Not All MDM Solutions Are Created Equal

Wed, 08/31/2011 - 7:22am
Mark Gentile, Odyssey Software

Is your team being overwhelmed by requests to manage, provision and secure mobile devices? Are you thinking of purchasing an MDM solution?

Below are a few items you will want to consider before purchasing, taking the leap of faith.

1. Be aware of the MDM product’s single points of failure
Though the MDM server may be an obvious single point of failure, look for hidden single points of failure, such as network operation centers (NOCs) and proprietary mobile messaging. On the Configuration Manager platform, look to vendors that allow for failover capabilities and native reliability.

Mark Gentile2. Know if deployed devices can be automatically grouped
Certain MDM solutions group devices automatically during enrollment. Automatic grouping makes regrouping a daunting task. Automatic grouping can be detrimental as one does not have the ability to group devices based on necessary criteria, such as the presence, or absence, of a required application or jailbreak/rooting status. Many MDM solutions only allow for native reporting within the specific platform; even though 3rd party vendors are an option, separate licenses are required at an additional cost.

3. Question your MDM vendor
How long has the company been around?
How many deployments do they offer and how many devices are there across all deployments?
Is the company profitable?
Does the MDM solution have control of the device’s IP?

4. Question promises of separating and securing personal and corporate data
Differentiating personal and corporate data can pose a significant challenge. While promises of secure data may be appealing, it may lack some necessary capabilities.

a. Users typically want to take advantage of third party and native applications to access all device functionalities, such as spreadsheets, slide decks and other attached documents. To access all features, users find other mechanisms, like personal email accounts, which ultimately put holes into a once, secure container.

b. Companies often equip devices with work-friendly applications. Downloaded third party applications reduce the ability for a secure container.

Due to these constraints and added stress loads for IT personnel, companies are finding that they are ineffectively separating and securing enterprise and personal information on mobile devices within the enterprise. Mobile device OS virtualization is a necessity if the goal is to separate and secure data. Because solutions have not evolved enough for data to be automatically separated, companies must advise employees to continually backup data on their devices in order to prevent data loss.

5. Match the MDM solution with your organization’s strategy

Additional maintenance costs, training and deployment are required for stand-alone MDM products. Instead, by leveraging industry-standard platforms already being deployed by organizations, companies do not have to be concerned with lost data. With the possibility of a non-compliant iOS policy with full integration and automatic grouping of devices, remediation policies can be applied.

6. Ensure large scale deployment is a possibility

On the market today, many MDM solutions are tested on a small scale; however, larger enterprises have many more devices being deployed. When choosing an MDM solution, be sure to avoid hidden points of failure and instead look for capabilities on the Configuration Manager platform that leverage native reliability.

Of course, there are many considerations but these suggestions will assist when choosing the best MDM solution for your organization. Following these suggestions will allow for necessary capabilities, such as higher returns, constant security and manageability on your mobile device investment.

Mark Gentile is founder, president and CEO of Odyssey Software.


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