Last last month Microsoft announced the availability of a subset of the mobile device management (MDM) features offered by Intune, at no extra cost, as part of an Office 365 subscription.
“This will give the thousands of businesses running Office 365 basic device management capabilities and enable them to provide secure mobile email to employees with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices,” says Richard Absalom, research analyst, Ovum.
Absalom believes the move helps open up enterprise mobility to the masses, with mobility management features now available to all IT admins on Office 365 including:
• conditional access - making sure that Office 365 email and documents can only be accessed on compliant devices that are managed by the IT department, and blocking access to email via ActiveSync on non-compliant devices.
• device-level PIN enforcement and jailbreak detection.
• selective wipe of Office 365 documents and data.
“These are the most basic MDM features (and Microsoft offers more in-depth support through Intune), but they can provide the first building blocks for a secure enterprise mobile implementation,” Absalom adds.
“Although we know that most organisations are already working on some kind of strategy and are likely to have already made investments in the enterprise mobility area, this really does open it up to the masses.”
Ovum research shows that email is still the most used mobile enterprise application, with Absalom believing Microsoft’s move builds MDM directly into the email service that most organisations either use now or will migrate to in the future.
Total commoditisation of MDM?
For Absalom, the commoditisation of the MDM component of enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions has already been happening for some time.
While Microsoft’s move is not quite the final nail in the coffin of competitors gaining any great value from MDM – it might be Absalom speculates, if the full features provided by Intune were made available at no cost – but it will make enterprise customers that already use Office 365 think twice about buying another third-party MDM solution.
“In addition, at a basic list price of US$7.60 per user per month, Microsoft’s full-featured Enterprise Mobility Suite (including Azure Active Directory Premium, Intune, and Azure Rights Management) is likely to prove attractive from a pricing perspective for organisations that need more than basic MDM,” Absalom adds.
“The need for competing vendors in the space to move away from device-focused security and concentrate on providing mobile app management (MAM), mobile identity management, and digital workspaces in order to add value is becoming ever more apparent.”