Posted by:Srini Bhopal March 27th, 2012

Cloud computing and mobile computing are parallel drivers that have contributed to the emergence of mobile cloud computing solutions for enterprise and home users. While mobile computing is about native apps where data and app reside on the device, mobile cloud computing involves data and app residing on the cloud. Obviously, cloud-based apps are far more capable, scalable and robust as the mobile device serves only as a vehicle with all the processing and storage facilitated by the cloud.

Evolving mobility trend

Enterprise heads have to take some critical decisions in forming their mobile strategy. Do they support BYOD culture or provide business mobiles? Should they develop in-house apps or buy from a third party? Should their app be available on their proprietary store or App Store and Android Market? Should employees be given freedom to choose their device or should only certain models be allowed?

Breaking mobile device barriers

With corporate culture going decidedly BYOD, IT heads are having a hard time balancing mobile security with usability. It is logical to turn towards a private cloud for the security of mobile app and data, management, and other administrative and usability issues. According to research, a large number of enterprises are following this approach to allow secure access to information on multiple mobile devices. While a few also quote cost savings as a decision driving factor, it is not the primary concern.

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Mobile cloud applications also work out for development teams as they can create just one app instead of various device specific apps. Enterprises immediately cut down on development time, effort, and budget, and speed up time to market.

Ensuring mobile security

Typically, enterprise mobile cloud computing allows users to access an application through mobile browsers. While a majority of enterprises allow access to read-only data, a few are offering editing features with users logging in via VPN on their mobiles. The extra security layer is necessary to protect data.

A hacker could easily capture transmitted data or break encryption codes. And what if device itself gets lost or stolen? IT teams need to ensure corporate mobile devices support remote data erasure in such cases. They also have to extend identity management to mobile devices, implement rules to manage what’s on the mobile and control access methods.

Practical limitations of bandwidth, latency and network availability are deterrents to the wholehearted adoption of mobile device computing in some areas. Not every region is covered under high speed 3G or 4G networks. That’s why some enterprises allow users to download email, calendar events, etc. on their device for offline access.

According to Juniper Research, the market for cloud-based mobile applications is expected to rise by 90% from 2009 to 2014. Another research report from ABI predicts that 240 million enterprise customers will be accessing mobile cloud solutions by 2015. Seeing how smartphone and tablet sales are going up every year, every enterprise needs a mobile strategy today.

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