New MDM Features In iOS 6 Could Benefit MSPs


Kris Snyder, CEO at Vox Mobile, an Independence, Ohio-based solution provider focused in the mobile space, said more MDM features around iOS, along with additional APIs and third-party management integration solutions from companies like AirWatch offer significant opportunity for the channel.

"Right now, we're rolling out tens of thousands of mobile devices, all iOS, because [customers] absolutely believe it is easier to develop tiny apps on a regular basis for continuous improvement for their processes and procedures. It's a new agile world created by iOS," Snyder said.

A Vox Mobile customer, a major bank, is poised to rip out its legacy Blackberry base after seeing the new features of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, Snyder said. "They were waiting for the last couple things around security. In the consulting business, this [iOS 6] will make things busy. We have a whole range of people to talk to now," Snyder said.

In addition, it's likely that many IT enterprises will look to outsource help desk resources around mobility as iOS becomes more prevalent within an organization, Snyder said. That means good things for companies like Vox Mobile, he added.

"As the range of things going on in those devices becomes more diverse, it becomes more complicated for IT [departments]. That's not likely to generate value for the organization," he said.

Over the last several years, each release of a new iPhone, iPad or iOS update has helped accelerate interest from commercial customers, Snyder said.

"Our business is event driven. The more events that happen, the more opportunities [there are] for organizations to think about what's next. Being in the managed mobility business, that's a great opportunity to have another transformational conversation," Snyder said.

Snyder hasn't seen the supervisor mode in operation, but Vox Mobile engineers are on it, he said. "Once we know it's coming, we look for companies that can include it in use cases.

While the supervisor mode within iOS 6 might spur more commercial sales, it could dampen the trend toward BYOD within organizations too. Once a phone goes into supervisor mode, it can only be taken off that mode in Apple Configurator on the same Mac in which it was turned on, said AirWatch's Marshall. With that in mind, many employees might not want their employers to have that much control over their phones. Nor will companies want to be responsible for employees' own devices, he said.

Likely, a mixture of BYOD and corporate-owned devices will exist within many organizations, depending on the use case for each employee or group of employees, said Vox Mobile's Snyder.

"One of the things we do is to take clients through the process of segmentation. You have to be prepared to provision parts of your group differently. Sometimes it's appropriate for BYOD. We haven't seen too many companies where everybody gets BYOD. That wouldn't be appropriate. For some, supervisor mode is the right choice when it wouldn't be a choice for BYOD in the first place," he said. "This helps the concept of the need to segment users to their use cases and not just globally. [Supervisor Mode] isn't necessarily going to be something right for everybody, but it's another tool and more use cases will be covered. You will continue to see people design uses around that."

PUBLISHED SEPT. 21, 2012