10 BYOD mobile device management suites you need to know

10 BYOD mobile device management suites you need to know

Summary: Can't decide on a BYOD management suite? This list will put you on the fast track to finding the one that's right for you.

TOPICS: Mobility

For those of you still kicking tires on a BYOD management program, I have a special treat for you: A list of ten MDM suite vendors that are itching to make first contact with you. The good people over at Enterprise iOS made a valiant effort at an extensive comparison chart of 30 or so different MDM vendors for you. I'm not one who likes to reinvent the wheel so you can look at that chart for yourself. My part of this evaluation is to highlight ten of those awesome companies--some of whom I've spoken with, others I know by directly using their software and still others I know from independent study and evaluation. The ten MDM vendors I'm highlighting here in no way is an endorsement, paid or otherwise, nor is it a 'diss' of the vendors that I don't list in my ten "favorites."

This is also not a review. To do a review in a short article would be unfair to any of the vendors mentioned. This is simply a highlight and a "Hey, you should look at these MDMs before you settle on a BYOD solution."

The single most important qualifying or disqualifying point is that the MDM software must support more than a single platform. The second is that it must support Apple's iOS. For example, if an MDM vendor supports only Android, it isn't listed in my ten. I feel that any vendor worth its salt needs to, at the very least, support Apple's iOS, Android and Windows. Other platforms are optional--you know, because of market share and so on. Support for Desktop OSs is also optional but suggested as something that should be on the drawing board.

This list is in alphabetical order.

  1. AirWatch - AirWatch is one of the best MDM suites that I've seen. It perhaps sets a new standard for MDM in it extensive support for iOS and other mobile devices. If there's any negative thing to say about it, it's the fact that it doesn't support any standard desktop OSs. That said, I'm thinking that AirWatch is a definite "one to watch" and if you don't at least try this one out, I question whether you should consider BYOD at all.
  2. AmTel MDM - OK, this one's a real sleeper for me. I'd never heard of it before but it has as many or more features than just about any other MDM in the list. I think you should give it a good look for your BYOD implementation. Be aware, though, this suite is so good that AmTel might be inadvertently painting an "acquisition" target on their backs. Hold out for the big money, guys (wink).
  3. Dialogs Smartman Device Management - Smartman is a SOPHOS company and this one gave me quite a surprise. It has all the features you'd expect from a full-blown enterprise management suite. I'm quite impressed with the level of quality and support from this suite considering that it comes from a company that isn't completely focused on device management alone. Another sleeper that deserves your attention. Dornröschen aufwachen!
  4. Exitor DME - Although I'm not too familiar with Exitor, personally, they compare favorably with the other MDMs in the list. They support every mobile device type and they support all but a small handful of enterprise-level features. Exitor comes to you from Denmark. Sorry, I don't know any cute Danish phrases but I do like the cheese and other non-rotten edibles from the state of Denmark.
  5. FancyFon - The name leaves a bit to be desired but this entry from the Emerald Isle is a serious contender in the MDM market. And, by any other name it wouldn't smell any sweeter than it does now. FancyFon supports all mobile device types, includes some very high-level enterprise features and fully support Apple's iOS 5.x. I'll drink to that.
  6. Fiberlink MaaS360 - OK, any MDM company that can make me laugh by giving me a whitepaper named, "The Ten Commandments of BYOD" can't be all bad. In fact, MaaS360 (Mobile as a Service?) is quite the MDM gladiator with support for every mobile and almost every desktop OS on the market (No support for Linux desktops). I like it. Whatever their name means, I think it has MaaS appeal for BYODers to be.
  7. IBM - Yes, Big Blue is into mobile device management with its Tivoli product IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices. Tivoli manages mobile devices as light "endpoints." Believe me, once you manage something with Tivoli (I'm a former Tivoli administrator), you own that device. For some, Tivoli might be a bit heavy-handed because of its ability to absolutely manage every aspect of an endpoint but don't worry, the device still belongs to you. When you go Blue, you never go back.
  8. MobileIron - It's hard not to play favorites when you look at a product like MobileIron. MobileIron supports all phone device types but doesn't support desktop OSs yet. This young company is definitely one to watch. You should also ask for a demo. As Darth Vader would say, "Impressive."
  9. Symantec - It probably doesn't surprise you too much to know that Symantec is on this list. Symantec has been a leader in device security for as long as I've been in IT. It's product list is long but its list of supported device types is even longer. If you could run SGI on a wristwatch, Symantec would support it. Don't get any ideas though, no one wants a SGI-based wristwatch.
  10. Zenprise - If there's a single company's MDM you need to check out, it's Zenprise. You should look closely at their products even if you've already decided on a MDM. It doesn't support desktop OSs but for the long list of mobile devices it supports, you get a very extensive list of features. In fact, Zenprise's MDM has so many features, perhaps it could help you with your motorcycle maintenance as well. You know, since motorcycles are mobile devices and all.

In choosing your MDM suite, my best advice is to first refer to my list of downselected suites, then look at the great MDM reference that Enterprise iOS created for you--examine the list of features of each suite and then make your own short list. Hit their websites, look at the product demos--some of which can actually use your device in the demo--and make a good decision. Honestly, it would be very difficult for me to choose one of the ten for my own MDM.

Talk back and let us know if you've chosen one from the list and tell us how you feel about it. We'd be especially interested in hearing from administrators and end users.

Topic: Mobility


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • Good Technology?

    Interesting you didn't list Good Technology as they are likely the major player in other device MDM due to the container approach they use which seperates corporate data from personal. They also have a means to secure Apps now (Good Dynamics).

    Few you listed I've never even heard of and had to check the last Gartner magic quadarant if they were even evaluated.
    • Do you use Good Technology?

      They lack many of the significant features compared to the others. Click through and see for yourself.
      • features?

        Which features is Good Technology lacking? I'm familar with iOS for enterprise. We did a formal RFP for MDM's a year or so ago and at the time Good is (likely still is) the lone solution that can seperate employee data from corporate, provide an encrypted container and doesn't rely on Exchange ActiveSync (which we don't use). Good also provides true PUSH of email.

        The nice thing is the MDM market has solutions for all types of deployments. Considering our corporate vertical is very security / compliance focused Good met our needs.
      • Subject: SOTI Features & the Customers to Back them up

        Hi Ken- as we discussed previously, SOTI may be an MDM vendor that has been flying under your radar. MobiControl is our flagship suite that offers unique, multi-platform solutions spanning Android, Windows, BlackBerry and iOS devices. Take a glance at the key features offered through SOTI’s MobiControl as well as other device management products: http://www.soti.net/Mobicontrol/KeyFeatures.aspx

        Also available, check out a few customers and case studies SOTI has been working with, here: http://soti.net/SOTINET/NewUI/CaseStudies.aspx

        - Michael Salmassian, SOTI PR
        SOTI Inc.
    • The first really good free Mobile Device Management!


      we use in our company, the free mobile device management solution from AppTec 360. It is really a great solution and free ☺



  • And how about JAMFsoftware's CasperSuite...?

    They are very quick of implementing new Stuff and have Upgrades ready along with the Update of every iOS Update within 24h or shorter...
    • It only supports Apple products

      It doesn't qualify under my rules for inclusion.
  • Tivoli?

    Tivoli is not a product I would use again.
    • It's based on BigFix

      IBM's MDM product is based on a company called BigFix. They are dropping the Tivoli name anyhow
  • AirWatch Announces Support for Mac OSX


    A few hours after your article posted, AirWatch announced support for Mac OSX. (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120611006567/en)

    I just wanted to share the good news. Thanks for the article!
    AirWatch Team
    • Doesn't that figure...

      Congrats to AirWatch!
  • Don't forget IDC's market leader, SAP (Sybase) Afaria

    According to IDC, Afaria has led MDM market for past 10 years and has about 1,000 customers.

    The latest version 7.0 (from my employer) sports a revamped, modern UI, integration with SAP BusinessObjects for reporting, and Telecom Expense Management (TEM) features.

    • Too expensive

      We considered this one as well. It looks solid, until you start playing with the interfase which is pretty complicated. Lots of xml and other config files to play with, so reallly not very friendly.

      We are looking for something more friendlier for users of Windows Ecosystems.

      Anyone any recommendations?
  • BYOD management requires more than multi-OS support

    The topic of BYOD is oversaturating the market right now but few are honing in on how to effectively manage this trend. Sure, choosing the right MDM suite is part of it, but it???s also creating the right strategy around this solution that will ensure success in the enterprise. When looking at qualifying solutions, multi-platform support was something that was critical 18 months ago but shouldn???t be the defining criteria today. Segmented trust models and security policies are key in being able to accommodate different users by device and location - BYOD policy management in the U.S. is different than it is in the EU. Other key factors include, application management and data security as administrators are looking for deeper levels of functionality like segmenting based on liability to the company and being able to limit what data can reside on an employee???s device. Having the ability to block and manage at this level of detail is the only way companies will survive the BYOD trend, especially in sensitive industries such as healthcare and financial services. Tangoe is the global leader in mobility management solutions and supports large global companies to SMBs on this exact topic. More information can be found here: http://www.tangoe.com/
  • IBM Endpoint Manager

    The IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices is based on their BigFix acquisition a few years back, which can manage Windows and Mac desktops/servers. So it's a nice tool to manage everything with the one console. Definately worth having on your shortlist.
  • Juniper?

    Junipers Junos Pulse also merits a place (above quite a few on that list). They provide MDM with AV, Lock and Wipe, Back up and Restore, Firewalling, Anti Spam + they also cover all of the main OS's (iOS,Android,Windows, Symbian). They have a consumer front end and an enterprise front end.

    The other major aspect for the BYOD is how it works with SSL VPN, if you don't have a security profile active (AV, Secure Password etc) or your infected, your not allowed on the network.

  • Integrated Security: PC + Mac + smartphone + tablet

    As other posters said, MDM by itself is not a wise solution, for two reasons: 1) It becomes a new silo which you have to manage separately. 2) It does not secure your network against the unmanaged devices that employees are trying to bring onto your network (devices that are not yet enrolled in your MDM system). MDM is also kind of expensive. ForeScout is shipping an integrated solution that provides visibility and control over PCs, Macs, Linux, and smartphones. It secures both your network and your mobile devices. Check out www.forescout.com.
    • Check out MobiControl's Global Secure Access

      There are many resources in the enterprise, and the good MDM solutions actually have the capabilities of blocking access to those resources. For example Secure Email Access in MobiControl has the capability to block access to email from devices not registered on MobiControl.

      As per the information Silo, I'm not so sure what you mean. Most companies have integrated MobiControl's Reporting capabilities into their real time dashboards. As one of our customer puts it "We no longer run reports. Whenever you want to know what is going on, we go to the dashboard for a real time snapshoot of pretty much any situation".
  • SOTI MobiControl

    SOTI MobiControl is as well an excellent alternative. Beyond the BYOD scenario, it has some features that allow to mitigate the issues related to Android segmentation. The Android Plus advanced features go above and beyond email settings and security on certain platforms such as Samsung.

    Their BYOD supports extends to the most popular platforms such as iPhones, iPads, all sort of Windows based devices. Their MobiAssist Plug-in also does very cool things with BlackBerries.

    Check out www.soti.net/mobicontrol
  • Mobile device managements vendors

    FYI.- If you need more info about mdm products, vendors, news, analysis, articles... Visit this www.managesmartphone.com. You´ll find a lot of resources