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MobileIron Bridge fills Windows 10 application deployment void

MobileIron Bridge, a new add-on service, expands IT's Windows 10 application deployment options. Admins can now deploy and manage legacy applications via enterprise mobility management.

IT professionals have a new option for Windows 10 application deployment and management.

MobileIron Bridge allows IT to deploy legacy apps to Windows 10 PCs through the company's enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform. The product also lets admins set granular policies on Windows 10 PCs the same way they can on mobile devices. The ability to deploy all types of desktop apps through the same enterprise app store centralizes management for IT and provides a better user experience, experts said.

"It clearly fills a gap," said Paul Troisi, chief customer officer at Troy Mobility, an IT consultancy and MobileIron partner in Peabody, Mass. "You now have a single console to distribute those apps, because, before, you couldn't put that in a single app store."

MobileIron Bridge can also manage the legacy apps it deploys on Windows 10; other EMM platforms do not offer these capabilities natively. Companies that migrate to Windows 10 often use virtual desktop infrastructure to deliver and support legacy apps, but connectivity issues can lead to a poor user experience, said Terry Cosgrove, research vice president at Gartner.

Windows 10 application deployment via EMM

The APIs in Windows 10 only give mobile device management software access to applications in the Microsoft Installer (MSI) file format. They do not provide management of non-MSI applications, such as executable (.exe) apps. This is a problem because the majority of legacy Windows applications, as well as Office 2016, are .exe apps.

"Because the EMM system in its basic form can't see those apps, there is no way to manage them," Cosgrove said. "There are legacy apps that inhibit progress. Enterprises are stuck between the old and new world."

Being able to provision policies and controls over the air will ... make our lives easier to manage PCs and mobile devices.
Paul Troisichief customer officer at Troy Mobility

MobileIron Bridge lets IT use scripts to deploy non-MSI apps through an enterprise app store and manage them on Windows 10 devices. Admins can also set and enforce policies on those apps. As more businesses migrate to Windows 10, EMM will provide a more consistent way to enforce policies across both PCs and mobile devices, Cosgrove said.

"When diving into Windows 10, they see they have old apps and old policies that they can't take with them," said Ojas Rege, chief strategy officer at MobileIron, based in Mountain View, Calif.

MobileIron Bridge extends Group Policy

Group Policy in Windows 10 lacks certain key controls that IT grew accustomed to in older versions, such as the ability to enforce encryption. With MobileIron Bridge, admins can manage Windows 10 PCs with the same EMM platform they use to manage Apple iOS and Google Android devices -- without sacrificing the more extensive policies they're used to.

"IT can enforce those policies and security controls standardized across the organization," Troisi said. "Being able to provision policies and controls over the air will ... make our lives easier to manage PCs and mobile devices from one console."

Plus, when migrating to Windows 10, IT can carry over existing policies to the new OS, Rege said.

MobileIron Bridge is available this week as a preview, and the official release will be later this year. The add-on starts at $3 per device, per month.

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