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Mobile device management shifts to the cloud

John Cox | Aug. 29, 2013
New cloud-based software lets employees register, secure, and manage their personal devices without IT department involvement. And a simplified Web interface automates a lot of management tasks.

New cloud-based software lets employees register, secure, and manage their personal devices without IT department involvement. And a simplified Web interface automates a lot of management tasks.

The software, dubbed Anyware, is completely new code from MobileIron, which originally created a conventional enterprise server application for managing mobile devices. With Anyware, MobileIron intends to become a cloud service that can adapt to handle the mobile management needs of companies large and small.

In a related announcement, MobileIron will offer Anyware specifically integrated with the mobile apps proliferating on the web-based CRM platform Salesforce.com. Currently, Salesforce administrators in the enterprise "have no access to enterprise mobility management," says Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy for MobileIron. That lack is increasingly urgent as more and more mobile apps for Salesforce appear on the vendor's App Exchange. MobileIron will offer "Anyware for Salesforce," which provides from within the Salesforce web interface a range of administrative views, tools, actions, and reports that support a company's mobile Salesforce users.

The initial release of the Anyware cloud service supports iOS and Android devices. End users surf to anywhere.com to register their devices with a username and password, and a device profile is automatically downloaded to their phone or tablet. That's the only step users need to take, according to Rege.

Once registered, users see two icons on their device, one for Anyware and one for the Anyware app catalog, an enterprise-specific site for mobile apps. The catalog is set up by an Anyware administrator, who lists the approved custom and third-party apps that corporate users can, or should, download. The catalog links seamlessly with both Google Play and Apple App Store. As with those online stores, you click on an app in the Anyware catalog and it downloads and installs on your device. And also as with those online stores, users can rate and review the Anyware-listed apps. "This was a huge request from lots and lots of our enterprise customers," says Rege.

Anyware includes a feature to store and then download to a secure on-board container a selection of enterprise documents, which can be stored in different "content catalogs" in the Anyware cloud. One can be for marketing and sales, another for engineering staff. These work-related documents are secured, manageable and kept separate from the personal content on a personally-owned device. It is not intended to be a full-blown document management system or replace them.

Anyware administrators log in via a browser and see a tabbed interface for the Anyware Console. MobileIron has created an extensive set of wizards to guide administrators through tasks such installing certificates, accessing email, configuring Wi-Fi or VPNs, and creating password policies.

 

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