The real challenges of mobile ‘personas’ for BYOD

iphone4s1source venturebeat

Omer Eiferman is CEO of Cellrox, a startup that provides a solution that makes it easy for corporate IT departments to adopt mobile devices.

BYOD is here to stay. If you do not agree, I suggest you stop reading this post and move on.

IT departments still face a huge challenge for addressing the fact that employees already use their own devices, which include private information, content, and unknown applications — which could include malware.

With nearly 70 percent of smartphone-owning professionals using a personal device to access corporate data, according to Ovum Research, the BYOD trend is no longer something to be ignored. The needs seem simple: IT requires security and compliance, and employees require freedom and privacy.

These days, mobile virtualization is certainly becoming a valid option due to the fact that it allows users to separate the work and private environments (a.k.a. personas) and enforce different policies for each, sort of like having two phones on one device.

Still, mobile virtualization faces some challenges in becoming valid for mobile users. The market, as well as the workforce, needs to be aware of such challenges.

Make it great

I believe that a great mobile virtualization solution should:

  • Preserve the device’s native performance (graphic, battery, CPU) on all personas and not only on the private persona.
  • Preserve the native user-experience by allowing notifications, smart switching, links and sharing (when permitted), and the same look and feel for all personas.
  • Support more than two personas.

Users can benefit from personas for their kids or for gaming and social networks in addition to their business and private personas. Why limit them to just two?

Current mobile virtualization solutions are sluggish, and sometimes can only host an older version of the operating system. This leads to a bad user experience, and limits the phone to two personas. Plus, running a full, extra operating system will consume more energy than only using one and will drain the battery life.

Containers and application wrappers

Containers require re-compilations of the apps with a special software development kit, which enterprises try to avoid. This may work for home grown applications But in other cases, how would the IT get the application code?

You cannot wrap any application, especially the native ones (email, calendar) or the apps that need direct hardware access (phone dialer, intense graphics using a graphics processing unit).

You cannot wrap third party apps unless you strike a deal with the vendors, and enterprises can’t take full advantage of the app selection in the market. As a result, users are requested to use non-native apps, and the solutions are not as intuitive.

Users need these real challenges to be solved in a way that puts them as a high priority. Mobile virtualization can fix it if it is designed and built for mobile from the ground up and addresses all of the issues mentioned above.

Mobile users are more sensitive to performance and usability than PC users. The optimal solution combines virtualization that brings full separation with mechanisms that maintain the native user experience without compromising performance. These are key to successful and easy-to-use mobile virtualization.

Omer Eiferman is CEO of Cellrox, a startup that provides a solution that makes it easy for corporate IT departments to adopt mobile devices. Prior to joining Cellrox Omer was the CEO of Salio, a nanotechnology company, for 6 years. He worked as a partner at Heinemann & Co, a New York-based M&A Investment Bank where he focused on identifying strategic partnering options for early stage technology companies, including merger and acquisition opportunities as well as OEM and distribution partnerships. Omer has served in a variety of marketing, development and product management roles in technology companies.

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