Monday, October 29, 2007

Six technologies to enhance mobile workers and take the pain out of managing them...continued part 2

2. Microsoft Mobile Device Manager 2008

Last week at the CTIA fall conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the Mobile Device Manager 2008 for the Microsoft System Center. The idea here is to give IT better manageability over its growing fleet of smartphones and to give smartphone users better and more secure access to corporate data and line-of-business applications.

The product won’t be released until the first half of 2008, but some of the prominent features will include:

* Full device encryption
* Ability to join Active Directory domains
* Over-the-air (OTA) software deployment
* Mobile VPN
* OTA provisioning
* OTA device wipe
* OTA disabling of camera, Bluetooth, WLAN, and more
* Application allow and deny

Microsoft is “trying to turn the smartphone into more of a laptop-like device that can be fully managed and centrally controlled and secured,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst of the Enderle Group. “This makes the mobile phone more of a corporate asset than a security liability.”
3. BlackBerry Enterprise Server

The primary competitor to Mobile Device Manager 2008 is BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Actually, it’s the other way around. BES is an established product that already has much of functionality that Mobile Device Manager 2008 is developing. The difference, of course, is that BES manages BlackBerry smartphones while Microsoft Mobile Device Manager will handle smartphones based on Windows Mobile.

However, on the back-end, BES servers can integrate with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, or Novell GroupWise, while Mobile Device Manager 2008 is tethered to Exchange. For those that are jumping on the Microsoft bandwagon for unified communications (UC), BES can also integrate with Office Communicator and Live Communications Server (and its successor Office Communications Server).

BES provides end-to-end encryption of data, OTA security policies, role-based and group-based administration and deployment, and a centralized management console for BlackBerry devices. While BlackBerry is best known for its mobile e-mail capability, with its Mobile Data System (MDS) applications, BES can also provide a mobile platform to wireless extend business applications. Many of the applications can even be deployed over-the-air. The graph below shows a diagram of MDS in action.


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