Under Development: Mobile Device Management Buyer's Guide

We will look at key characteristics of MDM products, including the ability to handle multiple operating systems and devices, tracking and analysis features, and security capabilities.

Jim Rapoza, Contributor

July 11, 2011

2 Min Read

Say the words "mobile device management" to some IT pros and their response will be, "Sure, we have a system to manage and secure our employees' laptops." If you specify mobile phones, they might refer to the management tools that RIM provides to handle corporate BlackBerrys.

Well, a few years ago that might have been enough. But today businesses need tools that enable them to manage and secure not only laptops but also an assortment of company-supported and employee-owned smartphones and tablets. To that end, we're working on an MDM Buyer's Guide that will look at many of the key characteristics of these products, from the ability to handle multiple mobile operating systems and devices to tracking and analysis features. We'll also dig into security capabilities and the ability of these tools to integrate with broader enterprise security applications.

Why spend the money? You know the basic drill. These are powerful computers (especially in the case of tablets) that can connect to most any company application or data resource and store and create a wide variety of content. Unfortunately, these powerful computers are easily lost and are targets for theft. Lacking proper security or management capabilities, the keys to your applications, resources, and data could wind up in a stranger's hands.

To manage and secure these devices, you need to consider a few factors. While some companies will try to standardize, the reality is that most will need to support multiple platforms, including Android, Apple iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile. And some of these devices won't be owned by the company, though they will be used to access your applications and resources. This can lead to a high-wire act for IT.

Thus we need a mobile device management system that can handle a wide variety of capabilities, from inventory management to security to usage analysis. From a security standpoint, this can involve the ability to enforce security settings and application use on devices that connect to your networks while also managing application patching and updating. It can also call for the ability to remotely control devices and track, lock, or selectively or completely wipe the data from lost or stolen devices.

So how can businesses today find the right tools to manage their mobile device infrastructures? That's the focus of our upcoming Buyer's Guide. We've reached out to a number of MDM vendors and asked them to respond to our questionnaire with specific information on their systems. Our report will include a features chart listing important capabilities and features.

The RFI has been released to the MDM community, and responses are already rolling in. Watch for updates and our full report coming soon.

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About the Author(s)

Jim Rapoza


Jim Rapoza is Senior Research Analyst at the Aberdeen Group and Editorial Director for Tech Pro Essentials. For over 20 years he has been using, testing, and writing about the newest technologies in software, enterprise hardware, and the Internet. He previously served as the director of an award-winning technology testing lab based in Massachusetts and California. Rapoza is also the winner of five awards of excellence in technology journalism, and co-chaired a summit on technology industry security practices. He is a frequent speaker at technology conferences and expositions and has been regularly interviewed as a technology expert by national and local media outlets including CNN, ABC, NPR, and the Associated Press.

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