Flurry of products pushing BYOD in India

Over the last few months, several IT companies and telcos have launched desktop virtualization, mobility management and enterprise security tools designed for BYOD.

By 2013, India is likely to emerge the third-largest adopter of personal devices at workplaces after Brazil and China, according to a Gartner survey. These findings find support in various news reports which cite an increasing number of companies embracing the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model.

Companies are adopting desktop virtualization as well as mobility management and security tools to deal with challenges thrown by BYOD. For instance, Thermax last month implemented Citrix's desktop virtualization offering. The Pune-based energy environment major has five manufacturing facilities in India and abroad. Companies like NDTV, HDFC Bank, Genpact, Essar Group, Perfetti Van Melle, and Indraprastha Apollo Hospital are also stated to have deployed the software. 

Commenting on the deployment, Thermax CIO Anil Nadkarni said in a statement: "After a thorough market assessment, instead of an IT infrastructure upgrade we decided to deploy the Citrix desktop virtualization solution. The biggest advantage has been that our organization has now become BYOD-ready and the anytime, anywhere access has enormously improved the company's decision-making."

Security is the top concern for BYOD. The risk of data leakage on mobile platforms is particularly high. Some mobile devices are designed to share data in the cloud and have no general-purpose file system for applications to share, increasing the potential for data to be easily duplicated between applications and moved between applications and the cloud.

Adoption of BYOD varies widely across the globe. According to Gartner, companies in the United States are twice as likely to allow BYOD as those in Europe, where BYOD has the lowest adoption of all the regions. In contrast, employees in India, China and Brazil are most likely to be using a personal device, typically a standard mobile phone, at work.

BYOD tools tackle challenges

On Wednesday, SAP unveiled SAP Mobile Secure, an enterprise mobility management software portfolio designed to provide customers with enterprise-grade security for devices, apps, and content. This new portfolio optimizes the mobile experience for users of today's most popular mobile devices.

SAP Mobile Secure also offers a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) product with the cloud edition of its mobile device management tool, SAP Afaria, to help companies quickly and easily secure and manage mobile devices for 1 euro per device per month.

Similarly, on Tuesday, NetApp expanded its portfolio by announcing a new product--Net App Connect--which touts secure, instant, and easy mobile access to data stored on NetApp storage systems.

By keeping all data securely behind the corporate firewall and never copied to the cloud, NetApp Connect offers mobile access to corporate data while maintaining the tight security and control that enterprise IT requires. 

Another vendor i7 Networks on May 2 launched Peregrine-Guard. The software allows IT departments to monitor devices accessing the networks by using a triangulation method, which taps information coming out of devices and network packets and the devices' behavior. For example, when a device attempts to connect to the company's Wi-Fi network, the software can identify what device is attempting to connect to the network. It can also identify if the device is jail-broken or rooted. It can also determine if there is malware on the device.

Moreover, telecom services providers such as BlackBerry, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone India have their own BYOD products that are touted to address security concerns. BlackBerry has its "Balance" technology which allows IT administrators to remotely lock and wipe off data, thereby protecting sensitive corporate information. Airtel has Airtel Dynamic Mobile Exchange (DME) for companies to allow employees to segregate official and personal data on the same device by compartmentalizing information such as e-mail, data applications, and documents. Vodafone India has a similar product, Vodafone Secure Device Manager, which also allows tracking of device usage such as application downloads, voice, and data.