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Cloud Expo: Interview

3 Cloud Computing Questions: Trellia's Raffi Tchakmakjian

Profliferating Smartphones Up the Policy Management Challenge Substantially

Trellia is a Montreal-based company that focuses on the mobile enterprise and Cloud Computing. Its Mobile Policy Management (MPM) solutions enable the company's customers to automate and enforce mobile-device access policies. With the recent proliferation of the iPhone, Droid phones, and with Microsoft/Nokia W7 devices on the horizon, I thought this would be a good time to talk to him.

1. Tell us the original vision behind Trellia's founding in 2004. As I understand it, your goal was to help the enterprise integrate remote laptops into the infrastructure. What were the main challenges facing enterprise IT then?

Raffi: Our goal was to enable mobility in the enterprise from the onset of Trellia. It's quite interesting, because in 2004, the major problems enterprises faced were related to Wi-Fi connectivity and usage of 2G technologies such as 1xRTT and GPRS. It seemed then like only technical folks were capable of using these networks, so simplifying the end-user experience was key.

We addressed these problems by providing software solutions that automated connectivity, enforced VPNs, enabled persistence of sessions during network hand-offs, etc. Over the next few years, as network and device performance got better, the challenges started evolving towards management issues, mainly around cost, security and compliance.

A lot of standardization started taking place towards a few device types, until 2010, which is when the "consumerization" phenomenon started, spearheaded by the iPad and the iPhone.

2. Now we have proliferating smartphones and tablets. How much degree of difficulty does that add? How does your iOS management solution address this challenge?


Raffi: It's a totally different world these days. Enterprises are now looking at embracing the diversity of devices in order to optimize service delivery. For example, outfitting sales teams with iPads for easy and sophisticated presentations, while allowing employees to choose their preferred SmartPhones are common initiatives that IT looks at today.

But with the number of different devices growing, it becomes very complex to manage security and cost. That's where our Trellia MPM solution can help out.  It provides Mobile Device Management (MDM) coupled with real time cost control, in a cloud delivery model.

We can enable the enterprise to deploy security & cost control policies specific to their organization, with little impact to IT and to the end user.  For example, an organization looking at deploying iOS devices to their workforce can pilot and deploy our solution in less than a week, with no servers, hardware or infrastructure software to install. That type of quick deployment definitely helps IT considering the pressure they are under to deliver the devices.

3. How far down the road are we with smartphones, tablets, and whatever other devices will be coming? 10%? 20%? And how nimble do you need to be to stay ahead of this innovation curve?

Raffi: I think we're still at its infancy, especially in the enterprise--I would say 20% down the road.  This is an extremely dynamic and fast moving industry. There is a lot of change that takes place in this market in short periods of time, so you definitely need to put a framework in place that allows you be very agile and nimble in order to manage this change.

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Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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