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In this article I want to share information about an upcoming SAP PCN webcast on mobile device management that is scheduled for 2 PM ET on March 2, 2011, and an interview that I conducted with Sybase’s James Naftel who is Staff Product Manager for Afaria.  Here is an excerpt from the SAP PCN’s official invitation:

LEARN HOW YOU CAN BETTER MANAGE ENTERPRISE MOBILITY

Learn Directly from SAP and Industry Experts About Key Device Management Aspects of Enterprise Mobility

Webinar Highlights

  • The case for mobile device management
  • What the Afaria mobile device management solution brings to the table
  • Strategies for managing your enterprise usage of mobile devices such as iOS, Android, and Blackberry
  • Deploying and integrating with Afaria

Panelists

Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is an SAP mentor volunteer, blogger, mobile and M2M industry analyst, and SAP Topic Leader for enterprise mobility.  He is a popular enterprise-mobility consultant, writer, and speaker on subjects related to mobile enterprise. Kevin is an entrepreneur and consultant on enterprise mobility. 

James Naftel

James Naftel is an Afaria product manager at Sybase, an SAP company. In this position, James drives product strategy for Afaria, the market-leading mobile-device- management solution from Sybase. His areas of focus include mobile-device software and asset management, identity and access management, and threat management.

Sam Lakkundi

Sam Lakkundi is an enterprise-mobility architect and a “SWAT” team member at Sybase, an SAP company. He has 15 years’ experience working directly with customers that employ a wide range of technologies including client server, database, application server, and mobile engineering.

Registration link:

http://bit.ly/hhMiUq

Mobile Expert Interview Series:  Sybase’s James Naftel

*Note:  These are my notes from our interview, not James’ exact words.

Kevin: What are some of the biggest challenges you see in mobility today?
James: The number one goal is not to give us all toys (fun mobile devices), but rather to make us more productive. Companies must look at their business and understand how they can really get productivity gains from implementing enterprise mobility solutions. Does it make sense? How will they scale from tens of users to thousands? It is easy to deploy a handful of devices, but what about thousands. How do you secure all of these devices? There are legal obligations to protect personal and corporate data on devices. If social security numbers are on devices, companies must protect this data. All the data in the company is probably accessible by different mobile devices and applications in the company.

Kevin: How are enterprise mobility implementations different from other typical IT projects?
James: Mobile devices are in unsecured locations (homes, cars, restaurants, hotels, beaches, park benches, bars, etc.). Security is a big concern. These devices are mobile and remote. All of this infrastructure outside the firewall is accessing data inside the firewall. You need to think of all the different risk scenarios. You want your developers to be able to develop mobile apps without worrying about security. It should already be solved by the company.

Kevin: What do companies fail to plan for when implementing mobility?
James: 1) How to scale from ten to thousands of devices? 2) How do I move data back and forth through corporate security? Security folks were often difficult to work with in the past and caused many long delays in mobility projects. They were uncomfortable with mobile data access. It is better now. More IT security teams understand the mobile security issues and how to solve them.

Kevin: What advice do you have for companies just starting down an enterprise mobility path?
James: Plan and have a good idea of your goals. Pick carefully the first apps to mobilize. Have a reason to mobilize. Is it CRM? Understand your goals so you can plan. Think about how you provision devices? Think about device roll-outs. Think about the impact on the help desk.

Kevin: How important is mobile device management and security?
James: Critical. People need to protect private and enterprise data. Device management and security is key to succeeding with a project. If you leak information, you are in big trouble and it jeopardizes your entire mobility initiative. You need MDM to run any enterprise project. You cannot scale unless you have MDM.

Kevin: What should people know about Sybase’s Afaria?
James: We try to support all the new devices. We look to support all the devices and OS platforms that our enterprise customers request. Five years ago, there was a long sales cycle involved in educating companies on the value of mobile security and MDM, however, today companies recognize the need. We are now a core component, rather than an afterthought. App developers should not have to be concerned with security, Afaria will handle that.

Kevin: Where do you see mobility going in 2011?
James: There are a lot of discussions and strategizing going on around tablets. We see a lot of enterprise customers buying tablets now. Companies want to lock down tablets more than smartphones. If fact, companies might have different security requirements for tablets than smartphones. Tablets may be viewed more as a corporate asset than smartphones and have stricter security requirements.

I want to thank James for sharing his thoughts, views and observations with all of us.

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