Don't be fooled by typical mobile device management (MDM) rhetoric. There's more than one way to manage a mobile device. You don't have to lock-in to a single vendor nor do you have to "beat to fit and paint to match" your BYOD program into some one-size-fits-all template. Absolute Software's MDM suite just might be the answer to the burning question, "How can we implement a BYOD solution that works for us (The Company) and our employees?" Absolute Software's (Absolute) MDM might not be familiar to you but I'll bet that you've heard of LoJack, known as Computrace in the Enterprise, the industry's best theft prevention and recovery application ever. Yep, that's Absolute and they've been around a long time. And, longevity in the IT business is something that you look for when seeking a long term solution for your business.
You might have noticed that I didn't include Absolute in my 10 BYOD mobile device management suites you need to know but perhaps I should have. After taking a closer look at Absolute's MDM solution, I realize that discounting it based on its non-support of Blackberry and Symbian was a bit harsh--especially in light of what's happening in the mobile industry. Absolute's MDM manages PC, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone, and Android devices.
I decided to give Absolute a second look and I'm glad I did. There are aspects of their MDM solution that you need to know about.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Absolute Software's Director of Product Management, Tim Williams. Beyond discussing Absolute's view of mobile device management, Williams gave me some good insight into the business aspects of BYOD, including the following paraphrased quotation.
"BYOD is a business issue, not a technology issue that companies need to solve." Tim Williams, Director of Product Marketing, Absolute Software.
Setting up a BYOD program shouldn't be seen necessarily or primarily as a money-saving move. It should be seen more as an employee benefit--more focused on empowering the employee and allowing the employee to work with devices and operating systems with which he is familiar and comfortable. Most of the cost of a BYOD program stems from the support of the devices, not in the management software or policy drafting. Some companies have noted that BYOD programs aren't cost effective and have dropped them or scaled back on their adoption.
There's no need to hit the panic button when you see costs rising for a BYOD implementation. Instead, it's wiser to clearly define what you want to support, in terms of devices, and then stick to that model. Allowing every type of device will drive costs up--mostly in supporting those users.
Absolute Manage doesn't force policies into your environment; it works with yours. "Our intelligent automation technology is designed to automate your policies, not enforce ours onto your devices. You can also define layered policies as well," says Williams.
"Our approach is to be user-centric and user-empowering. And of all the devices that an employee uses in the course of their work, we believe that one of those devices is going to be a computer, not just mobile. We manage both computers and mobile devices."
Absolute Manage rolls mobile application management (MAM), mobile content management (MCM) and mobile device management (MDM) under a single software umbrella. Using the suite, you can choose your degree of control and enforcement. If you're really concerned about content and data security on a device, check out the Absolute Safe product that locks down content and sharing availability.
Absolute Manage MDM is available as a component within Absolute Manage or as a standalone product.
Absolute Manage MDM does not require an agent to be installed on the device for basic management functions, such as enrollment, querying, deploying configuration profiles, or locking and wiping devices. However, there is an app provided called Absolute Apps that offers these features:
- Self-service, on-demand configuration profiles
- Detection of jailbroken devices
- Distribution of ASVPP app redemption codes
- Device geotracking
- Self-serve portal for recommended App Store apps
- Deployment of in-house apps
Be sure to download Absolute's free BYOD Policy Implementation Guide.
I think that Absolute's Management suite will resonate with administrators and CXOs alike. The fact that it also manages the entire computing spectrum gives Absolute a big advantage in this market. No, their software doesn't manage Blackberry and Symbian devices but who cares? They manage Android devices, Windows phones, iOS devices, Macs and PCs. What else do you need?
That's a great talkback point. What else do you need? Do you think it's worth it to support every possible device that someone brings in or do you think it's more worthwhile (and cost-effective) to limit the types of devices?