What Do Alien Invasions, David Duchovny and Mobile Device Management (MDM) Have in Common?

I want to begin this post with a quick preface: I am not a sci-fi movie aficionado. However, when the opportunity arises, I can’t pass up an entertaining film – especially a slightly outdated one that reminds me of how ridiculous popular culture of the late 90s and early 2000s really was. So when a family friend recently asked me to watch Evolution, I gladly agreed to commit an hour and a half of my life to the flick. Much to my own surprise, the themes throughout the film transcend beyond its corny dialogue, crummy visual effects, and happily-ever-after ending.

Starring David Duchovny (The X-Files), Orlando Jones (MADtv) and Julianne Moore (The Kids Are All Right), 2001’s Evolution takes the audience on a humorous and parodic alien-invasion adventure. When a lone meteor strikes down in Glen Canyon, Arizona, local professors Ira Kane (Duchovny) and Harry Block (Jones) are the first to investigate the site. They soon discover that what they presume to be a typical space rock specimen is actually harboring rapidly evolving alien organisms.

The organisms evolve so quickly throughout the film that, soon enough, alien life of all kinds begin to terrorize the Glen Canyon community. Within days, the Arizona governor, U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) and even the Army become involved in the fight to destroy the aliens before they destroy Earth.

You may be wondering, what on earth does this have to do with MDM? Let me explain. The meteor and the alien-life that spawned from it are much like mobile technology. As the alien life grew from tiny one-celled, organisms into full-grown living beings, no one was quite sure what they would evolve into next and how they would impact human life. The professors and experts studying them had to make many educated guesses and gut decisions – not all of which were correct – as to how to deal with this escalating public threat.

In the same vein, mobile technology has been growing steadily over the last few decades. We can now access more data with a wallet-sized device than we used to be able to with a server the size of Wal-Mart. And even though these new technologies are more widespread and better understood, the future impacts are still unknown. Thus, just as professors Kane and Block had to continually ask themselves how to deal with evolving alien life forms, policymakers and public servants must constantly consider how to keep up with – and manage – the exponential growth in mobile technology.

The film’s protagonists also face obstacles from other characters that attempt to micro-manage the battle against the aliens. Once the invasion gains media attention, both the CDC and the army become heavily involved. Due to a prior conflict with Army Col. Woodward, Kane and Block get kicked off the alien project team. Determined to assert his own power and authority over destroying the aliens with brute force, Woodward ignores any expert advice or warnings from Kane about the aliens – but excluding Kane proves to be a critical mistake.

Similarly, a large part of mobile device management has to do with involving the right people in decisions. Experts from a variety of fields can offer imperative insight into MDM policy and implementation. For example, the General Services Administration’s Schedule 70 brings together over 5,000 industry partner to provide helpful resources and products for state and local governments looking to purchase mobile management solutions. Furthermore, MDM policies should remain mission-focused and customer-centered. As opposed to Col. Woodward, public officials need to consider their constituents’ needs and prioritize data solutions that best meet these needs. An indignant ego will only impede management in a field that requires collaboration and adaptability.

Lastly, the best solutions are often the most unexpected. I don’t want to spoil Evolution’s ending, but let’s just say the way they finally destroy the aliens is wildly out of the blue (and quite hilarious, if you ask me). Needless to say, the protagonists exhibit an immense amount of innovation, a quality that is necessary for successful MDM management. Check out GovLoop’s recently published guide on mobile security to learn how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed creative MDM solutions to deliver improved services to disaster victims.

Now I’m not expecting everyone to go home tonight and watch Evolution. (Could I convince you if I told you Dan Aykroyd is in it?) But, here are some takeaways for those of us that may find ourselves fighting off aliens or – more realistically – implementing MDM solutions:

  • Know what you’re dealing with.
  • Keep it mission-focused and prioritize needs.
  • Don’t be afraid to think outside the box for innovative solutions.

For more information, watch the Evolution trailer and read GovLoop’s mobile security guide.

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