The new Verizon Enterprise Mobility as a Service offer is not the first cloud-based Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution by a long shot. In fact, Verizon is entering a crowded field that includes companies that have also launched similar cloud-based offers, including Virtela Technology Services Inc. , SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP) and Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY).
The market for mobile device management is expected to be large as IT departments, facing tight budgets and staffing cuts, struggle to keep up with the widespread use of mobile devices to access enterprise data and apps. And they're looking to relieve that struggle without making major capex investments.
Verizon claims to be the one of the first, if not the first, to let IT departments manage all devices and pay for that cloud-based management on a per-user basis. Employees use both corporate smartphones as well as their own mobile devices, so managing access on a per-user basis, regardless of device, offers a more logical approach, says Steve Mancuso, associate director, product management, for Verizon Enterprise Security.
"We will help enterprises manage all devices -- laptops, smartphones, tablets -- and mobility services key to helping an employee be productive on the job," Mancuso says. "And all of that is managed through a single pane of glass -- a portal interface that lets you set policies on a user basis, across all devices that user has."
Those policies can then change as the user's role or status changes, he adds.
Working in a BYOD world
Verizon's new service allows the enterprise to set up a dual persona on a personal smartphone that an employee is using in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) arrangement. A secure container is created on the employee device and managed along with any other devices assigned to that employee.
Included in the service is access to 500,000 Boingo Wireless Inc. hot spots globally for Wi-Fi offload, a move that helps to reduce the cost of keeping mobile employees connected while they travel.
The service is independent of which wireless operators are being used by the enterprise, and covers iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry devices. Verizon is using a mobile device management platform developed by Rova and its dual personality capability for smartphones comes from another partner, Enterproid.
Verizon's Enterprise Mobility is a Service is available in 30 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Why this matters
Mobile device management is a hot topic for IT departments, so creating a solution that offers a greater degree of simplicity -- by focusing on a per-user management and extracting all the other complications -- could give Verizon an edge in serving enterprises.
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— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading