ELIZABETH COOKE: To get started, will you give us an overview of Enterproid as well as your own background?
ANDREW TOY: Regarding my background, I have worked in mobile security and mobile products for over 10 years. Interestingly, all three of the Enterproid founders, including myself, came from Morgan Stanley. We worked together at Morgan Stanley for over five years, running the mobile applications and security group. While at the bank, we worked with interesting technology to make mobile devices more secure, with a big focus on BlackBerry phones. This was during the mid-2000s when BlackBerry was the king of devices, especially in the enterprise world. We worked hard in this environment to help Morgan Stanley find a way to take advantage of mobility in a safe, secure and natural way.
Later, as the iPhone and Android devices arrived on the scene, it started becoming a smartphone world that was rich in apps beyond just email. Based on our own experiences at the bank, we looked at the direction mobile was going and decided that it was going to change everything. We believed that people who were given a BlackBerry by their employers would no longer think it’s the best smartphone they have ever used. Instead, people would have a personal smartphone or tablet that they used for applications, music and other things, and they would view that device as more sophisticated than their corporate BlackBerry. As a result, would want to bring it into the enterprise. To us, it was clear that the “bring your own device” or BYOD phenomenon was going to change enterprise mobility, but we also saw that enterprise IT was not ready for the many challenges it would bring. Companies that had long supported BlackBerry devices were used to having total control over the device. They did the same thing with laptops, so that felt very natural to them. So, BYOD created a new wrinkle for IT. When the user owns the device, you can’t really lock down the entire device and turn off applications and features. The user won’t tolerate that. It also creates new privacy issues, which users are increasingly concerned about.
So, we came up with the idea of Enterproid and DivideTM and focused on solving BYOD issues for both IT and employees, such as moving away from managing the whole device while still having all the security and management capabilities needed. At the same time, employees must still be able to use their devices however they want with the privacy that they need. Achieving that balance was the genesis of this company.
Why did you decide to go out on your own and create Enterproid rather than do the same thing at Morgan Stanley?
We saw a very broad problem. While we excelled at building products for Morgan Stanley, it was done so with an inward focus. We concentrated on the day-to-day problems of the business and did not have the luxury to fully immerse ourselves in the problem and its solution. It definitely made sense to do this in a standalone company and explore all the ways to solve the problem for the diverse universe of companies that would be affected. So we formed the company in January 2010, and, given our IT experience, we knew it would take a while to develop the right product to solve the whole problem. We wanted to be more forward-looking than we could be at the bank, so we aimed for meeting the market a year or two after developing a really good product. Divide was the result, and it’s based upon our IT experience and our market vision for the direction in which we thought the industry was going.
Going back to the “bring your own device” theme, will you speak more about some of the underlying trends that caused the shift?
As you know, BlackBerries changed the industry. They were the first devices that exposed people to the data capabilities of the mobile network beyond just talking on the phone. Coming from a pager background, RIM really understood that people wanted to use mobile devices for messaging as well as for voice. So they built the best solution for messaging and email. They continue to be excellent at those things, including the ability to get work done with a keyboard.
As I mentioned before, BYOD came into play when mobile applications emerged with the consumer-focused iPhone, a device that arrived without a keyboard. People debated about whether it should have a keyboard or not, but Apple realized that there was a whole world of things people could do on mobile devices that they weren’t already doing. People want to play games, have a great music-listening experience and so on. The iPhone was like a BlackBerry but better, and it again changed what people were doing on their phones. Even though BlackBerries now have an app store, they were relatively late to the game on that. Both Android and iOS opened up the world of the smartphone to do much more than what people were doing on BlackBerries. And now tablets are taking that to a new level.
I think the key point is that it was not a simple continuation of what was happening in the enterprise world. It’s a whole different set of problems that must be solved because people are doing so much more on their mobile devices. The BYOD trend is occurring because people are now doing more with mobile technologies in their personal lives than they are in their work lives. Previously, it was the other way around.
How are these changes affecting the IT departments within companies? I imagine it has created many headaches for them.
Yes, absolutely. The IT department’s job is to protect the company, and security management is about protecting the company’s systems and data, which is important to any employer. The IT mantra has been, “We control everything and therefore can protect everything.” In this new world, that doesn’t work quite as well because if you control everything, by definition, you are locking out all the extra functionality the employee wants to use that’s not company-sanctioned. That’s okay for the company but not good for the employee. So people are forced into a weird, two-phone situation where the employee has a personal phone as well as a company-provided and –managed phone. That still doesn’t solve the problem in the right way. It’s inefficient for both sides.
Right now, IT departments are questioning whether there is still an advantage to giving out corporate-owned phones or if they should simply allow employees to use their personal phones. Here is an analogy I like to use. In the early to mid-2000s, if you wanted to work from home, you were given a company laptop for that purpose. You weren’t allowed to work from home on your home computer for security reasons. Most companies have now moved away from that. Almost everyone has their own computer at home, and new technology doesn’t require companies to give laptops to everyone so that they can work from home. The same thing is happening with mobile devices, where companies are realizing that you don’t have to give out BlackBerries anymore. Today’s norm is that most employees have a personal smartphone, and IT departments can leverage that phenomenon if they have a way to secure and control corporate data on a personal device without compromising the employee’s experience and freedom of device choice. As people become increasingly mobile-enabled, it will ultimately simplify things and reduce costs as well. More importantly, it creates the new possibility of allowing all employees to be productive when they are not in the office.
Considering the number and variety of mobile devices and syncing issues, are some companies struggling from a support standpoint?
Yes, it will always be part of the company’s duty to support employees who are working remotely. Our first standpoint is that any solution you deploy has to be as simple as possible. It has to be something that is supportable in an enterprise way, which means that end-users should be able to self-service as much as possible. So it should be fairly intuitive for the user, which in turn frees the company to handle the more complex support issues.
I think we’re also moving away from hardware toward software solutions, which are easier for enterprises to support. In my experience with large companies, supporting BlackBerries was rather challenging because you’re not only supporting the software or the mobile solutions; you’re also supporting the hardware. When new devices come out, you must certify those devices. You’re supporting the network that powers those devices as well. If the line has the wrong kind of service on it, you must have someone to deal with that. Buying devices puts the company on the hook for a whole range of support issues and responsibilities, whereas with a software-based solution, the user handles the majority of that. They have their own phone. They choose their own carrier and plan. The company only needs to support those things for which they are responsible – giving employees access to the data they need in the most secure and manageable way. So, from a supportability standpoint, I think we’re heading in the right direction, which is away from company-owned devices.
Will you talk a little bit about how your company, Enterproid, resolved some of these issues?
The way we go about this is unique. Many people are still focusing on full-device management with the traditional mentality that says they need to control the whole device. Divide does not control the entire device. Instead, we abstract what the company does from the device and place it into a secure workspace that runs on iPhones, iPads and Android devices. Divide creates a virtual environment where IT can load corporate applications securely. These apps only talk to other apps in the Divide workspace; they don’t communicate with applications on the personal side of the device. Divide is abstracted from the hardware and OS layers, so you don’t have to worry about when a new version of Android is coming out or whether you’re going to be able to support nontraditional devices like the Kindle. Our customers just focus on supporting their secure workspace. They don’t have to worry about the underlying systems because we’re the ones who guarantee the security. We’re also guaranteeing enterprise readiness and supportability.
Basically, when an employee signs up for BYOD, instead of IT dictating which personal device they can use for work, they simply ask the user to install and activate the Divide software. That gives employees the freedom to use the devices they are most comfortable with. It also makes IT comfortable with BYOD, since they can still track employee devices via a console and have the same security capabilities across all devices. In essence, it makes mobility simpler for everybody. IT has a standardized system to secure any mobile device, and employees have the freedom to do work from their personal smartphone or tablet. More importantly for users, they have a way to divide work and life on their personal mobile device and still enjoy the same user experience for both. That is the approach we have taken to solve many of the problems discussed earlier.
As a cloud-based system, how do you address the inherent control and security issues?
We have a different take on it. What’s actually in the cloud is the support for management and connectivity of all of these devices. All of the Divide endpoints are always connected and speaking to the central cloud, so they’re always reachable and manageable. And while data is going back and forth in terms of secured policies and reporting, the company’s business data never flows through our cloud, so we’re not carrying emails, contacts, calendars, sales data or CRM information. All of that is configured by our cloud, but the data itself is carried on a direct connection back into the enterprise. This way, companies don’t have someone in the middle, like Enterproid, having to proxy that data for them. We are providing an elegant hybrid solution with all the conveniences of getting the device up and running quickly using the cloud while still possessing all of the security and confidence for which the company is responsible.
Are there any cross-platform compatibility issues or ease of use issues?
We put a lot of work into this. For each first major hardware platform, we have a version of Divide that is designed for that specific platform. It’s not a port—the Android version looks and feels like Android, and the iOS version looks and feels like iOS. They have a very native look and feel. Usually, when a user comes from one of those platforms, it will be very familiar to them to use Divide for that platform right out of the box. It’s an investment we make into our technology. At the same time, we guarantee from a functionality standpoint that the same capabilities are there and available across all platforms. Again, this helps make Divide easy to support from the perspective of the enterprise. We also put a lot of work into our technology to help enterprises abstract from fragmentation. This happens on both iOS and Android. When a new device comes out, we don’t want the IT department worrying about the new version or the need to certify the whole OS and make sure the full device still works. You won’t have to do any of that because we’re a software virtual workspace. We’re the ones who do all the work to make sure it’s going to be compatible across all of those devices. So the IT departments can tell employees that as long as they install and run Divide, their device is enabled to access the enterprise network. We developed a lot of technology to help abstract us from the hardware and OS on different platforms so that we can provide that kind of service to our customers. We’re very proud of that and pretty good at it.
Mobile apps seem to be the emerging thing. Will you speak to that topic from a user perspective as well as an IT management perspective?
We see two different kinds of mobile apps and two different sets of solutions to address them. One type is an internally developed app. We see more and more companies developing their own applications to help mobilize their users and employees for higher productivity benefits. That’s happening a lot, and it’s definitely one of the things at which Divide excels. It provides a place for all of these lines of business applications to go into our secure container. No code changes are needed on the part of the developer. It just runs in a secure environment.
The second area is still nascent. People are beginning to look at the third-party mobile apps from vendors that they want to use and certify within their environment. These tend to be things like the cloud application of Salesforce and other apps provided by third parties that are still very work-related. Currently, those aren’t as common as the inbuilt applications right now, but it’s a place where we see a lot of companies going as mobile enterprise becomes more and more mature.
Is your organization also forging into that second area related to third-party mobile apps?
Yes, definitely. It’s a little further out, so there isn’t a lot of work going on right now in terms of B2B vendors developing those applications. Currently, on PCs and the like, enterprise licensing is done directly between the customer and the vendors. In other words, the company goes directly to the vendor and says that they need to buy 2,000 licenses, and the vendor puts together the commercial PO and licenses. You can’t do that with mobile right now. There’s a part of the ecosystem that is missing. It’s not a technical problem; it’s more of a licensing problem. So, in that particular market right now, vendors are still figuring out how to sell this to enterprises, trying to answer basic questions such as, “Will delivery be direct or available through the app stores?” Apple’s new volume purchase program helps with the problem, but it’s not highly used by customers right now. It’s all still working its way out.
What do you see emerging as the next trend in the next 12 months that IT managers should have on their radar?
Right now, people are just starting to seriously think about BYOD. Mobile, in general, is a good place for IT managers to focus, especially in the area of internal application deployments. The next step will be figuring out the external application ecosystem. And further out from that, in a 12- to 18-month timeframe, organizations will be challenged to come up with a single strategy to unify mobility with their existing IT strategy. The corporate workplace strategy must be unified with remote access strategies for people working from home on their home computers, plus the mobile experience on phones and tablets. Organizations are just on the horizon of thinking about the interplay between solutions already used and new mobile solutions. How does the mobile strategy interplay with their workplace desktop virtualization strategy already in place? How does mobile fit into the existing “work at home” program? Companies will want to unify all of these things into a central strategy. Even though it’s not a common product, there should be a single, common strategy. Those issues are on the horizon for companies today.
Is there anything else we didn’t cover that you would like to discuss?
One thing I want to mention is device diversity. This is something that our customers and partners frequently ask me about. Obviously, right now, it’s an iOS and Android world from a consumer standpoint. We’re seeing a lot of corporate focus on iOS. However, most companies want a multi-device strategy even if they love iPhones and iPads. They realize their next generation strategy can’t be dedicated to a single platform as they did in the past with BlackBerry. We’re hearing that a lot in the market. People are also watching Windows 8. While it’s still nascent and not even available yet, it’s coming. I believe the right strategy for these companies is to keep an eye on all of these platforms to ensure that they aren’t locking themselves into any one particular platform or technology. Today, it seems like a two-horse race, but there may be more horses in the future. This space changes very quickly, so organizations must be agile and flexible. There are many potential inflection points that might change the way people view the world of enterprise mobility. That's what we learned early in our IT careers, and it’s shaped how we built Divide.
Andrew Toy is CEO and co-founder of Enterproid, a company helping organizations and individuals get the most out of mobile technology and corporate BYOD policies. Before Enterproid, Toy was VP of mobile and syndication technology at MTV Networks. In this role, he provided technological leadership for digital distribution of Viacom content, serving cable brands including MTV, Vh1, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon as well as online properties, such as Gametrailers and Atom. Prior to joining MTV Networks, Toy headed mobile application development for Morgan Stanley, specializing in mobile-video delivery as well as fixed-mobile convergent telephony. Before Morgan Stanley, Toy was chief architect for Jarna Inc., a startup focused on enabling mobile workflows on event-based platforms.
Toy holds both a B.S. and M.S. in computer science from Stanford University, where he has also served as an associate lecturer.
Elizabeth Cooke is a member of Argyle Executive Forum’s content team. Argyle Executive Forum is a professional services firm that convenes and connects business leaders from highly-targeted, business-to-business communities for strategic collaboration and business development. More than 25,000 executives participate in one or several of Argyle Executive Forum’s communities, with more than 200 new members joining every month.
Prior to joining Argyle Executive Forum, Cooke worked as a senior search consultant for a boutique executive recruiting firm covering the investment banking and private equity markets. Additionally, she was a senior sales executive at the New York Stock Exchange, calling on C-suite executives and venture capital firms. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.