Managing the apps your enterprise uses – Mobile Iron

Posted on May 15, 2013


as you may know I work for IBM,  and we have an aliance with Mobile Iron so we can provide our clients with their software.  It is a platform that will look after the devices your employees use, the enterprise apps that run on them and the data used by those apps.

So if your one of the 50% or so of firms that are not yet making use of mobile apps then red on, because as and when you do you will want a platform like this.

Here is some more information about them and their product.

Mid May 2013

Below are my notes from the Mobile Iron Webinar.
But first here is the short “exec summary for those that don’t want to wade through lots of text.
Mobile Iron provide a platform that allows a business to manage the devices and the applications they deploy onto their employee’s mobile devices (phones, tablets etc).  They also provide a secured and managed content service to control access and use of corporate apps and the data within, eg to stop cutting nd pasting outside of corporate provided apps, or printing.
A little history:
Mobile Iron, started in 2007 and launched in 2009,
have several thousand customers, and a large percentage of Fortune 500 companies, and approaching half of their customer base is non-USA, which shows a great deal of strength in their technology and business model.
Have very high customer support satisfaction.
Functional view:
In short: Able to manage the employees devices, provide security for BYOD including access control, selective wipe and real time cost management.
They point out that the PC/Web period of dominance, led by intel, is coming to an end, and we are now entering the “Mobile First” era, where large companies can begin to provide mobile as the primary IT platform for their users.
It’s more than this though,  because new apps and IT solutions are developed for mobile devices first, and support for PCs are then provided for afterwards, thus allowing the corp to really gain the benefits of these smart, portable and popular devices.
Of course this means that the corporate’s content and data has to be made ready for mobile, and that access controls are created to protect to this data access through these mobile channels.
Along with the use of mobile devices comes a wide range of devices and access routes, and therefore the mobile first company has to be able to manage this heterogeneity in machines.
The Corporate’s lifecycle for mobile first:
Mobile Iron sees a lifecycle that starts with:
Assess and Plan -> Build -> Connect -> Manage -> Secure -> Extend -> Transform.
In otherwords there is more to this than simply putting in a platform and hoping for the best.  Because Mobile Iron recognise this they work with their partners like us, to ensure we are up to speed, and can provide the best advise and services to our customers.
The mobile Iron platform is a purpose build for device and application management, and not cobbled together from  other parts, they are proud of this, and see it as an important part of their solution.
Consists of a platform, and three functional units that utilise the platform, and all these use e a security gateway called sentry.
Here is a picture taken from the Mobile Iron web site.
Image showing the platform and the application

Image showing the platform and the application

The Mobile IT Management Platform (a.k.a Mobile Iron VSP) is used by the IT department to setup the rules, users, IDs and certificates.Also able to see reports.  Users are able to self register and on-board their device and gain access to their apps. The key function is to allow for access to the customer’s back end, with directories, databases and the like.
This engine supports several functions:
  • MDM – provision and management of devices.
  • MAM – Provision and management of applications, policy and configuration, data containerisation for DLP, and a scalable shop front for in-house and public apps.  Can protect data, and to ensure that docs and data that is provided through the system, will ensure only authorised apps can open the doc or data to protect against leakage or loss of data.
  • MCM: Mobile Content Management, to provide controls on the supply of data.  Enhanced with their intelligent gateway
  • Sentry:the intelligent data gateway, that uses policies and two way certs to protect data en route
App connect Demo
I cannot show you the demo here,  but a short description follows:
Has a service that provides an access to sharepoint docs, where the user signs in to gain access,  and this also allows for shared devices, eg at a nurse station or similar, the user can select any of the devices.
For example a business decides to provide Office2 HD to there employees,  however they want to protect the data and documents that will be edited in the app.
Mobile Iron are able to take apps like this, and to add a secure corporate cloud file share. In the demo,  they show how without their App Connect product you can simply open files and copy text / print etc.  However with their platform, you can make it more secure, for example:
*  the use of a passcode to enter authorised applications, this is specific to Mobile Iron, not the tablet’s pin code.
* It will restrict data transfer to/from the Mobile Iron deployed apps, then it will not allow copy and paste outside of the corporate apps.
* Also can disable the print service to prevent leakage.
This is policy based by types of employees, so able to make these restrictions according to job role.
Mobile Iron University (MIU) is a set of training materials to get you up to speed with the product and mobile in general.
Posted in: Apps, Architecture, mobile