David Akka writes:
The issue of choosing the right MDM solution has become more and more pressing, especially for companies implementing a Bring Your Own Device policy. The market place is becoming increasingly crowded with 50 or so vendors who now position themselves as MDMs. Some vendors offer application sharing, some multitenant management, other vendors have a heritage in security or a different strength all together. For organisations considering which option is best it is important to discern between the best known names or the most expensive solutions and select an MDM solution that is fit for purpose.
Step 1: Define your mobile strategy
This may seem like an obvious statement but anyone choosing an MDM must first define their mobile strategy and make considerations which may help determine which MDM is the best fit. For example this may include; what are we doing about BYOD? Will users bring their own device or will they mix and match. Will we provide a device they will be permitted to use for personal activities as well? What are we doing about creating a data vault and will we define an enterprise vault on the device? Will we allow Bluetooth? Will we permit photographs while on-site? Are we allowing employees to install private applications on a company device?
Only when you have thought about all these factors and defined your mobile strategy will you be able to think about an MDM which will best suit this strategy.
Step 2: Define the number of devices
The next stage is to think about how many devices you are going to manage, is it hundreds or tens of thousands? The reason that numbers are important is that if you take an on premise solution then you need to try and think about the number of servers and impact on price. If you have more than two or three hundred devices you will need to begin to think about issues such as simultaneous registration and having that capability which will, in turn, significantly narrow down the field of options.
Step 3: Consider Reliability
Reliability is hugely important when it comes to an MDM. When we look at mobility an MDM will pretty much enable everything, this, in turn, means the reliability needs to be high. Moving to mobile means dropping the 9 to 5 mentality and moving towards a 24/7 offering. The whole point of mobility is that people will use it anytime and anywhere and your MDM needs to be able to stand up to that. It is therefore key to define from a very early stage, what downtime can your organisation withstand?
Step 4: Consider Customisation
Will your company be happy to work with what comes out of the box, do you have key requirements which are unique to you? Few MDM vendors allow heavy customisations and if this is a make or break issue for you, it will significantly reduce the players in the field.
Step 5: Which license model works for you?
Probably one of the key considerations and differentiators when it comes to an MDM is where you would like that MDM to sit, in other words, do you require an on premise or cloud solution? We all know Cloud or SaaS based solutions can provide significant savings and benefits via lower infrastructure and support costs, faster implementation and maintenance but, for many, it comes with security concerns and worries.
In addition it is important to take the following factors into account when creating your strategy.
Does the solution provide:
- Cross OS Device Management via a central web-based console
- Inventory and asset management
- Remote lock and wipe
- App Management including rogue app identification
- An Enterprise Data Boundary
- Real-Time Roaming Notification
- Persistent logs and audit trails
- Enterprise Integration
When formulating your mobile and MDM strategy taking these steps can help you level the playing field and choose the solution that best fits your requirements. Rather than being driven by external factors you can arm yourself with the correct information and research the offerings that can benefit your organisation. Be warned, a mistake can be costly.
David Akka MSc, MBA, is the Managing Director of Magic Software Enterprises (UK) Ltd. Mr Akka has been with Magic Software since 1998 and is considered one of the organisation’s foremost authorities on Cloud computing and SOA methodologies. Prior to working with Magic Software, David held the position of CTO, Service Delivery Manager and worked in several management consulting roles.