Juniper spins off VPN and NAC business to Pulse Secure; Pulse Secure buys MobileSpaces.

You could say that yesterday a new vendor entered the EMM space. Juniper Networks announced that it completed the process of selling Junos Pulse-its SSL VPN, security, and network access control business-to Siris Capital, creating a new company called Pulse Secure.

You could say that yesterday a new vendor entered the EMM space.

Juniper Networks announced that it completed the process of selling Junos Pulse—its SSL VPN, security, and network access control business—to Siris Capital, creating a new company called Pulse Secure. At the same time, the newly-formed Pulse Secure announced that it’s acquiring EMM startup MobileSpaces. The result is that we have a new enterprise mobility management/network access control/VPN company.

How does Pulse Secure fit into the space?

There are various approaches for combining EMM and networking. Many EMM vendors have partnerships with existing networking vendors, but simultaneously, many EMM vendors also have gateway and connectivity products of their own—for example there’s Citrix NetScaler, Mocana Atlas, MobileIron Sentry, AirWatch Mobile Access Gateway, etc. Many networking vendors have EMM and MDM products, too, but we haven’t seen many of those get very popular.

The Pulse Secure approach will be to combine VPN, NAC, and EMM together into one package, with policies that have visibility and control into everything. (This is of course forthcoming, pending integration.)

If you compare Pulse Secure/MobileSpaces directly to other EMM vendors, you’ll notice that their approach is quite different. While most EMM vendors are going beyond MDM to do app wrapping and SDKs, identity management, content management, email apps, browsers, and other productivity apps, Pulse Secure/MobileSpaces concentrates entirely on device-enabled management frameworks. There’s a lot you can do with them, however. iOS has built-in mobile app management features that can be leveraged using the MDM protocol. For Android, MobileSpaces has a unique mobile app management framework that allows any app to be managed on any device (it’s really interesting stuff—check out the article I wrote about it) plus Android Work will add more options, too.

From that point, using the Pulse Secure/MobileSpaces approach, the idea is that you can use best-of-breed productivity apps (i.e. “normal” apps) instead of whatever versions happen to be compatible with your EMM platform.

However, this misses out on other main technique for mobile app management. In situations where you can’t manage a device or don’t want to put all your trust in the device’s built-in frameworks, you need to use apps that have management frameworks built in. (You can find in-depth examinations of device-based versus app-based MAM here and here.) Right now, Pulse Secure/MobileSpaces doesn’t have a way to do this on iOS. There is a Junos Pulse SDK to build VPN connections into mobile apps, so that could potentially evolve into a more full-feature MAM SDK, or they could find a separate MAM partner.

So what do you think? When comparing Pulse Secure/MobileSpaces to other EMM vendors, there’s no denying it looks very different—it’s coming from the opposite direction. We’ve been assuming that major desktop, app, and EUC-oriented EMM vendors are going to continue to be the predominant players. But there’s still a lot of space in the EMM market, and the Pulse Secure/MobileSpaces approach could take advantage of that, too.

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