Citrix's recent mobility report reveals some interesting trends in mobile applications and security

First, all of the numbers I'm about to cite should be taken with a grain of salt as the data is based purely on Citrix customers deploying enterprise mobility management in the cloud during the fourth quarter of 2012. That's a lot of qualifying statements and therefore by no means a definitive way to suggest grand overarching trends in the mobility space.

First, all of the numbers I'm about to cite should be taken with a grain of salt as the data is based purely on Citrix customers deploying enterprise mobility management in the cloud during the fourth quarter of 2012. That's a lot of qualifying statements and therefore by no means a definitive way to suggest grand overarching trends in the mobility space. But, the report does offer some interesting insight that may or may not be useful for future discussions.

  • iOS was the platform of choice for enterprises, accounting for 58% of devices enrolled within the Citrix products. Android was the fastest growing platform, gaining 11% from one quarter to the previous, with the majority of that growth occurring in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Overall, Android accounted for 35% of activated devices. Windows Phone clocked in third with 7%. Obviously, there's no need to enroll BlackBerries in a Citrix device management scenario.
  • Android devices showed a strong preference amongst field service workers, including those in transportation and utility companies. There was a strong preference for iOS in just about every other vertical.
  • Blacklisting also seems to be growing in popularity, with 18% of companies banning certain apps from its network -- up from 11% in the previous quarter. 
  • Android accounted for 97% of all mobile malware issues. As we used to say in Spanish class, "no bueno."

And what about mobile policy? The use of a passcode as a security mechanism was required by nearly two-thirds of companies. The use of two-factor authentication was only required in 14% of organizations. Other policies for mobile devices include the restriction of device resources and certain apps.

As for applications? Well, organizations typically deployed more than 100 applications on either iOS or Android, plus custom and homegrown apps. The most common third-party apps deployed on mobile devices include: Citrix Receiver (obviously), NitroDesk Touchdown, Adobe Reader (really?), Numbers (but not Pages?), Box, Concur, Salesforce, Dropbox, and Evernote.

The really interesting stuff is when you cross-pollinate the list of apps above with the list of commonly blacklisting apps. Evernote went from being a commonly blacklisted app in the third quarter to becoming the most commonly whitelisted app in the fourth quarter. That's kind of insane, but shows how much Evernote has progressed in becoming an invaluable mobile productivity app.

The most common blacklisted apps, include: Facebook, Angry Birds, YouTube, Dropbox, and Skype. Oddly, Skype was the only app that seemed to fall right in the middle. It was also listed as a commonly whitelisted app. Not sure how an app can be both commonly whitelisted and blacklisted, but it seems everybody hates and loves Skype. Sounds about right for a Microsoft product.  I'm not surprised that Dropbox was on the blacklist, but I wonder how long it becomes until Dropbox follows Evernote to the other side. Clearly, there's a disconnect at the moment if the popular app is not only one of the most commonly used and blacklisted mobile applications.

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