MDM not the only avenue to BYOD security. But technology is simply not there yet.

My reply to Steven Song’s post on Cisco Security Blog

Yes. Mobile virtualization is the way to go. In an increasingly Consumerized IT world however, meeting end-user expectations in terms of convenience, cost and usability is even more important than addressing corporate IT professionals’ concerns about security and manageability. Despite a few remarkable attempts by VMware, Citrix and WISE, technology is simply not there yet.

Virtualization of mobile devices running Android and iOS can only succeed if:

  1. The true native OS user experience is preserved. A Windows desktops on an Apple iPad looks like a Frankenstein monster. Try to write a Word document on Android or to access a Windows remote desktop from an iPad to understand the level of pain involved – Where is the mouse? How do I right click? The masses will never accept such horrific user experience.
  1. Battery consumption is not significantly affected. These are mobile devices with low-power processors optimized for limited battery autonomy. People will stop using any virtual solution that forces them to constantly recharge their devices or even worse to tether the device to the power grid – as it happened in the first days of dual-mode smartphones Wi-Fi/cellular.
  1. Bandwidth consumption is not significantly affected. Bandwidth is scarce and still expensive for the average consumers. The moment users realize that their corporate virtual something is costing them expensive data overage they will stop using it immediately. By the way, what happens to productivity and user acceptance when decent wireless coverage is not available or unreliable? The end-user expectation is that their toys keep going even when those magic 5 bars disappear.

Consumerization 101: true virtualization of mobile can only succeed if end-users like it. This requires genuine native OS experience, low battery consumption and no bandwidth overhead.

I will believe it when I see it.


About Cesare Garlati
Co-Founder, Hex Five Security, Inc. - Chief Technologist prpl Foundation

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