Dropbox, Angry Birds and YouTube Among Top Blacklisted Apps at Work

You’d be hard-pressed to find an office without a few tablet owners these days.  The iPad has become a fixture for white collar workers, retail and sales, increasing productivity and making us all a little more mobile.  Now that we’ve nestled into a mobilized mentality, we start to see some interesting patterns emerge.  The maturation of the BYOD market is characterized by the rapid adoption of the iPad, the relentless approach of Android and the waiting return of Microsoft.

A new report from mobile device-management (MDM) firm Zenprise has uncovered some key trends in enterprise mobile device adoption.  Their research comes from data in their Zencloud solution,  Zenprise MDM Cloud.

The report is assembled from Q3 2012 data, digging into some interesting crevices of the BYOD market.  One of the more intriguing sections of Zenprise’s report is the list of blacklisted apps across the enterprise, with banking apps leading the charge. Zenprise’s report also takes a look at frequently used security policies for mobile devices in the workplace, the likelihood of Microsoft’s success with their own device line-up, and the most-implemented operating systems for mobile devices.

iPad Drives iOS Growth

Over the last few years Apple has managed to gain recognition in the corporate segment, previously ruled by RIM’s BlackBerry.   The iPad is creating new opportunities for Apple to work its way into the workplace, and the impact is evident as more IT environments find ways to support tablets on their networks.

The report notes that iOS devices, leading with the iPad, are deployed to more than 57 percent of Zencloud platform users.  As far as Apple’s other offerings; iPhones take a 42 percent share, and iPods represent only one percent of total MDM deployment. The report, however, said iPad penetration has dropped from 67 percent to 56 percent, largely due to the growing popularity of Android devices.

“The conversations we’re having with our customers suggest that mobile line-of-business and secure content initiatives are highly correlated with tablets. iOS 6 will grease the skids for iPad adoption, as the new version’s enterprise features increase Apple’s business readiness,” said Amit Pandey, CEO and President, Zenprise.

Apple is pursuing an aggressive advertising campaign in favor of teachers, organizing events in educational campus, and expanding their offers to digital textbooks and educational applications and is also spreading its influence to corporate and niche markets, such as medical and transportation segments.

Android is Getting Closer

Android is gaining in North America, largely at the expense of Windows Mobile. The report found that Windows Mobile has been stagnant at four percent, though still higher than Symbian at 0.1 percent.  iOS still reigns at 55 percent, but Android is close behind with 41 percent of total mobile deployment market share.

Europe, the Middle East, and Africa reported a three-point drop in Android devices by to 25 percent, and Windows Mobile gained 15 points to 19 percent.  Asia Pacific, including Japan, registered 68 percent Android penetration, while iOS devices remained low at 32 percent.  It’s important to note that the Asia Pacific/Japan numbers may be influenced by several large deployments, and Zenprise relationships with Android handset manufacturers in the region.

Despite continued iOS dominance, Android saw heavy usage across transportation, healthcare and communications.

Blacklisted & Whitelisted Applications

The report found more blacklisted and whitelisted applications in Q3 than in our last report in Q2. This is an indication of the maturity of customer Continuing MDM deployments. The number of Zenprise customers blacklisting apps grew 10 percent, while the number of whitelisted apps grew 29 percent in Q3 vs. Q2.  The most blacklisted verticals are banking, entertainment, and communication services industries, with apps such as Angry Birds, Dropbox, Google Play Store, YouTube, Skype and Mail.

The most commonly whitelisted app categories are in legal, utilities, and communication services industries, with apps like Adobe Reader, Evernote, NitroDesk, TouchDown, QuickOffice, Lookup and Citrix GoToMeeting.

“We’re seeing an increase in both whitelisted and blacklisted apps, which indicates that there is a shift from BYOD use cases to ones that enable mobile line-of-business initiatives. Organizations that are rolling out devices and apps to workforces are more likely to use these types of policies,” Pandey added.

Microsoft Surface: A Viable Alternative?

An InformationWeek 2012 Mobile Application Development Survey, detailed in the report “App Dev in the Age of Mobility”, indicated a strong corporate interest in tablets. More than 64 percent of business technology professionals say they plan to build native custom applications for the iPad, while 48 percent plan for Android tablets.  That leaves about 7 percent for RIM BlackBerry Tablet OS.

Microsoft’s new Surface tablet has gotten mixed reviews, and has a lot to live up to as the Redmond company’s first enterprise-ready device launch.  With the arrival of Surface, could businesses have a tablet PC that is designed specifically for their needs?

The focus has been on the consumer version of Surface, which will come with full-fledged Windows 8 Pro edition. The addition of a keyboard can transform the Surface into a productive machine that functions more like a laptop. In addition, the latest range of entry-level Ultrabooks that will be arriving in 2013 will present more options for the enterprise to embrace.

The Surface, being a Windows machine, will link seamlessly to Windows 8 as Microsoft hopes to spur an easy transition to enterprise mobile.  Most companies are already familiar with Microsoft’s range of enterprise tools, like SharePoint, Lync, Microsoft Office and Outlook.  And coming in Windows 8 Pro will be BitLocker drive encryption, Remote Desktop, Active Directory, and Hyper-V client.  The Surface also hopes to win over iPad users  with more connectivity options, including USB 3.0 and HDMI-out, better than the proprietary iPad dock connector.

The key to success for Microsoft’s Surface is that, from the perspective of both user and the organization, the tablet will align perfectly with the existing Windows infrastructure. As the vast majority of businesses have already standardized on the Windows OS, it will provide IT managers and administrators less burden to migrate to the Microsoft Surface environment.

A recent survey by ThinkEquity among 100 U.S.-based IT managers, including CIOs, technology vice presidents and IT directors, from a variety of industries, found that almost half of IT managers plan to standardize their company’s mobile platform on devices running Microsoft operating systems. The reason behind strong backup of Windows platform is the strength and longevity of its Office productivity suite.

Microsoft is betting on its dominance of the corporate IT environment to get back into the tablet, smartphones and in particular BYOD game. While Apple has early advantage, Microsoft is looking to its Surface products range to muscle its way into the enterprise tablet market.