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October 21, 2016updated 25 Oct 2016 9:26am

Will EMM kill traditional security? This CEO thinks so

MobileIron CEO Barry Mainz tells CBR about the EMM shake-up of the mobile and security markets.

By Alexander Sword

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) suites have been described by Gartner as “the glue” that connects mobile devices to the enterprise. The basic proposition that mobile devices need to be enabled and secured in the enterprise is widely accepted, but where can the market go next as it reaches maturity?

As CEO of the only standalone EMM vendor to get Gartner’s accolade of ‘Leader’ in its market round-up (Magic Quadrant), MobileIron’s Barry Mainz is better placed than most to address this.

Mainz took the helm at MobileIron in January 2016. In the time since, he has been focusing on solidifying the company’s strategy, aligning the organisation with the opportunity in the market and speaking to customers, partners and operators.

“The company is starting to gel,” he tells CBR, saying that members of the company are on board with the strategy.

MobileIron

Barry Mainz, MobileIron CEO.

Mainz’s appointment came at a time of huge opportunity for MobileIron. Until its acquisition by BlackBerry, Good Technology was a fellow standalone EMM vendor, if a reluctant one.

First launched in 2009 as a start-up combined with a division of Motorola, Good reached a peak valuation of $1 billion in early 2014. An IPO was filed for the same year before being delayed and then cancelled. Good’s board turned down an $825 million acquisition offer in March 2015, but took the $425 million offer after running into financial difficulties in 2015.

Mainz’s take on the post-acquisition Good is dismissive.

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“We don’t see Good as a huge competitor. We see it as how we remove them from an account rather than competing on an account.”

Good’s buy-out followed a period of consolidation in the market.

IBM bought Fiberlink Communications in 2013, alongside Citrix buying Zenprise in 2013, Dell buying KACE in 2010, LANDesk buying Wavelink in 2012 and SAP’s acquisition of Sybase in 2010.

There was also the acquisition of AirWatch by VMware for $1.54 billion in 2014, with AirWatch currently in poll position in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

By contrast, Mainz says that acquisition is not his focus for MobileIron, which undertook its own $100 million IPO in 2014.

“Being independent allows us to be nimble and move fast,” he says. “When you get acquired, you get the corporate culture injected into your veins.”

He cites the launch of Bridge, MobileIron’s recently released product that aims to let businesses manage Windows 10 PCs in the same way as iPhones.

MobileIron Bridge is a new solution launched by the company.

MobileIron Bridge is a new solution launched by the company.

The solution is mooted as the first solution to unify mobile and desktop operations for Windows 10 using a single console and communications channel. MobileIron claims that this allows enterprises adopting Windows 10 to shed up to 80 percent of the security and management cost.

This focus on new operating systems built around mobile, which is how Mainz views Windows 10, is key to how he sees the EMM market evolving.

“EMM is the digital operating system for the enterprise,” he says. “The EMM market has really matured. It is not just to manage mobile phones; now it is the architecture to manage the enterprise.”

If, as MobileIron says, the Windows platform is designed to enable mobility, why not use Microsoft’s products to manage devices? Mainz cites the company’s experience managing a range of operating systems, including iOS and Android devices, as MobileIron’s advantage here.

If his outlook for EMM is unsurprisingly positive, Mainz has negative predictions for security solution providers, saying that Symantec and McAfee will “not be here” in a few years.

He says that EMM is also a perfect management system for the Internet of Things, which is expected to make an impact on the enterprise in coming years.

If Mainz’s views are anything to go by, then, EMM is going to take on an increasingly dominant role in the enterprise in future, widening its scope from mobile devices to all devices.

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