3 Ways To Virtualize Mobile Devices -- And Why You Should Do SoThe idea of splitting smartphones and tablets into personal and business partitions is gaining strength, for good reason. But be warned -- iOS shops will have a tougher go of it.
A less effective but more easily implemented alternative to wrapping entire apps is to create a centrally managed encrypted storage volume or local folder for enterprise applications. Although they don't provide control over usage policies or all forms of data movement between business and personal environments (think clipboard or emailing to an external account), encrypted containers do allow for central management of data storage policies and remote wipes. One downside to these products, like Good Dynamics, is that apps need extra code, typically implemented via vendor-supplied SDKs and libraries, to provide the necessary software hooks to use encrypted containers and follow centrally set data access policies. In this era of ubiquitous cloud file storage and sync services, it's probably a better bet to just keep persistent data off the device in the first place via a cloud service like Box or Syncplicity.
>> Trusted remote app execution: An alternative to carving out a separate business environment on personal devices is to simply move app execution off the device entirely, a technique that's been used in various forms -- VDI, terminal services, application streaming, browser apps -- on PCs for years. As with containerized apps, the advantage is that business apps appear in the personal workspace. Application streaming products like Citrix Receiver use a locally installed native client (the receiver) that provides faster app performance and a somewhat better user experience compared with a browser.
There are downsides, however. First, apps generally can't be used offline on mobile devices (though some products do offer caching on Windows devices). This shouldn't be much of an issue in the age of ubiquitous 3G/LTE connectivity. Second, the user experience may suffer if remote applications were developed for a PC with keyboard and mouse, not a touch-sensitive device.
While mobile device virtualization and compartmentalization technologies are still in flux, they make sense now for users accessing sensitive information or in regulated industries.
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