Over the last year Symantec has been making a big move into the enterprise mobility management (EMM) space. Today they’re continuing that effort by announcing several new EMM improvements at Symantec Vision in Las Vegas. In advance of today’s news, I caught up with Brian Duckering, senior mobility strategist at Symantec.
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First, let’s do a quick regroup on where Symantec is with their mobility efforts. They made their first step a little over a year ago by acquiring mobile device management (MDM) vendor Odyssey. (Symantec had been OEMing Odyssey for a while before the acquisition.) Then a few weeks later they acquired mobile application management (MAM) vendor Nukona. That was followed up in July by releasing a slew of features and other products. Overall, this newly-formed mobility group has been growing rapidly.
Today’s announcement brings four new components:
- MDM/MAM integration: MAM and MDM are now together in single console . This isn’t really a new product, though. Here’s what happened: After Odyssey and Nukona were acquired, they became known as Symantec Mobile Management and Symantec App Center, respectively. These two products got combined into Symantec Mobile Management Suite (along with Symantec Mobile Security, an Android and Windows Mobile antivirus product.) The problem was that there wasn’t any real integration, so Symantec is addressing that by adding more robust MDM features directly to Symantec App Center. App Center will now be able to take care of most enterprise mobility management use cases on its own. However, this doesn’t mean that Symantec Mobile Management (which has SCCM and Altiris integration) is going away, so now it looks like they’ll have two MDM products.
- Mobile mail client: Symantec announced a sandboxed mobile email app for iOS and Android. It will be available in public app stores, and manageable through Symantec App Center.
- SSO for MAM: Users with multiple apps managed under Symantec App Center will now be able to take advantage of single sign-on. Supported authentication techniques include LDAP, SAML, Symantec O3, and CA SiteMinder.
- MAM connection security: Apps managed by Symantec App Center app wrapping tool can now be forced to use SSL communication, and URL whitelisting can be used to make sure apps only send data to approved servers.
Last fall I wrote that one of Symantec’s biggest challenges would be integrating MDM and MAM and making sure they had all of the components of a full enterprise mobility management suite. I was a little bit wary because the conventional knowledge about Symantec is that their acquisitions tend to languish and don’t always end up very well integrated. So how are they doing this time around?
In this case, it is true that Symantec App Center and Symantec Mobile Management aren’t actually being integrated, but now that App Center can take over most of the functions Mobile Management, then who cares how they accomplished it? It’s still a good step. We also got the email client for iOS (a component that was missing before) and the ecosystem of App Center-compatible partner apps is continuing to grow. These are all steps in the right direction for Symantec’s enterprise mobility management offerings.