In the cloud or on the ground? The pros and cons of cloud-based EMM strategies

Discover the pros and cons of cloud-based EMM strategies and how you can help your customers to overcome cloud related concerns.

Cloud-based strategies are becoming vital for businesses, with an increasing amount of businesses looking to mobilise their processes and data, while meeting accessibility and flexibility demands from their end users. Gartner predict that by 2020, a corporate "no-cloud" policy will be as rare as a "no-internet" policy is today.

It has taken some years for businesses to become comfortable with cloud computing – and even now, there are several sectors where companies choose not to adopt the technology. Help your customers to overcome barriers to adopting a cloud-based EMM strategy by exploring the following pros and cons.

Security concerns but an availability of solutions

The principle issue is security. Your customers are wary of handing over sensitive and commercially valuable data to a third party, which does not have the same imperative to keep it secure.  

According to Deloitte:

  • 41% of businesses admit migration to the cloud is an issue of concern in terms of data privacy and security risks.
  • 46% of businesses worry about risks that their employees introduce to the organisation through the cloud.

Cloud computing puts the onus of security on your customers, giving them more stringent control from a single, centralised console. Gartner caution that 95% of security issues and failures of cloud services will be the fault of the customer, rather than the service provider, by 2020.

With automatic back-up, recovery, and archiving capabilities, cloud-based EMM strategies bring a new level of assurance to the mobile workforce. These security measures give your customers increased governance over devices, apps, and content being used and accessed throughout the enterprise and outside of the network. Cloud-based EMM strategies provide this control through a single, centralised console, improving your customer’s visibility of access and usage.

Low cost services but increased IT spend

The cost of cloud computing fell by 25% between 2012 and 2015 as more businesses have adopted this approach, making the economies of scale yet more favourable. Overall spend on cloud computing is set to increase as more businesses take advantage. In 2016, spending on public cloud Infrastructure as a Service is forecast to reach $38B, growing to $173B in 2026.

Cloud computing removes the burden and cost of upgrading and updating systems to match the variety of devices, platforms, and operating systems that are being used throughout the enterprise. This benefits your customers as it removes a great deal of associated costs, time constraints, and minimises potential friction between employees and IT administrators.

These savings can be reinvested throughout the enterprise, but reports suggest that businesses are now spending more on IT, despite using cloud-based solutions. 19.4% of businesses state that their technology spend is significantly higher than the previous year.

Your customers will need to be aware that while cloud-based EMM strategies can reduce overall business costs, these savings may not be realised straight away, particularly when dealing with large migrations.

“In the long-run, productivity gains are mostly generated through innovations in technology and in the way that businesses manage people and technology. One problem is that new innovations, while always exciting, don’t necessarily lead to productivity gains immediately.” – Ira Kalish, Chief Global Economist, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Increased productivity but networks need to be smarter

Despite concerns about security and costs, many businesses have embraced cloud systems for their low cost, versatility, ease of use and – crucially – their ability to facilitate mobile enterprise. Cloud-based EMM strategies give your customer’s employees the flexibility to work however, whenever, and wherever they choose.

By giving users access to documents and software services from wherever they might be, cloud computing performs a hugely valuable role in enterprise mobility management (EMM). Deloitte’s recent ‘Technology In The Mid-Market’ report revealed that 50% of respondents felt cloud technology had increased productivity.

With this flexibility, however, comes the risk that your customer’s end users are doing exactly what they like, without any regard for security. As multiple devices can connect to the network at any time, cloud-based EMM strategies require a level of management. Your customers will want visibility over who is accessing data, when, and what they’re doing with it. Appropriate usage needs to be defined, policies agreed, and authorisation levels set.

Arguably, migrating to cloud-based EMM strategy is not enough on its own, which will make some customers reconsider a move at all. Work with your customers to explore how they can deploy smarter networks.  

“Mobility spans much further than a device or an access point. Your network now plays an absolutely critical part in controlling mobility and data created by mobile devices. In fact, intelligent networks can identify the kinds of devices coming in and are able to segment the traffic appropriately. Furthermore, you can directly control how certain types of apps and data sets work within your corporate environment.” – Bill Kleyman, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies

Multiple cloud-based options but the choice needs to be right

There are a variety of cloud computing systems that can meet your customer’s needs, regardless of the organisation or business they belong to. Regulated, professional bodies will have a different requirement to their commercial counterparts.

If such a leak or theft took place from within the organisation’s own premises, then criticisms could not be made in the same way. On-premise platforms are likely to have stringent security protocols and policies in place protecting the business and the individual.

Help your customers to determine whether a public or private cloud system would benefit them the most. For customers who need to protect particularly sensitive data, you may need to overcome their concerns before they commit to migrating to a private cloud. 42% of businesses want a solution that can detect threats, protect the organisation from them, and remediate any issues.

In order to allay their fears about a lack of control, accountability, and visibility, you can explore hybrid-based EMM strategies with your customers. On-premise solutions are becoming outdated however there still needs to be EMM options for customers who are not fully prepared to move to the cloud. 

“This does not mean that everything will be cloud-based, and concern will remain valid in some cases. However, the extreme of having nothing cloud-based will largely disappear. Hybrid will be the most common usage of the cloud — but this will require public cloud to be part of the overall strategy. Technology providers will increasingly be able to assume that their customers will be able to consume cloud capabilities.” – Jeffrey Mann, Research Vice President of Gartner.

Hybrid strategies are available, giving your customers the best of both worlds. The interoperability of the two types is now widespread and rising. 29% of businesses currently use an even mix of cloud and on-premises solutions.

Prepare your customers for the cloud

Demand for cloud-based computing is coming from IT employees, CIOs, and line of business leaders who have recognised its many advantages. 49% of your customer’s IT leaders are driving adoptions of new technology and will expect the business to have cloud capabilities. It’s essential that you explore all possibilities with your customers, helping them to put their best foot forward in choosing the right infrastructure and maturing their mobility strategy.

Takeaways:

  • Think: Your customers will have different needs depending on their type of business. They may not feel that a cloud-based EMM strategy is the right way forward for them. Think about their business needs and concerns.
  • Act: How a cloud-based EMM strategy benefits your customer’s employees is just as important as how it can benefit the business. Productivity and ease-of-use are big selling points that could bring your customers over to the cloud.
  • Lead: Demonstrate that cloud-based EMM strategies are not out-of-the-box solutions and that they can, in fact, be adapted to meet your customer's needs. Explore the different types of infrastructures with them - particularly hybrid solutions for those who seem most concerned.
  • Share: Your customers want reassurances about the security of cloud-based EMM strategies. Share success stories and highlight other benefits, from improved security to cost savings.

The Trusted Advisor Blueprint: How to identify and land an enterprise mobility management (EMM) opportunity