Microsoft promises mobile management without getting in the way

Outlook email client coming to Android

Yes, companies need to control company information, but that doesn't mean locking everything down. "The user is the ultimate authority on their device. IT should be the ultimate authority in terms of data on device." Because Active Directory knows who users are and what roles they have in the business, companies can use that, with the security controls in the Office apps and the file-level controls in the Azure Rights Management Service, to make sure that you can't copy information from a work document into a Gmail message, but you can send it to a colleague using Outlook on your iPad. "We can enable copy and paste between your business applications but disable someone copying the same thing and pasting it into Facebook. And with Azure RMS you can natively integrate security into the document. That's integrated into Office and Office documents are more than 70% of the documents shared around the world," Anderson points out.

That's where you get to what Microsoft can do differently for devices. "The container and the settings are the sliver where mobile device management companies are playing today. Our strategy is multi-tier; protect at the device level, protect at the application level and we can also protect at the file level. We're the only one doing this; MobileIron, AirWatch, Good – they are not doing this. It all starts with identity and none of the other MDM vendors are doing that."

That matters for keeping information inside your company in ways he's surprisingly familiar with. "It turns out that Brad Anderson is not a unique name. There's a Brad Anderson over at Dell. I can't tell you the number of times I got email from his direct reports because of the autocomplete in Outlook. There was nothing the user was trying to do to compromise the company but I got data I wasn't supposed to have."


Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.