The mobile industry is a beautiful thing. If I sit back and ponder for a minute all of the things mobile technology has enriched in my life, I could easily write a book. The fact that I can take a picture and have it immediately shared to all of my friends and family in seconds is truly amazing. Today was a good example of the staggering abilities we now have at our finger tips. I was looking for a nearby dry cleaner to drop some shirts off. At a loss where to find one, I remembered that I had an app on my phone and that I could easily just do a search for “dry cleaners”. Magically it was able to plot out all of the nearby shops that I could visit. I promptly found the one closest to me and voila, I was on my way.
If we think back to yesteryear, the pioneers of mobility were accomplishing many amazing things. The heavy hitters such as Nokia and Motorola were innovating new ways that allowed us to communicate with friends and family everywhere. Research in Motion quickly enabled us to send electronic messages digitally from mobile devices to allow us to work more efficiently and respond to our friends, family and customers much more efficiently than ever before. Microsoft was also innovating in the mobile space and allowing business users to work on the fly regardless of location and without the need for a traditional personal computer. You could even argue that a lot of the functionality being innovated today by the new market leaders has already been developed and in use for many years!
Our lives have been made considerably easier by pioneers in the mobile world who have paved the way for these new wonderful devices that perform tasks well past our expectations. Today, when we see mobile technology at a peak in both innovation and success, we see these initial pioneers struggling to find their place. While we see the staggering decline of hugely successfully platforms such as Nokia’s Symbian, we see Apple and Google handily gaining market share in markets that Nokia once held a stronghold. While some of these innovators partnered up and joined Google’s ecosystem, Nokia and Microsoft went down a different path. So what does this mean?
Can we count out the big hitters such as Nokia and Microsoft to just lay down and die? Do we need to develop any more security controls around these so called dying giants? Should we just focus on the established ecosystems and deal with the new ones as they develop? I think not!
IDC predicts Microsoft will command second place in the mobile phone market by 2015. Yes folks, you read that correctly and I whole heartily agree for many reasons. I strongly believe that there is room and a desire in the mobile industry for a third major contender. In fact, I believe that in order to really move innovation forward in the mobile space, we need a third ecosystem to balance the power struggle. With the depth that Nokia provides in mobile, it will truly catapult Microsoft and enable this new ecosystem to truly flourish. When we combine the hardware innovation that we know Nokia is capable of, with Microsoft’s fresh new offering and the brand loyalty both have globally, I believe we will have a powerful new force in the mobile world that cannot be ignored.
So the question remains – is the security industry prepared to secure this third platform should it be as successful as IDC is predicting? Hardly.
If we scan over the vast amount of mobile security vendors we see very little mention, if any, of Microsoft’s latest endeavour. Sure, there is a lot of focus on the Windows Mobile of yesterday, but, we are talking about a totally revamped and built from scratch operating system. If Nokia starts shipping a strongly desired handset as they say they will in Q4 of this year, we will have mobile security vendors struggling to integrate and support this new ecosystem.
I guess the point of this post is not so much about realizing that we need to support this new platform, as much as I’m trying to get the point across that we need to be prepared for an ever changing mobile world. Fact is, new mobile platforms can quickly develop and if enterprises don’t have the sort of elasticity to deal with this new world, they will never reach the true Zen like security state they desire.
They really are just another endpoint after all!