Symantec’s mobile strategy shift: Less about EMM as a freestanding product

The last time I wrote about Symantec's EMM suite was last October, when its MDM and MAM components were combined into a single server (called Symantec Mobility: Suite). Since then there's been a bit of a stir: Gartner dropped Symantec from the EMM Magic Quadrant, noting that they were decreasing their investment in EMM.

The last time I wrote about Symantec’s EMM suite was last October, when its MDM and MAM components were combined into a single server (called Symantec Mobility: Suite). Since then there’s been a bit of a stir: Gartner dropped Symantec from the EMM Magic Quadrant, noting that they were decreasing their investment in EMM. Symantec is also currently undergoing another major reorganization. Curious about the future of Symantec EMM, I reached out to them last week to learn more.

Symantec told me that they are still dedicated to EMM and that nothing’s going away—but in fact they are changing the way they think about and position enterprise mobility.

Instead of positioning EMM as an individual point product, they’ve switched to thinking of it as something that’s part of their broader security offerings (DLP, threat prevention and AV, endpoint management, etc). Apps and devices (both of which can of course be end points) can essentially act as agents to be leveraged by their other products.

However even though mobility is shared among many different products Symantec said they will still have dedicated EMM group (including marketing), and they will still follow the same schedule of EMM improvements. Version 5.3 of Mobility: Suite was announced this week and they’re working on 5.4. They’re also working on improvements to Work Mail (from the Nitrodesk acquisition); Apple Device Enrollment Program support is coming soon; Android for Work support will come later this year; and they’ll support iOS 9 when it arrives.

Taking a quick look at this week’s announcement, Symantec Mobility: Suite 5.3 is all about integrating DLP into mobile apps. Any app that uses Symantec app wrapping and per-app VPN can connect to Symantec DLP servers to have existing policies be applied to network traffic for that app.

Thinking about mobility in a holistic way makes a lot of sense—there isn’t an EMM product out there that doesn’t emphasize all the integrations it can make with other enterprise systems. But for Symantec, it also means that Mobility: Suite might not be as visible in the competitive landscape. It’ll be more just an extension of their security products, mostly for companies that already have other Symantec products.

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