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Enterprises extend more business apps to employee smartphones

Ellen Messmer | Aug. 2, 2010
Senior IT executives plan to make CRM, ERP and proprietary apps available to mobile devices

FRAMINGHAM, 2 AUGUST 2010 - Roughly 75% of senior IT executives plan to make internal applications available to employees on a variety of smartphones  and mobile devices, according to new research from McAfee's Trust Digital unit.

In particular, 57% of respondents said they intend to mobilize beyond e-mail and make CRM, ERP and proprietary in-house applications available to mobile devices. In addition, 45% are planning to support the iPhone and Android smartphones due to employee demand, even though many of these organizations already support BlackBerry devices.

This smartphone wave means there will be unprecedented heterogeneity of mobile devices in organizations in the near term, with accompanying demands for security, McAfee believes.

"Heterogeneity is real and enterprises are saying, 'I have to learn to deal with it,'" says David Goldschlag, McAfee vice president of mobile technologies and former president and CTO at Trust Digital, the mobile security vendor recently acquired by McAfee.  

The Trust Digital survey polled 150 large U.S.-based corporations to find out how senior-level IT management -- including CIOs and chief security officers -- plans to integrate mobile devices into the organization's IT infrastructure during the coming year. The survey indicates "a move away from corporate ownership of devices to 'bring-your own' devices," Goldschlag says. One-third of respondents "want to enable users' personal smartphones for business."

Some organizations that welcome employees' personal smartphones say they view it as a cost-saving advantage, though the challenge is determining how to make these employee-owned devices "legitimate endpoints" within the enterprise-security and compliance regimen. However, not all firms want employees to use their smartphones for business purposes and in some cases, there's a move to put a halt to it, Goldschlag concludes.

In addition to its acquisition of Trust Digital, which supports the enterprise market, McAfee is also placing its bets on consumer-focused mobile-device security through its recently announced intent to acquire Singapore-based tenCube for an undisclosed amount.

TenCube offers the WaveSecure mobile-security service to locate, back up, wipe and restore mobile devices through software that can run on Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Mobile, iPhone and Java-powered phones.

About half a million users, mainly in the Asia-Pacific Rim countries, make use of the tenCube service today, and McAfee will be seeking to expand the service, available now in Chinese, English and German, further into Europe and North America. It is likely to be re-branded by McAfee over time.


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