Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) vendors have pretty much solved the mobile security challenge. More employees brought more and more devices to work (BYOD) and corporate IT needed to secure the interactions between those devices and the enterprise applications and data that they accessed. Vendors like Aruba, AirWatch, Citrix, Good Technology, MobileIron and Symantec developed a range of products that protect devices and data and provide a variety of IT management tools.
But what are all the EMM products securing? Where are all the apps that employees need — the ones that give them access to the databases, reports, real-time operational analytics and Web-facing enterprise applications that they rely on to do their jobs? The apps that increase their productivity? The ones that make it easy to work from anywhere at any time?
EMM containers and wrapping technologies help the chief security officer, but they don’t help the CIO close the “app gap” between the time when employees request mobile access to the enterprise and IT’s ability to deliver it. The reason is simple — traditional development technologies take too long, cost too much and require IT skills that are in short supply. In other words, they don’t scale. In companies that require tens, in some cases hundreds and — in large-scale organizations — thousands, of mobile apps, that gap will never narrow until CIOs find solutions that will let them generate apps quickly and cost-effectively.
Vendors that supply point solutions to specific sources of data do not allow for mobile apps that need to access multiple sources. That’s a severe limitation. Customized MEAP or MADP-developed mobile apps can take months and cost $100K or more per app, so the ability to generate tens, hundreds and more mobile apps is prohibitively expensive. Even if companies could afford them, EMM software’s security wrapping tools would still require each of these individually developed apps to be separately evaluated and verified for security risks before deployment.
At Webalo we’re re-balancing the entire equation. Instead of creating something new, Webalo connects to what’s already there — enterprise applications from IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com and in-house developed applications — and shortens the mobile app deployment cycle from months to minutes (literally) while integrating with the EMM infrastructure automatically.
The simplicity of Webalo’s approach belies extremely sophisticated technology — technology that uses a step-by-step, point-and-click, cloud-based platform that lets IT configure and deploy mobile enterprise apps virtually on demand. (Trained department-level administrators can do the work as well if IT wants to delegate the workload). They merely point Webalo at the enterprise applications and/or data they want to mobilize, and Webalo automatically generates a direct connection between the enterprise and any Android, Apple, BlackBerry or Windows smartphone or tablet. It’s an app that integrates — out of the box — at the infrastructure level, functioning in sync with the MDM, MAM and other components of the EMM universe. That makes scalability essentially unlimited and time and skill no obstacles.
Webalo-configured apps all run through a single, universal mobile client — one that incorporates standard permission-based access plus the same encryption used by the financial services industry (as an extra layer of protection to EMM). For IT, that means fewer discrete apps to manage, fewer security risks from those discrete apps and the EMM verification is already done for every app.
The challenges of BYOD, the app gap, budgetary limitations and programming skills all vanish — benefits that are greatly appreciated by companies across all industries: Wells Fargo in banking, Volkswagen in manufacturing, the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) in healthcare, Inland Group in real estate, Bell Nursery in retail and many more.
Does it really work? NHS created its first fully functional app in hours, and each of Webalo’s customers is achieving similar results, reducing their enterprise mobility costs to pennies an app … and giving EMM technologies far more ways to prove how valuable they are by actually having apps to protect and secure.
The popularity of EMM as a strategy to manage BYOD will continue to grow. As this happens, it will be critical that companies consider not only how to secure the data but also how to make mobile applications easy to develop and use for employees and IT departments alike.
Peter Price is CEO of Webalo. Peter brings over 25 years of technology industry management and leadership experience to Webalo. He has successfully served as a founder and/or senior executive in the financing, building and sale of four early-stage technology companies, and his extensive business operations experience spans all of the major global software markets. You can follow Webalo on Twitter.