Virtualisation is the missing link when it comes to using smartphones securely in the enterprise, according to Ovum.
According to the analyst firm's research director, Kevin Noonan, the enterprise no longer want to be limited about which particular device they use.
“Virtualisation really adds a very sensible layer that gives a better view of the enterprise applications and a better way of dealing with the proliferation of devices that consumers are picking up,” Noonan told Computerworld Australia. “It is also adding some enterprise level security in the middle so that the legitimate concerns that enterprise have can be addressed.
“The enterprise applications are talking to an enterprise grade virtual system and that’s all [enterprise] care about.”
According to Noonan, the presence of virtualisation in the mobile space is “absolutely” a positive step for enterprise, and “the missing piece of the jigsaw”.
The comments follow the news that VMware has partnered with LG Electronics to virtualise smartphones, in an effort to help enterprises develop the necessary security and control over data while allowing employees to use their own personal devices.
The collaboration will include end user computing technology from VMware enabling LG smartphones to run a work account in isolation from a user’s personal account on the one device, to become available next year.
The technology will work much like a server or desktop hypervisor. A user’s personal email and applications would run natively on the Android phone, while a guest operating system contains the employee’s work environment. The devices would also have two phone numbers.
“Enterprise IT organisations are looking for a way to embrace the growing trend of employee-owned mobile devices at work, while still maintaining control over their corporate data,” LG vice president of global enterprise solutions, Ki S Kim, said.
IDC senior analyst for mobile enterprise research programs, Stacy Crook, said smartphones are driving the demand for an improved mobile experience as business specific devices lose appeal and employees look to use their personal devices at work.
“For the business market, the individual-liable, employee-owned model is here to stay,” she said in a statement. “Savvy companies will embrace the trend and procure the necessary means to ensure that all devices with sensitive information are managed properly.”
Commenting on the partnership, Noonan said there was a definite “first-mover” competitive advantage for both VMWare and LG, but also an advantage for the enterprise to have two heavy duty players focusing on the sector’s needs.
“It’s only a matter of time until other vendors pick this up, right now many of the vendors are focusing their efforts on the consumer market and this is quite frustrating for enterprise players because they are continuing to be seen as the blockers and having to say ‘no you can’t run these sort of systems because of security or manageability reasons’,” Noonan said. “This is really starting to open those flood gates, so for device providers and providers of operating systems there is a real need to think long and hard about virtualisation and enterprise customers.
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