INTERVIEW: MobileIron CEO Barry Mainz tells Silicon about PC management, the rise of IoT and why it is better equipped than some of its rivals
Microsoft’s stated ambition with Windows 10 was for it to be a platform for all manner of devices – smartphones, tablets and those that will comprise the Internet of Things (IoT) – alongside the PC.
The idea of having ‘one operating system to rule them all’ is to create a huge user base of up to one billion that can be targeted by developers.
But the way Windows 10 has been architected means the lessons learned from securing mobile devices can now be applied to desktops and laptops, according to Barry Mainz, CEO of enterprise mobility management specialist MobileIron.
“Windows 10 is a mobile operating system and Microsoft built enterprise mobility management (EMM) into the OS architecture,” he tells Silicon, adding that this approach is more efficient, cost effective and makes the complex task of device management much easier thanks to a single platform.
“Mobile is built from the ground up to be lightweight. We find that, given how EMM is deployed, [customers] needed a third of the people to manage it. They’re telling us this is the way to go.
“[Windows 10] is a mobile OS. They sandbox the OS from the applications so you can do some interesting things that you couldn’t do with the older OS. We are close with Microsoft. We compete with them but work with them on InTune.”
Continuous updates to the platform keep Windows 10 more relevant, and are more in line with the way iOS is patched, says Mainz. But OS and application updates can make life difficult in a BYOD world.
“IT is [traditionally about] risk avoidance and policy driven,” he adds. “That’s really changed. The users have won by bringing consumer experiences into the IT realm. And it turns out the OS architecture is more secure.
“We use apps on the device now. Its client server and you have persistent data.”
Mainz believes the challenge is not to make the device itself secure, but the applications and the data themselves.
“The old days when you were going to roll out SAP R3 and it was going to take up to 24 months [are over],” he continues. “Now it’s ‘fail fast’. IT is about how you test stuff that works. If not, throw it out and try something new.
“I think what iOS did that was great was the app sandboxing. That was a big step forward and made it much more difficult for malware or a virus to break the device or cause some security breach. With Android for Work, [Google takes] a similar step.”
“We feel that’s a really big step forward and makes sure we can deliver the same level of security across all operating systems,” added Mainz.
But there are still breaches. Unencrypted devices are still being left on trains or in cafes, while data is still being stolen. Fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), major hacks and industry research suggest many companies are still not implementing the latest technology or policies – possibly because of cost. Why?