MDM Software Should Offer a Single Device-Management App for All Devices

By J. Gerry Purdy  |  Posted 2011-11-17 Print this article Print


The question then arises: Where does this leave IT managers when they are considering mobile-device management (MDM) software? Here are a few suggestions: The software must provide a single device-management application for all devices, including notebooks-PC and Macs-as well as smartphones and tablets. Any viable solution must be able to manage devices via wireless communications since they are not always directly connected to the corporate network.

The MDM software must also deliver a centralized dashboard for status and reporting, while providing a centralized policy declaration and compliance. It must also provide appropriate security on every device, including device passwords and encryption, and be able to wipe off corporate data if the device is lost or the employee leaves the company. Finally, it must manage the constantly changing mobile-device landscape.

Why are these criteria important? IT managers may have iPhone users who insist their devices are secure and demand access to corporate systems. Or administrators are confronted with Android users who are trying to gain backdoor access to the Microsoft Exchange server through ActiveSync. The worst mistake for any IT pro is to do nothing as this could lead to data wandering out the front door or backdoor. This is why a solid MDM is needed.

There are both server-based and remote cloud-based solutions for MDM. Most small and midsized organizations will opt for MDM that operates in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model provided by a third party. This provides them with no servers to install, no complex configurations and no up-front costs. The cloud-based SaaS solution eliminates the strain that rapidly changing mobile devices are placing on IT organizations by seamlessly incorporating the continuous updates to both the platform and each mobile device supported on the network.

Larger organizations will often select an in-house server-based solution to maintain direct control over their enterprise IT assets.

Device-management systems for mobile applications include Airwatch, Fiberlink MaaS360, Silverback, Sybase Afaria, Tangoe, and Giesecke & Devrient.

Make sure that the MDM solution you acquire provides software inventory and control (the ability to update applications, data and policies). The MDM technology should also have the ability to refresh, locate and send a message to the device, as well as lock the device, reset the password, wipe the device, change device policies and automatically quarantine devices.

On top of managing the allowable software to be loaded and maintained on these devices, there's a proliferation of applications from application stores. Policies need to be provided to declare what applications, if any, are allowed to be installed from any application store.

In summary, all small, medium or large enterprises need to use MDM software and services to manage their notebook PCs, smartphones and tablets. Viable solutions are available that will support all these devices. Complexity (in the mobile-device mix) just got simplified by using MDM. 


J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., is Principal Analyst of Mobile & Wireless at MobileTrax LLC.
Dr. Purdy has been covering mobile, wireless, cloud & enterprise for the past 20+ years. He writes analysis and recommendations each week in an easy-to-read manner that helps people better understand important technology issues and assist them in making better technology purchasing decisions.

Disclosure Statement: From time to time, I may have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is mentioned in a column. If that situation happens, then IÔÇÖll disclose it at that time.

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