companies were reluctant for security reasons. But if those companies can take care of the security, BYOD is good for the user and for the company. If a company gives more tools to its employees, and the employees are happy, then generally the company sees a higher output from its employees. The companies in turn can shift some of the expenses over to the users, but also the company can achieve higher productivity by opening up the devices for users who in turn also use the device for company purposes.
Amtel offers both corporate-liable and BYOD for our clients large and small. For corporate-liable, the company wants to contain the entire device because the device belongs to the company. If the device was lost, the company wants to be able to recover the device and delete all the sensitive data on it.
The BYOD side is a bit different. It is all about the company information. Amtel containerizes the company information on those BYOD users which shifts from the mobile device management to the mobile apps management arena. Let us say, I give you certain enterprise apps and white listed apps, which you put on your device. Amtel takes care of the security of those apps by protecting the data within the apps on the device. Amtel can remotely wipe and control those apps’ behavior on the device.
A company may ask, “How does this work once the user brings those BYOD devices into the corporate environment?” This is where the compliance plays in. Human Resource (HR) will act on the issue and say to the employee, “Okay, you have a device. I am not going to stop you from using it, but you cannot play games on company time.” Subsequently, the company starts to bring in geo-fencing around those devices. A company tells its employees, “You can bring your device, but as soon as you enter the corporate premises, I am going stop your games and I am going to stop you from downloading video content on the device.”
This is an important reality. The users/employees bring their device into the office, and now they’re downloading video on the corporate network which they can watch in the evening. A company wants to stop the users from putting unnecessary constraints on the business infrastructure. On the front end, the constraints with the Local Area Network (LAN) may involve adding Wi-Fi or increasing Wi-Fi concentrators. On the back end, the Wide Area Network (WAN) side, a company has to get more AT&T bandwidth. So, by limiting what users can do on the company time and on the company premises, you can resolve that capital intensive infrastructure.
In Part II of this interview series, we will examine the security, fast deployment and managed services the cloud can offer. In Part III of this interview series, we discussed the aspects of a company implementing Mobile Data Management MDM for bring your own devices(BYODs). In Part IV, we will discuss how the combination of MDM, MAM and the cloud make for smooth mobile management for willing businesses.