Why Some Desktop Virtualization Users Will Pass on Mobile Device Management

Desktop virtualization and mobility management are not the same. While it’s true that you can access virtualized desktops and applications from a mobile device, there are some key differences that may cause users to rethink how much work they will do on their mobile devices.


In many organizations, employees use whatever devices they prefer to access their virtualized desktop and applications. You like Mac? Mac it is for you. You’re a Windows kind of gal? Windows PC for you. Most IT organizations have stopped trying to prevent users from bringing devices into the workplace, because the bottom line is that people work more hours when they’re doing work on their preferred device. When users access business resources from their own devices, e.g., a smartphone, tablet, or computer, adding a piece of client software is generally acceptable because that client software is just serving as a gateway to the business resource.

But mobile devices are quite a different story. Of course, email functionality is built into every mobile device, and users expect to be able to access their business email. With Mobile Device Management (MDM), the IT department is permitted to access and control the smartphone or tablet. The key difference is related to the word “control.” Let’s think this through…

Let’s say that an employee purchases his or her own device and then lets the company control it via MDM. The company retains the right to perform a complete or selective remote wipe if necessary. The company hires a new IT person to manage MDM. Upon learning that the VP of Sales has just submitted her resignation, a remote wipe is initiated. An hour or two later, the administrator realizes that he just performed a complete wipe on your smartphone by accident. Gone are the photos of your spouse, children, house, dog, and/or friends. The phone call you receive on your office phone is little consolation.

Given the possibility of this scenario, it’s understandable that users are resistant to MDM where the employee owns the device and both personal and business data are stored on that device. On the other hand, in situations where the company purchases the smartphone or tablet and then retains control over it via MDM, employees would understandably have no right to place personal data on the device or otherwise control it. As a result, I predict that you will start seeing more and more people carrying two smartphones instead of one and becoming more territorial as to the business resources that are installed on the personal device. It all goes back to control.

This brings us full circle to desktop virtualization. When a user employs a personal device to access a virtualized desktop or virtualized applications, the user doesn’t give up control of the device for the corporate good. Especially as more users voluntarily use more personal devices to access business resources, keeping this level of control in the users’ hands will continue to generate higher acceptance and greater success of desktop virtualization.

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