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Author: Mike Anderson
Issue: Who are the vendors that are battling to lead the mobile computing revolution?
Summary: Symantec significantly expanded its mobile app and device management portfolio with the acquisition of Nukona.
Event: On March 20th Symantec announced it was acquiring Nukona, a privately held vendor of mobile application management (MAM) software. Financial details were not disclosed.
Analysis: Mobile management is a fast-moving market, and like other large vendors Symantec has taken the acquisition route to round out its abilities to manage devices, applications and data for both corporate and personally owned devices. Its acquisition of Odyssey Software in March 2012 extended Symantec’s support for Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7 more quickly than its internal efforts could. The Nukona acquisition gives Symantec a solid offering for enterprises that need to manage apps and data in BYOD environments without requiring control over the devices.
Mobile devices create an entirely new set of enterprise issues at an unprecedented pace. Although malware and other security threats do not affect mobile devices with the same intensity as PCs, risks of security breaches and data loss are front and center for enterprises. Mixed-platform mobile environments with both corporate and personally owned devices complicate the issues business has to address.
Key to the Nukona acquisition is its ability to support the BYOD environment and iOS, Android and HTML5 apps. While Symantec already had Symantec Mobile Management (SMM) to provide MDM, Nukona provides an alternative architecture that Symantec lacked and a growing segment of the market desires.
SMM and other MDM products require devices to be registered, managed and controlled. Nukona’s application management approach wraps apps and data on mobile devices with a layer of code that provides security and policy enforcement without having to manage the devices themselves.
This approach will appeal to enterprises that want to support BYOD programs and separate corporate from personal use and data without altering the app experience for users. Similar separation is available using other “sandbox” approaches, but extra overhead and changes to the app experience may be undesirable.
There’s no one-size-fits-all model for managing mobile apps and devices. Some businesses will require tight control over mobile devices and everything they can do, and others will need to enable flexible BYOD support while ensuring that business apps and data are protected. Many enterprises will require both, and Symantec can now play in both segments.
Managing mobility is rapidly becoming an integral part of the operations management requirements in business. Larger vendors like Symantec are taking notice and will continue to take the acquisition route as they find their capabilities can’t match the new specialists.
Aragon expects continued consolidation as the market matures. At the same time, MAM and MDM capabilities are converging to address the business need for a more integrated approach to managing mobility.
Planning Assumption: The MDM and MAM segments will converge into integrated mobile management by 2014.
• Nukona adds a new approach to Symantec’s portfolio, and will expand its reach into additional segments of the market.
• Businesses have varied needs for managing mobility, and those with broad and diverse demands are likely to require both MAM and MDM approaches.
• Enterprises can expect increasing market volatility as the expected consolidation takes shape.