Virtela Offers Cloud-Based Solution To Manage Mobile Devices

The increasing use of employees' personal mobile devices on corporate networks has prompted Virtela Technology Services to introduce a cloud-delivered mobile device management (MDM) service. The service delivers a network connection to smartphones, tablet computers and other devices, monitors usage of voice and data plans, and archives text messages.

April 22, 2011

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

The increasing use of employees' personal mobile devices on corporate networks has prompted Virtela Technology Services to introduce a cloud-delivered mobile device management (MDM) service. The service delivers a network connection to smartphones, tablet computers and other devices, monitors usage of voice and data plans, and archives text messages.

Virtela is offering the cloud service for IT departments that are being asked to accommodate mobile devices but don't have the in-house resources to manage and support them. The research firm IDC estimates that the number of smartphones in use will grow by 49.2 percent in 2011 to 450 million units (from 303.4 million) just one year ago.

And Deloitte forecasts tablet computer sales to reach 50 million units this year, from practically zero before the first Apple iPad was introduced in April 2010. In many cases, people are using these smartphones and tablets for both personal and work reasons, forcing IT departments to accommodate them, says Mark Weiner, VP of marketing for Virtela.

Delivering mobile device management as a cloud service saves companies the cost of hardware, software and other technology to manage the devices on-premise. It also frees IT staff from having to learn a new IT service when they're busy enough managing the IT they have now, says Weiner.

The Virtela service costs $5 per device per month. In an enterprise with 1,000 devices to be managed, the cost would be $75,000 in each of the first two years. Creating a "do-it-yourself" MDM system on premise would cost close to $194,000 the first year and $169,000 the second, according to a company estimate.The system can be managed through on online portal called VirtelaView so a manager can monitor device usage and send notifications to end users about usage or warnings that they're violating company policy. "It can tell you 'you're approaching your roaming limits' if you're traveling, 'you're approaching your data volume limits--stop downloading YouTube videos if you've got only 10 percent left and we're not paying for your overage,'" Weiner says.

An included service archives text messages from mobile devices, which can be subject to regulations requiring them to be saved if they relate to finance, health care or other sensitive issues. The Virtela MDM service operates on the same Enterprise Service Cloud platform that Virtela uses to deliver other cloud services to enterprises.

Virtela operates 50 data centers globally to deliver its cloud MDM, which is important for delivering the cloud service in certain countries, such as some in Europe, that prohibit personal data from being sent on networks outside their borders. The research firm TechNavio forecasts the global mobile device management market (both cloud and on-premise) to reach $391.3 million by 2014 and identifies some of the leading vendors as Sybase, Microsoft, IBM, HP and Symantec.

There are three features that enterprises usually insist on in an MDM solution, says John Engels, principal product manager in Symantec's Mobile Security Group. Devices should be protected by a PIN or password known only to the user; they should have a "remote wipe" capability, so that if a device is lost or stolen, the data on it can be deleted remotely; and they should include encryption so that data is protected as it is sent to or from the device and stored on it, he says.

See more on this topic by subscribing to Network Computing Pro Reports Under Pressure: How Business Tech Pros Handle Cloud, Mobility (subscription required).

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like


More Insights