Good May Have a Game-Changer with Secure Mobility Solution
By "thinking mobile first," the company has come up with a way for developers to improve work flows for mobile app users.
The rise in mobile applications has created an explosion in the number of mobile management solutions. Today it seems there are as many choices of MDM solutions as there are of beer (bet you are wondering where I'm going with this). When it comes to beer, the most interesting man in the world doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he only drinks Dos Equis. Similarly, most companies don't need to secure all their mobile applications, but for many, when they do, they only deploy Good Technology (see, it tied in after all!).
Good Technology has been a leader in mobile management and security even before there was a market. The company has been through some ups and downs as the competitive landscape and user needs changed but I think its recently-launched suite of products, which includes the Dynamic Secure Mobility Platform, and Collaboration Suite, is a game changer in the enterprise mobility market.
The solutions are based on a premise that users work differently on a mobile device than they do on desktop or laptop. Mobile applications are often lighter, single purpose applications, so a worker may have to use several applications to do something that might have been done in a single application on a desktop. This leads to specialized, multi-applications workflows that can be hard to secure and enforce policies on.
I had a chance to sit down with Good's CMO, Lynn Lucas, who most of us know from her tenure with the Cisco Collaboration Group, and we discussed how mobility is maturing in organizations and, as it does, will become more strategic. For this to happen though, enterprises need an all-in-one platform to manage the lifecycle of mobility--build, secure, distribute and manage.
In actuality, Good had much of this technology already, but has extended it to meet the challenges of this new world of work. Good currently offers a mobile SDK that in-house developers and ISVs can use to integrate applications into Good's secure environment. I don't know the exact number of applications or ISV partners, but the company has slowly been building the number of partners including 7 new ISVs that went GA with applications the first quarter of this year. In addition to the API, companies or ISV can apply Good's application-wrapping capabilities to secure legacy applications.
As part of this release, Good announced a new feature called AppKinetics, which allows applications to pass data to other applications over a secure tunnel. Developers now can write a mobile service once, and then leverage it multiple times.
The company gave an example of an app that wants to edit a document, save to SharePoint and then print. The ISV or corporate developer could create a "print" service that can be called when needed by any application. Since the transmission is secured, there's no DLP or privacy concerns. Good Dynamics protects the shared data through a secure, inter-process communications. Now companies can build multi-application workflows that are built around existing services, minimizing development time and keeping the security policies in place that the company desires.
The reason I think this is game changing is because historically, mobile security focused on intrusive solutions to secure the device or specific applications. These types of solutions often get in the way and slow down workflows. The Good solution focuses more on securing the data exchange between applications. This is a great example of "thinking mobile first". This type of inter-application communication isn't necessary with traditional PC-based computing because traditional applications are monolithic in nature and are built around entire workflows, not snippets of a workflow.
Another new feature introduced by Good is something the company calls "Mobile Application Analytics". This solution provides a rich, visual report of application usage, top users, peak time usage and application-to-application comparison. Think of this as the "who, what, when, where and why" of the mobile application market.
The Good Collaboration Suite has been enhanced to support Windows 8 and Office 365 cloud-based environments. Good offers a feature in the collaboration suite called "Good Connect" that can enhance collaboration through a secure instant messenger and presence app. The Good Share feature allows workers to access, sync and share files to and from SharePoint and file services behind the corporate firewall without the need for special DMZ infrastructure or VPN software--another example of security that doesn't get in the way.
Much of the long-term success for Good will be on its ability to foster and build the ISV ecosystem. While the company talks a big game here, executing on a developer community requires patience, resources and willingness to put the ISV first, as that's where long-term sustainable value comes from. They're off to a good start but this is where the work begins--however, it's a "Good" start.