The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is growing increasingly popular with companies of all sizes, allowing employees to access important documents and information while on the road or at home. In fact, according to research firm Gartner, 70 percent of employees will conduct business on personally owned mobile devices by 2018.
Furthermore, Gartner predicted that by 2017, half of all employers will actually require workers to supply their own mobile devices for work, ramping up the pace of BYOD adoption across all sectors. Another 38 percent of companies will stop issuing sponsored devices to workers by 2016.
The risks involved
However, with all its benefits, BYOD is also creating numerous challenges for firms. As data is shared across these devices, companies lose a degree of security - not only is there no longer centralized oversight, but the possibility for breaches and data loss is greater as more sensitive information is shared across numerous, potentially unsecure devices.
Virtualization may be the key
In a recent report, ABI Research argued that virtualization solutions for mobile devices could be the answer - or at least part of it - to companies' mobile security and management woes. The research pointed to figures showing that type 1 and type 2 smartphone virtualization activations will explode 20-fold by 2018. This would represent 114 percent growth year over year in North America alone, pushing the total number of smartphone virtualizations past 8 million.
The challenge for MSPs and mobility management providers will be keeping up with the rapid changes the sector seems to experience on a day-to-day basis, ABI Research Senior Analyst Jason McNicol explained. In particular, channel providers will need to tackle how to create two separate user profiles on workers' devices - one for personal tasks and one for work - giving the necessary privacy and protection to each.
Furthermore, this industry is likely to make waves, with VMware leading the way.
"As this technology gains acceptance over the next few years, enterprises will have yet another workspace management tool available to them for managing devices in a BYOD world," McNicol explained.
BYOD and mobile IT are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. MSPs that expand their service catalogs to include these solutions can prove themselves to be even more valuable partners.