N-able Technologies is beta testing a new tool that would allow MSPs to manage and support mobile devices using Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems, according to executives. The mobile device management functionality is expected to be generally available to N-able partners by January, which is welcome news to MSPs that have been waiting for N-able to add MDM.
Robert Grapes, director of product management at N-able, told attendees at N-able's Global Partner Summit in Montreal Thursday that they will be able to manage devices, including iOS versions, with insight into information such as whether or not roaming is on or off or GPS is enabled or not in order to track devices. In addition, MSPs can see the current battery charge, how much space is being used and what applications are installed on the device, he said.
"If the device is lost, you can mark it as such. You can choose to erase the data if you want. It gives you the capability to control those tasks," Grapes said.
Gavin Garbutt, CEO of N-able, noted during his keynote that smartphones surpassed PCs in sales last year and that the gap will continue to widen through 2015.
"These things are beautiful, elegant, intuitive. It's the one thing I've seen in my lifetime that's really taken over," Garbutt said.
Chris Reid, product manager at N-able Technologies, told partners that the company's N-central 9.1 remote monitoring and management platform will support MDM for iOS and Android, as well as separate mobile devices from other devices on the network.
"Customers are bringing their own device, and they want access to corporate resources. Other [companies] provide devices to customers. What's really important is that those doing BYOD vs. providing hardware, the provisioning needs to be different. It needs to be flexible. We've taken into account that scenario as well," Reid said.
The news was met with applause from partners at the conference, some of whom said they'd been waiting for MDM functionality.
"It is something we're excited about," said Todd Bartlett, Senior Consultant at Practical Networks, Lower Southampton, Pa. "We have a couple of customers who come to mind quickly that have been struggling with 'Do we continue with Blackberry, do we go with iPhone,' and the questions are how do we manage that, how do we bring them into the enterprise and have security. So this is right on time for us."
Ted Warner, president of Connecting Point of Greeley, Colo., said hearing details about MDM was the main reason he came to Global Partner Summit.
"I looked at it yesterday, and I'm thrilled. It sounds like we'll be able to buy it for about $1 a license. We'll probably be able to go to market with it in the $4 or $5 range. I've got a whole wealth of clients that want this, that come to us and say I've got iPads, iPhones, Android devices that we need to manage,'" Warner said. "Last week, two school districts, one said they're buying 500 iPads, another said they're buying 900 iPads. They said 'Connecting Point, can you please manage these for us? We need to know where they are, what's on them, and to control the applications.' Now with the tool like this, we'll be able to do this."
PUBLISHED OCT. 25, 2012