Clouds can be found floating all over Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona. From Ford Motor Corp Executive Chairman W.C. Ford’s keynote describing how we need to rethink cars as being, like smartphones, pieces of larger networks to vendor announcements and demonstrations of mobile device management (MDM) solutions, clouds offer scalable, flexible, usage-priced network services that make information and communications technology (ICT) solutions easier and faster to try and buy for customers and faster and easer to update and support for providers. Many clouds have a server lining that extends to the customer data center in a hybrid cloud model that connects the past to the future by combining cost-effective cloud architectures with customizable corporate servers deployed on the customer premises.
One such example is the MobileIron Connected Cloud / Virtual Smartphone Platform (VSP) from AT&T announced by AT&T on day 1 of MWC 2012. This new service represents a partnership between secure MDM vendor MobileIron and mobile communications service provider AT&T featuring secure device and telecom expense management for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, and Symbian smartphones. Included is an enterprise application storefront for distribution of applications developed internally or by third parties. Although a multi-tenant MobileIron Connected Cloud service has been available directly from MobileIron since August 2011, the new hybrid cloud offering available through AT&T is important for greater MDM adoption. Historically, the first network-based service has been the hardest and longest for organizations to embrace. This partnership with AT&T provides MobileIron with a way to make it easier for organizations to adopt its secure MDM solution. MobileIron’s VSP server, deployed on customer premises, will be fully managed by AT&T, a trusted service provider already providing businesses of all sizes with telecom hardware, software and services. Having the server deployed on the customer site facilitates real-time tracking of voice and data activity and service quality for corporate and personal mobile devices (AT&T also announced enhancements to its existing AT&T Mobile Security service including protection against viruses, malware and malicious applications).
Public clouds will work fine for business applications like CRM and communications that involve processing, accessing, uploading and sharing corporate data. However, many organizations will prefer hybrid clouds for applications like MDM that involve sensitive data, custom corporate policies and private worker data.