As enterprise IT gears up to battle mobility run amok, vendors are using a mix of acronyms to disguise few comprehensive offerings. Our research shows little distinction between products that are designated as BYOD and those that are MDM, MAM or something else altogether. So now what?
The boxes below and on the previous page show how even established vendors like Good and Symantec are slinging acronyms; this phenomenon isn't limited to upstarts. So when issuing an RFP, understand, but don't be limited by, the distinguishing characteristics among the major categories of products on the market that address BYOD.
MAM: Mobile application management systems enable IT to manage apps on mobile devices. This includes pushing software packages and related configuration files onto devices, maintaining an inventory of installed software and versions, and updating software when new versions come out. MAM can also enforce application blacklist and whitelist rules about software allowed on devices and present a catalog of both available and recommended applications to employees. Companies that specialize solely in MAM include AppCentral (although its offering is extremely limited), FeedHenry, Kony, Mocana, and Partnerpedia.
MDM: Mobile device management encompasses products that manage the devices themselves, as if they were any other element in the network. MDM systems complete a number of jobs, including enrolling, provisioning, tracking, maintenance, and backup, but the term is fast falling out of favor. Among our 40 vendors, only Wyse calls itself pure-play MDM. That doesn't mean it lacks security-focused features; in fact, Wyse checked most boxes. So again, don't go solely by acronym.
We also asked about WLAN access management functions focused on protecting corporate Wi-Fi networks when employees connect personal devices. These systems also measure network performance and uptime, provide tools to address problems, and can detect when devices or rogue access points are added. Fluke Networks is the only respondent company that focuses solely on WLAN access management.
Classification: MDM and BYOD
Cost: $72 per user
Deployment options: SaaS, on premises, virtual appliance
Platforms supported: Android, Blackberry, iOS
As for the six vendors that say their suites do "everything," our research indicates otherwise--five lack at least one element: Absolute Software has no call blocking or call routing; Antenna Software lacks file/folder-level encryption and call routing; BoxTone has no call blocking or call routing; Fiberlink lacks call routing; IBM can't prevent malicious app downloads, block mobile malware, or provide call routing. AirWatch is the only one that checked every box.
"There are many products that label themselves MDM that do both MDM and MAM and even a few more things, like anti-malware or VPN," says Lisa Phifer, president of consultancy Core Competence and a specialist in mobile device security. "This creates confusion in the marketplace as MAM vendors try to pigeonhole MDM products into just device management."
Unfortunately, you may need to budget to overlap a few products until some acquisitions happen and leaders emerge. That likely won't occur for at least 18 months, says Winthrop. The good news is that most vendors offer a mix of software-as-a-service, on-premises software, and physical and virtual appliances. We present pricing in our report, with a range from $10,000 to even get started to $4 per device per month in a SaaS offering. Winthrop says it's also possible that enterprises will decide BYOD is not the best approach. "Instead, there are companies taking a corporate-owned, personally enabled--COPE--mentality, in which the enterprise purchases a device and service plan that the employee wants," he says. We suspect few IT pros will mourn the passing of BYOD.
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