Here's what to look for in MDM software and what limitations IT still faces in letting employees use personal devices for work.
Data At The Core
The feature our survey respondents want the most is policy setting and compliance, followed by being able to push updates to devices and to remotely wipe data if a device is lost or someone leaves the company. One of the biggest concerns about BYOD and mobile device sprawl is that sensitive company data will leak out, so when assessing MDM suites, follow the data. We looked at where the MDM software's control of company data stops, and what assurances it gives that the device is secured according to company policy.
Since many MDM features are the same across products, ask each vendor what its differentiating features are. For example, Symantec bundles in data loss prevention capabilities -- a challenge because the mobile operating system doesn't provide any native DLP capabilities.
While your IT organization is asking all of these tactical and strategic questions, make sure to ask this final question: Should you even buy MDM, or will the market melt away in two years? As the MDM market matures, operating system vendors are starting to give away MDM-like features. Google says it will provide a level of MDM within Google Apps for free, and Microsoft's updated group policy for Windows 8 supports most MDM feature (though only on Microsoft devices for now).
Some IT leaders still will see MDM as indispensable, given their data security risks and the pressure to offer more apps and device options to employees. But realize that you have options.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.