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Mar 06, 2013

Enterprise Mobile Management: Applications or Devices?

Mobile application management (MAM) and mobile device management (MDM) are hot topics in the IT world for numerous reasons. But overall, these competing enterprise mobile management approaches share one common thread – who owns the device? Both enterprise mobility management systems offer their own benefits -- however, we found that an MAM approach is well suited for most corporations. Mobile application management  allows users to bring their own devices and IT to protect what’s important to the company -- and take advantage of the current bring your own device (BYOD) movement. It’s a cost-effective, scalable approach, but there are some instances where MDM plays out.

When MDM Makes Sense Let’s start with a scenario of where MDM works. Gartner defines MDM or mobile device management as “software that provides the following functions: software distribution, policy management, inventory management, security management and service management for smartphones and media tablets.” So, in essence, you’re looking at a mobile device management strategy that starts with the company standardizing on one or more platforms (Blackberry, iOS, Android, Windows, etc.) and supporting certain devices. It’s a good strategy if your company owns the devices and distributes them to employees.

Where BYOD Fits In However, there’s this nagging little problem in companies all over the world today – users are bringing their own devices to work. They have preferences and often the devices are more advanced than the IT standard issue. This bring your own devices (BYOD) movement is becoming a big topic, especially on the security front. All of these devices can create a support and security headache for IT. However, the devices (mostly smartphones and tablets) are coming to work with employees. And as Intel found out in an internal review of 17,000 employees bringing their own devices – BYOD increased productivity by 57 minutes per day. In addition, companies are reporting improved productivity with BYOD – “employee retention, enhanced mobility, a more flexible work environment and improved IT value to the business”.

MDM vs. Employee Privacy But as our recent survey of mobile workers points out – workers want to use their devices that they purchase, but the majority of them don’t want IT to access their personal data. This becomes a problem in MDM. More often than not, this strategy encompasses putting software on the phone or tablet that “wipes it” when the device is lost, stolen or considered compromised.

What Happens When the Company Pays the Bill? So, what about when the employer reimburses mobile minutes or service fees? Who owns the data then? It’s a sticky question and one that our second approach deals with – mobile application management.  MAM is the management of the security, data and updates at the app level.

MAM’s Power to IT and the People When a company looks at the apps and the corporate data they are accessing, it answers the big question of “Whose device and data is it?” When you put the protection at the app level, IT doesn't have to worry about locking down the device. They can just delete the apps in the case a device is compromised. It’s a much more manageable approach, especially when you consider the number of platforms and devices workers are bringing in.

Next Steps: We invite you to dive deeper with MAM and its potential with our mobile worker survey.

Mark Lorion

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