A few months ago I posted a blog entry entitled: "Containerization vs. Application Wrapping: The Tale Of The Tape." Well... the bout is finally over and a winner has been decided. Using a virtual tape measure, I analyzed the mobile application technology spectrum to determine which technologies are better suited to deployment in the enterprise and why. The results were about what I expected. The fight went right down to the wire and nobody scored a knockout with the winner being decided with a slim margin over the 8 rounds. Here is the judge's score card:
On May 19, 2014, Google announced that it is acquiring containerization and dual persona vendor Divide. Divide's technology is designed to create a security and user interface division between the personal and the enterprise content, applications, and data on a single mobile device. This model meets the goal of separating the highly sensitive work data from the games and other potentially malicious content of a consumer nature. The big question is what is Google going to do now that it owns a technology leading containerizaiton play.
Selling Divide as a standalone solution isn't going to be lucrative enough, in the long term, to make the acquisition worthwhile. It makes a whole lot of sense for Google to embed Divide into the Android operating system. Just as rising tides raise all ships, containerization in Android will help the entire Android ecosystem shed the market perception of a technology that isn't quite yet enterprise appropriate. If this acquisition is any indication, Google has just put some power behind its push into the enterprise market and I don't expect it to subside any time soon.
All enterprises and vendors in the mobile security space should reconsider their future purchases and road maps based on this acquisition. Even if you are creating or buying mobile security technologies that don't play at the application layer, mobile security technologies are inseparably intertwined and this acquisition will have ripple effects that must be considered.
If you have implemented or used either application wrapping or containerization technologies, please COMPLETE THIS SURVEY.
Application wrapping versus containerization: Which technology provides better security to an enterprise mobile deployment? What are the use cases for each technology, and which technology has a longer shelf life when it comes to being the de facto standard for enterprise mobile security? Are there times when containerization provides a better user experience than application wrapping? And more simply speaking . . . what the heck is the difference between these two technologies, and which one should you purchase?
In the sport of boxing, "the tale of the tape" is a term used to describe a comparison between two fighters. Typically, this comparison includes physical measurements of each fighter as taken by a tape measure before the bout, thus the term "the tale of the tape." I'm currently conducting research for a "tale of the tape" report between mobile containerization technologies and mobile application wrapping. There has been a significant amount of discussion lately regarding which of these technologies is better suited for enterprise deployment. In order to settle this dispute, I'm going to get out the virtual tape measure and analyze the fighters!
This morning, BlackBerry announced the release of the BlackBerry Z3 Jakarta Edition. This new device is targeting the lower end of the market in Indonesia with lessened technical specifications and a reduced price point. It is unclear if the new device will be successful with the Southeast Asian buyer; however, I don't think it matters much to the US-based enterprise.
In the United States, BlackBerry has lost its hardware brand cachet. Over the last five fiscal quarters, BlackBerry total revenue has decreased by 64% from $2.7B to $976M. If we break out the revenue into separate streams -- hardware, software, and services -- we see that all three segments slowed in that same time period. The hardware revenue stream continues to be the boat anchor that is pulling down the other revenue segment, with a loss of 78%, while the software revenue stream only lost 15%.
It takes a lot more than a static analysis tool, a web scanning service, and a few paid hackers to make your mobile development lifecycle, team, and eventually, your applications secure. Finding flaws in an individual mobile application is easy (assuming you have the right technical skill set). What is a lot harder is actually stopping the creation of mobile application security flaws in the first place.
To achieve the lofty goal of a truly secure mobile application development program takes a rethinking of how we have traditionally secured our applications in the past. Mobile development brings many changes to enterprise engineering teams including additional new device sensors, privacy impacting behaviors that cross the security chasm between consumer and enterprise isolation, and even faster release cycles on the order of days instead of months. Smaller teams with little to no experience in security are cranking out mobile applications at a fevered pace. The result is an accumulation of security debt that will eventually be paid by the enterprises and consumers that use these applications.
Mobile device management is a fully commoditized market. In the strictest definition of MDM, the available functionality is limited to those application programmer interfaces that are made available by the operating system vendor (Google or Apple). There is very little that traditional MDM offerings can do to differentiate themselves from the other 100+ vendors in the market. This causes significant price pressure on the offerings. Value for MDM is rapidly approaching zero. As we have seen over the past year-and-a-half, core MDM component offerings have been continuously lowering their prices in an attempt to maintain market share. There is a transition by the major MDM players to expand well beyond the traditional "wipe," "lock," and "locate" concepts available to them into more advanced technologies such as content and collaboration systems, security components at the network and application layer, as well as partnerships and integrations with secondary market offerings. These features have value. MDM at its core does not.
I think it's about time someone came out and said it. Just like Dobby from the Harry Potter books, MDM should be free. I've been telling all of the vendors that I work with that if they don't put out their MDM offering in a freemium model very shortly, the other vendors will beat them to the punch. Traditional MDM offerings are a land grab for enterprise market share and should be used as an upsell or wedge into more advanced and differentiable offerings. I predict that in the next 6 to 9 months we will see most, if not all, of the leading MDM vendors giving away their core functionality.
It's hard to believe that a company could burn through $225 MILLION dollars in 11 months, but it looks like that may have been exactly what AirWatch did. According to data released by AirWatch and written by financial analysts (links to all data sources at bottom of post), AirWatch likely had burned through nearly all of its available cash in record time. Based on an assumption of $120K burn per employee (fully loaded) per year and an assumed removal of $50M in equity at the time of the venture round, AirWatch would have had somewhere between 5 and 6 months of runway left as of January 2014. These assumptions are corroborated by the fact that VMware has contractually extended AirWatch an offer to provide a bridge loan if the acquisition deal does not close in the next 6 months.
What did AirWatch do wrong? It sounds like they may have made some over-assumptions with regards to their growth rates for 2013. It could have possibly been the adoption rates in countries outside of North America. It may have just been bad luck. Or it could even be a cooling off of interest in mobile device management technologies based on containerization. We won't know exactly why they were getting near the end of the runway, but what we can say is that VMware may have overpaid in multiple. Based on the data provided by VMware of AirWatch bookings for 2013, VMware paid somewhere around 16x bookings for AirWatch. Man, that's a lot of bread!
On January 22, 2014, a new mobile security player was born. This is the date that VMware announced its intention to purchase the mobile device management (MDM) firm AirWatch. With a price tag of $1.5 billion, this acquisition confirms that the mobile security market is scorchingly hot. This news comes on the heels of the November acquisition of Fiberlink by IBM. I expect additional mobile security market consolidation to occur throughout the remainder of 2014. This acquisition is a shot across the bow of any other major vendor looking to play in the mobile security market. If you don't step up and spend now, you might just be left holding the bag.
There is a 14-dog race going on, with a goal to win the wallets of the enterprise for mobile security spend. When lined up in the starting blocks, the racers may all seem to have equal chances, but a few are better poised to cross the finish line first and bask in the glory of the winners' circle. Three of these technologies are the odds-on favorites to lead from start to finish, with the rest of the racers struggling to remain relevant.
Coming off the starting block with the "holeshot" are the mobile device management vendors. With huge engines of revenue, large customer counts, and first-mover advantage, this dog is the odds-on favorite to take the championship trophy. Mobile device management vendors are already expanding their technologies and products into security platforms to diversify their rapidly commoditized product offerings. The move is paying off for the biggest and toughest MDM participants in the race, giving them the early, and potentially insurmountable, lead.