F5’s Mobile App Manager enables IT to enforce access and data protection policies for corporate assets while giving users greater flexibility and control
F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the global leader in Application Delivery Networking, has announced F5® Mobile App Manager, a new hybrid cloud solution for mobile application management that enables organisations to safely and cost-effectively support enterprise BYOD initiatives. With F5 Mobile App Manager, enterprises can extend corporate applications and data to employees’ personal mobile devices while leaving all personal content under the control of the device owner.
F5 Mobile App Manager is a BYOD solution that combines the policy management and secure application delivery features of the BIG-IP® Access Policy Manager® (APM®) with the scalability and affordability of a SaaS offering. It is fundamentally different from “BYOD 1.0” Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions in that it securely connects only corporate applications to the enterprise network, and it manages only the enterprise content and applications on a device rather than the entire device itself.
Employees prefer this approach because it isolates their personal data from corporate oversight yet gives them the convenience of using their own mobile devices for both work and personal use. For IT organisations, F5 Mobile App Manager relieves the burden and responsibility of managing employee-owned devices while still enabling them to control device access to their network, track inventory, monitor threats and vulnerabilities, and protect corporate information.
“As more employees want to use personal devices in the workplace, enterprise IT has had to make tough choices: support BYOD initiatives despite having limited security controls, impose complete control over employees’ personal devices using MDM solutions, or reject BYOD initiatives altogether,” said Mark Vondemkamp, VP of Security Product Management and Marketing at F5. “F5 Mobile App Manager enables IT to make intelligent BYOD choices that benefit both the company and employees, it gives IT the control and flexibility it needs to protect corporate resources without restricting an employee’s use of the device or infringing on their privacy.”
As a hybrid cloud offering, F5 Mobile App Manager opens up new opportunities for enterprises that have not yet embraced BYOD, enabling them to do so without incurring the expense of deploying and managing yet another solution in their own data centres. For organisations dissatisfied with their MDM solutions, F5 Mobile App Manager provides a secure, flexible, and cost-effective alternative that is less invasive and restrictive for employees.
F5 Mobile App Manager complements F5’s existing unified access solutions, which provide secure, accelerated remote access and identity federation for SaaS applications. By implementing these offerings in conjunction with F5 application delivery firewall, application security, and application access management solutions, organisations can effectively protect their entire enterprise footprint.
Available for both Apple iOS and Google Android mobile devices, F5 Mobile App Manager is simple and straightforward for employees to use. It provides PIN-protected and encrypted enterprise applications, including corporate email, a secure web browser, and an F5 App Store from which corporate applications and content can be securely downloaded.
On the administrative side, F5 Mobile App Manager not only enables IT to better protect corporate applications and data, it greatly simplifies device management and policy enforcement. Using the management console, IT can manage individual devices or device groups, push and/or retract applications and data on a device, and lock or wipe only the secure workspace rather than the entire device.
F5 Mobile App Manager delivers the following benefits to enterprises:
- Improved security – Using the App Wrapper functionality in F5 Mobile App Manager, IT can secure internally developed and third-party applications quickly and easily before making them available to employees on mobile devices. When F5 Mobile App Manager is used with BIG-IP APM, IT can create a secure application VPN for corporate applications. And because BIG-IP APM utilises the customer’s on-premises identity stores, employee information stays on premises, minimising the risk of identity theft.
- Improved user experience – Employees are more comfortable knowing that their personal content is completely inaccessible to IT, won’t be automatically wiped in the event a device is lost or stolen, and that device functionality (such as the camera) cannot be restricted. F5 Mobile App Manager also requires minimal storage space on the device, and because enterprise applications don’t run constantly in the background, they help preserve battery life.
- Cost savings and reduced IT overhead – Because F5 Mobile App Manager is a hybrid cloud solution, IT avoids costly hardware and infrastructure investments and saves time by managing and securing enterprise content only rather than entire devices. In addition, organisations that have been using MDM solutions reduce their VPN costs by handling only enterprise-related traffic rather than all mobile traffic (business and personal).
- Scalability – F5 Mobile App Manager can easily be scaled to meet an organisation’s growing demand to support employee-owned devices. The proven scale and performance of BIG-IP APM, which supports up to 200,000 concurrent users, ensures that the mobile infrastructure scales cost effectively.
Beyond enterprise customers, channel partners and carrier service providers (CSPs) can benefit from F5 Mobile App Manager as well. It is a low overhead differentiated service that channel partners can quickly make available to their customers because, as a SaaS offering, it can be added to customers’ existing BIG-IP APM deployments and it requires no additional infrastructure changes or on-site installation. Likewise, for CSPs that are looking to grow their average revenue per user (ARPU) beyond voice and data plans, F5 Mobile App Manager can be resold as a value-added enterprise managed service.
“True mobility is network infrastructure-centric because all these smartphones and tablets won’t help us do the job without pervasive access to data,” said Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst at ZK Research. “And as fast as it’s being adopted, BYOD means headaches for the IT organisations attempting to lock down more and more employee-owned devices. F5’s approach shifts the IT control point off the device and onto the network by managing and securing only those apps that employees use for work.”