Mobility is adding complexity to the enterprise IT market. This in turn is creating opportunities for channel partners across various sectors, such as security, unified communications and wireless LANs.
For example, mobility multiplies the number of attack vectors open to cyber-criminals and makes corporate data more vulnerable through physical loss of devices. Users’ willingness to comply with security policies often depends on their risk awareness levels, which tend to be low regarding smart phones and tablets.
‘Businesses and channel partners have an opportunity to educate users rather than simply impose security policies on them,’ said Canalys Analyst Nushin Hernandez.
To enable a mobile workforce, businesses need to ensure that access to information via mobile devices through the network is monitored and controlled and that network-based data and applications are secure. They also need policies to establish control over access to corporate intellectual property and other sensitive information.
‘Ultimately, they need a context-based policy which is user-, device-, location- and application-aware,’ said Hernandez. ‘But there is no single solution that offers full protection and control on all fronts. Channel partners clearly have a role to play in advising on the best product combinations to suit each business.’
Security is not the only area where channel partners can increase their business opportunities. While the rapid increase in smart phones and pads being used for work is damaging the traditional enterprise PC market, that same trend is driving wireless LAN upgrades. New mobile devices generally lack fixed Ethernet ports, so the wireless LAN is becoming the primary data access network. It therefore has to support a much higher density of devices, with an increased coverage area and much better reliability. Employees often use the wireless LAN to access bandwidth-hungry applications, whether that’s enterprise video communications or their own media libraries, which in turn is driving significant capacity upgrades. Wireless LANs also need to be secured with identity and contextual access policies to prevent data leakage.
Mobility is also affecting the unified communications (UC) market, where vendors now have to extend applications from wired to wireless devices, with no degradation in experience or productivity. But not all wireless devices have the same functionality as traditional wired devices, so Internet-based services become important, as they allow vendors to shift processing power from the device to the network.
‘Understanding end-user needs is critical to implementing a successful UC solution, which is why channel partners are so important: their unique strength is their customer knowledge’, said Canalys Senior Analyst Duncan Clark.
The impact of an increasingly mobile world on the enterprise IT ecosystem will be discussed in detail at the Canalys Channels Forum events in EMEA, from 8 to 10 October 2012 in Barcelona, and APAC, from 30 October to 1 November 2012 in Singapore. 1,000 senior channel leaders will gather to examine the implications of conducting business in a mobile environment.