MDM Solutions

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is fast becoming a somewhat competitive game and finding the right solution is a minefield. Who’s best at what and which of the excellent options are right for your company?

A breakdown of just some of the best MDM solutions and their vendors is an important tool and will arm companies in their search for the right solution for their needs.

• Absolute Manage: Absolute Manage is available as a stand-alone package or as a component with AM. It includes some excellent functions such as device geotracking, deployment of in house apps and detection of jailbroken devices.

• Airwatch: Airwatch is without a doubt one of the strongest MDM suites out there. Reviews for Airwatch are so far strong and their iOS support is extremely comprehensive.

• IBM: Highly recommended in general, IBM offer strong support and high security… perhaps the highest out there.

• MobileIron: MobileIron supports all phone devices but not desktops. A relatively new company but forging ahead in the popularity stakes.

• Symantec: Not newbies to the business of device security but certainly doing an excellent job of providing all that’s needed and more. For a trusted name, Symantec are an excellent choice in terms of MDM solutions.

• FancyFon: Supporting all mobile devices and relatively new, FancyFon is fast making a name for itself in MDM and is well worth checking out especially as it supports Apple’s 1OS 5.

There are of course many MDM solutions out there and vendors are offering features which are in some cases vastly different to one another. The main points to take into consideration with regards to security are that no MDM solution is infallible and that there are weak spots still to be ironed out with some contenders.

It is important to note that MDM providers (all of them!) use exactly the same system for managing iOS devices… that is an XML doc. And the spec for this is defined by Apple.

As a result, the features of each MDM solution are more or less the same. Some features may be erased or compromised by the user, including root configuration profiles which are removable.

iTunes may also make devices vulnerable to being wiped completely… ensure that you are fully informed of the pitfalls of each before you decide which MDM solution to go for.

There are so many MDM vendors currently cropping up that it’s a slightly overwhelming process to decide which to choose; it is worth remembering that now it is the task of the various MDM providers to work out how to make themselves stand out.

When one vendor rises head and shoulders above the other, this may not be a permanent situation though… in a world where MDM is developing at a breakneck speed it is sensible to retain an open mind.

Read the reviews and consider the weaknesses if any of the solutions which interest you; your company is an individual and no two organisations can hope to benefit from the same features.

It makes sense to remember that BYOD is bringing both convenience and speed to many workplaces in terms of access to data but the issue of security will be ever present and dropping the ball at this early stage is not a good idea. Keep up to date with new developments and ask questions as they occur. Your MDM provider should be at the ready with the answers!

The author has many years’ experience in IT within blue-chip organisations and writes professionally on a wide range of topics including Software Development, Project Management and Mobile Device Management (MDM), including the growing trend of Bring-Your-Own-Device ( BYOD ).