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MobileIron Adapts To The Changing Rules Of Enterprise Mobility

MobileIron recently unveiled Release 2.0 of their Virtual Smartphone Platform. While previously focused as a mobile device management tool for administrators, Release 2.0 also takes aim at the mobile users themselves, delivering a wealth of self-service tools. It also provides visibility to both the user and IT into how well the mobile device, as well as the networks it uses, are serving the user's remote needs.

MobileIron's Virtual Smartphone Platform consists of two components: a central appliance and mobile clients. In the back office, MobileIron is sold as either a physical or virtual appliance. The clients support nearly all of the major smartphone operating systems, including the iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm webOS and BlackBerry, with Android promised. The client application essentially collects a snapshot of the device and pushes it to the appliance. Based on the particular client operating system, the capture process can be handled in the background or on demand by the user, in the case of the iPhone.  

The feature list of MobileIron Release 2.0 reflects the changing paradigms within the enterprise mobility landscape. Where once all devices accessing corporate data were doled out and controlled exclusively within the organization, the influx of consumer friendly devices has made many IT departments rethink the corporate-centric approach. Release 2.0 delivers new user-facing portals to the product. The first, MyPhone@Work, gives end-users a full view of their mobile device usage, effectively turning text message and call logs into a threaded, searchable history of all of the user's mobile communications. MobileIron's reporting can also show a user a social network graph of their usage, displaying who they communicate with the most. Along with MyPhone@Work, MobileIron now features what they refer to as the Enterprise App Store. Through this portal, administrators can compile a list of applications approved for corporate use and provide quick links for the end-user to find that application on vendors' own stores, developer websites, or hosted on the MobileIron platform itself.

Administrators will also be find a lot to like within MobileIron. The user self-service options will certainly lower support calls, but the new Event Center functionality will enable an automated, proactive approach to mobility costs.  Like the user portals, the Event Center also leverages the compiled usage, but instead uses it to drive actions, such as alerts. For example, user activity can be compared against the enterprise wireless plans, and the user can receive alerts when nearing their usage thresholds to prevent expensive overages. This can be applied to security issues as well, such as alerting IT when a SIM card has been swapped out of a device, providing an early identification of a lost or stolen phone. MobileIron also offers a selected wipe feature. Designed for user-owned mobile devices, a selective wipe can remove any trace of corporate data off of the device without removing the user's personal data and applications.

All of the additions to MobileIron highlight the changing tides in enterprise mobility. For many companies, the days of corporate issued, single platform mobile solutions are over. Today's environment is a mix of company and personally owned devices, running any number of operating systems and applications. Just like the enterprise, IT departments have to evolve to support these devices while maintaining the same levels of service and security, and the tools that manage these devices, like MobileIron, have to grow  to support new mobile paradigms.