- Post-PC era is not PC-less
- Where policy for mobile devices is managed is a critical question.
To say we are moving into a post-PC era does not imply that the PC is going away, only that much of the energy in the computing markets is moving to newer, more nimble devices. PC shipments in 2011 were down about 4% year over year. This is attributed mostly to the rise of interest in tablets and smartphones, which can both assume some of the tasks traditionally performed by PCs. This is an important point to emphasize when thinking about the endpoint security markets. Firstly, there will be a strong market for PC client security products for years to come. And because of this, traditional endpoint security vendors believe they have potent leverage when moving into the markets for securing tablets and smartphones: namely, that enterprise customers want to consolidate and integrate endpoint security policy across all end user devices. (Everybody better start thinking more holistically about identity management by the way. But that is a discussion for another post).
So a big question that traditional endpoint security vendors would like answered is whether or not enterprise customers want mobile device management and security to be wrapped up into unified client security solutions. If so, this would provide a potent differentiator for these vendors vis a vis pure play MDM and mobile security companies. Primary research done by Current Analysis suggests that this might in fact be the case:
Interestingly, there was little distinction in our survey results between enterprises’ approaches to management and security on tablets, versus their approaches for smartphones. This indicates that enterprises are inclined to solve for both new platform types simultaneously, i.e., to minimize disruption from the proliferation of new mobile computing platforms. We can extrapolate from this trend, which was consistent throughout the responses to this survey, to say that overall enterprises will seek to retain existing device management and security policies and processes, and to treat the new devices in a similar fashion as current IT-centric mobile devices such as laptops, rather than establish entirely new disciplines, processes and toolsets to support BYOD. (see http://www.currentanalysis.com/custom/mdm)
An extrapolation too far? Perhaps, but certainly a seed is here for traditional client security vendors to build marketing positioning around. These vendors should be framing the conversation now.