Mobile workers now account for over 25% of the worldwide worker population, about 750 million workers. This is using a broad definition of mobile worker; one who works away from their main office, whether it is on the road, in a home office, or in locations away from their company’s offices.
Using a definition that focuses upon workers that use secure remote access to the enterprise LAN, then the number of global users is about 25 million, with a market size of about $3B in revenue. The ‘other’ 725 million mobile workers use a variety of solutions depending upon their needs and their IT department’s policies: such as secure USB fobs, web browser based access, to simply allowing a laptop out of the office with company data (though increasingly we’re seeing IT departments impose restrictions on this option given some high profile data losses.)
I’ve reviewed some of these solutions in previous weblog articles: Secure Remote Access could be the Operators’ Tipping-Point to becoming a Utility or a Managed Solution Provider and Start-ups to watch: The Key Revolution’s Mobiu
What would appear at first blush to be just a matter of using IPsec (IP Security) or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), has spawned a whole industry comprising the following groups:
- Dedicated SRA (Secure Remote Access) providers such as iPass and Fiberlink providing a package of dial-up, Ethernet, WiFi and HSDPA access options bundled with a security package for the global traveler;
- Mobile operators’ offers range from HSDPA and a simple connection manager, e.g. O2’s Mobile Connection Manager; to complete packages of managed security and remote access, e.g. Vodafone’s Secure Remote Access;
- Fixed and Mobile network operators offers similarly range from access centric to a complete managed solution across the corporate LAN as well as remote access, e.g. Orange Business Services (which is in part a resell of iPass) and BT MobileXpress;
- IT security vendors such as Symantec and Checkpoint with the unified threat management systems (both LAN, remote access and remote offices);
- Both local and global IT system integrators that package together solutions from the above providers; and
- The enterprise’s IT department; and
- A variety of secure USB solutions such as Mobiu, a secure USB and service that backs up data to a secure encrypted online MobiVault; enables collaboration and file sharing in MobiRooms; and uses a SIM (chip used in mobile phones) equipped USB drive for secure two factor authentication and to provide portable applications, e.g. secure anonymous web browsing.
Below I show two simplified landscapes for ‘Secure Remote Access’ and ‘Secure Anywhere Access (SAA) to your Data’. The SRA landscape is split across fixed, converged and mobile-centric; and access-only, security and access, and security-only solutions. The ‘Secure Anywhere Access (SAA) to your Data’ landscape splits across the three main offers of web browser-based, client-based and USB. The main difference between these two landscapes is SRA is about remote access to the corporate LAN and the resources/tools that reside there, while SAA is focused on secure anywhere access to just your data.
It’s surprising we’ve not seen a tighter bundling (convergence) of these offers. For example, a HSPA USB fob that includes the functions and services of Mobiu (e.g. two factor authentication, secure storage and collaboration) and an integrated SRA service (leveraging the two factor authentication). Rather than today’s situation which requires multiple USB fobs, multiple clients, multiple service subscriptions and lots of individual bills. It looks like here’s yet another opportunity for operators to integrate their offers, save customers money, and win market share and new revenues.