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BYOD Spurs Demand For Mobile Device Management Platforms, Resellers

As the BYOD trend accelerates in vertical markets, demand for mobile device management vendors and their channel partners is on the rise.

The consumerization of IT is prompting enterprises and vertical markets alike to embrace a range of new mobile devices. And, as they do, mobile device management (MDM) vendors and their channel partners are seeing a rise in demand for device- and OS-agnostic management and security platforms.

Fixmo, a Sterling, Virginia-based mobile risk management vendor that sells primarily into government agencies, has already started to see a rise in demand for its products because of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. Traditionally, most of its clients have relied on Research In Motion’s BlackBerry devices because of their robust security platform, explained Fixmo’s Chief Marketing Officer Tyler Lessard.

But as government agencies, much like the enterprise, start to swap out their BlackBerrys for employee-owned Android or iOS devices -- or experience a spike in mobile usage, in general -- demand for Fixmo’s mobile device management solutions is increasing.

[Related: Consumerization Of IT A Double-Edged Sword For The Channel ]

"We’ve seen dramatic growth [from BYOD] in our key markets, which are government, financial services, and healthcare," Lessard told CRN, noting that these segments tend to have particularly strict compliance and monitoring regulations. "Even in those regulated industries, and I would say in the case of healthcare and finance especially, there has been tremendous growth of particularly iOS devices in North America."

As a result, Lessard said Fixmo is developing many of its MDM solutions to include monitoring and risk management capabilities not only for BlackBerry devices, but Android and iOS devices as well. Its SafeZone product, for instance, enables organizations to deploy corporate email, documents and apps to iOS and Android devices through a "defense-grade secure container" that encrypts corporate data and ensures it is hosted separately from personal data. It can be used as a stand-alone product, or as a complementary solution to RIM’s new BlackBerry Mobile Fusion platform.

Lessard said that the increasingly diverse set of mobile devices being used in vertical markets today presents multiple benefits to resellers in the MDM space. A few years ago, mobile device management was centered almost exclusively on RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Service. But today, the BYOD trend is spurring an onslaught of new MDM products for Android and iOS, which means a larger product portfolio for resellers to offer clients.

"These resellers now have portfolios of products that they’re selling because of the demand they’re seeing from the growth of iOS and Android and BYOD," Lessard explained. "So it’s good for them because now they have a portfolio of products that they can sell -- and in many cases to the same customer they are selling the BlackBerry Enterprise Server -- device management solutions for iOS, Android, and maybe Windows Phone."

The BYOD trend, especially in vertical markets, is also driving demand for resellers who can help IT teams establish new support infrastructures that accommodate an array of mobile devices. Lessard told CRN that standardization is generally an IT department’s best shot at uncompromised security and well-executed support. But BYOD, and especially the introduction of tablets like the iPad, is leading to complete de-standardization, which means resellers have an opportunity to swoop in and establish new BYOD-friendly infrastructures.

"Now with Android and iOS in there, companies are trying to figure out, 'How do we piece together a lot of different products to solve our problems?'" Lessard told CRN. "So there’s an interesting opportunity there for resellers because it’s no longer 'Hey, I need this, give me that product' -- it’s 'I’ve got a bigger problem on my hands.'"

NEXT: A Reseller's Perspective On MDM

Brian Hajost, CEO of SteelCloud, and MDM solution provider and Fixmo partner based in Ashburn, Virginia, said he anticipates a spike in business as the BYOD trend heats up. As a reseller primarily in the government sector, he said the rate at which iOS and Android devices are being adopted is a bit slower than in the enterprise because of compliance standards, but that the transition will ultimately yield a lot of new business for his company.

"From our standpoint, our prospects and our volume will skyrocket," Hajost said.

He noted that demand for SteelCloud’s services won’t rise only because his clients are switching from BlackBerry to Android or iOS – not all of them necessarily are. It will grow because BYOD is spurring a number of net new users in government agencies who need to gain access to enterprise data on their mobile devices for the first time.

For those who are switching from BlackBerry to Android or iOS, he said the transition is being driven primarily by a need for more apps, and it will definitely lead to a spike in demand not only for MDM solutions but also for mobile device security and mobile device integrity solutions as well.

"There will need to be new technologies like Fixmo’s implemented in order to make BYOD work, especially in the government," Hajost said.

Though it’s not quite on par with the commercial world in terms of Android and iOS adoption just yet, Hajost told CRN he was confident the BYOD shift has already been set in motion in among the government agencies he serves, and that new revenue streams are sure to come.

"Whenever there’s something new, people tend to ask more for our help," he said.

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