Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The importance of Mobile Device Management in Enterprise Mobility

In simple terms Mobile device management (MDM) could be described as tools which intend to control users, devices, data, applications and their configuration settings in mobile devices. No doubt the importance and usage of mobile devices have penetrated in large extent around the globe recently due to the surge in sales of high-end mobile devices and owing to the growth in mobile data services. But now the main challenges ahead include managing billions of sophisticated and complicated devices which seem to be a tougher and complex job. Various random researches have highlighted that reputed organizations have now started understanding the need for mobile security with enhanced capabilities like superior authentication and password policy management. CIOs of various companies had conveyed apprehensions about the leaking of vital data and now they are considering mobile security as their number one priority to cover the loopholes. With the increase in the complexity and growth of these mobile devices, manufacturers are at loggerheads and need a single administrative console which can be centrally managed, and capable of securing and deploying mobile data, devices and applications. In this scenario, neither the enterprises have the awareness levels nor do they have the expertise in evaluating the products and services available. In the following sections an attempt has been made to highlight the importance of MDM in enterprise mobility and which products could be utilized for the security of their mobile data.

Mobile device management and data security

Mobility has reached its pinnacle and has become an integrated part of organizations to an extent where these devices ought to be managed and secured at par with PCs. Thus, the security of data on mobile devices has become sine-qua-non. High tech savvy CIOs are now placing important and sensitive data into their smartphones, removable storage and mobile devices; which further strengthens the need for an efficient mobile device management tool

Importance of mobile device management solutions

MDM plays a vital role in enhancing the security and functionality of mobile communications network. Besides it also helps in decreasing their cost and downtime. The solutions of mobile device management include a comprehensive life cycle of business’ handheld devices. These solutions include components like software management, systems management, operating systems management and mobile security. They help in aiding and automating the IT tasks like asset management, configuration asset management, over-the-air (OTA) software along with backup and restore.

Leveraging OTA capabilities in Mobile Device Management solution

With the coming up of Over-the-Air or (OTA) component, CIOs has got a sort of relief for their MDM solutions. Now in the event of loss or stolen mobile phones, important data stored in devices can be erased remotely with ease by sending OTA in the form of binary SMS message. Moreover Operators are now realizing that over-the-air mobile device management (OTA MDM) solution can considerably shrink their cost of operations.

Mobile Device Management products in the market

Sybase Afaria is another par excellence MDM and extensive security solution available to businesses. It has the capability to encrypt data and all the security policies are enforced centrally. The data and content in it can be backed up and deleted if the device is lost or stolen.

Provides extensive security

Data and content is backed up and can be deleted if a device is lost or stolen. Sensitive data on devices is encrypted, and security policies are centrally enforced.

Offers centralized, powerful device management

Afaria provides the tools to solve complex management tasks simply and effectively. IT has full control of the range of devices and applications deployed and can view information from a single console.

Allows IT to deliver fixes, upgrades and refreshes to mobile users in the field

IT can add, update or remove applications, data and content without the users’ involvement and can ensure mobile workers have the correct software and data in the field..

Minimizes user downtime with bandwidth optimization

All management tasks can be done regardless of bandwidth available, thanks to Afaria’s optimization capabilities. Applications managed with Afaria have continuous, consistent availability and performance. All management activity happens in the background, leaving the user undisturbed.

CloudSync SaaSFunambol is the leading provider of the MDM solution for open source Cloud Sync and push email. According to its provider it is the world’s first SaaS mobile cloud sync and push email solution. The product offers quick and easy interface for portals, mobile operators, device makers and software vendors to provide cloud sync and push email services without end software vendors to provide cloud sync and push email services without any need to acquire software, hardware and personnel. This helps its customers to reduce finances, speed time to provide market and reduce risk. The product has a state-of-the-art security capability. This product can be localized with a support of different languages.

  • End-to-end solution for managing the essential elements of combined 4G and 3G devices
  • Supports multiple standards, including OMA DM as well as 4G and 3G networks
  • Strong server foundation for efficient device management in operator environment
  • Optimized for 4G operational challenges in all IP-network
  • Highly cost-effective
  • DM client for WiMAX devices
  • Supports common OS, easily ported to new chipsets, includes advanced diagnostics
  • Implements broad range of DM functions

MobileIronMobileIron is yet another MDM platform which offers solution by combining data-driven smartphone management along with real-time wireless cost control. It provides visibility in real-time about the smartphone and its usage, helping both IT users and users a better secure data and control without compromising on the privacy. It has an easy-to-install appliance that can be used in a corporate network and start working in less than an hour’s time. According to its manufacturers it cuts the wireless bills to the tune of 20% with Mobile Activity Intelligence.

Multi-OS asset management

  • Dashboard-driven web interface
  • Cross-platform inventory across BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian, WebOS, and Android (coming soon)
  • Operational status for each phone
  • Systems details for each phone


  • Phone and full SD card encryption
  • Password enforcement
  • Virus scanning
  • SD card usage monitor
  • Cert distribution
  • Lockdown (camera, SD card, Bluetooth audio/data, WiFi)

ActiveSync Sentry

  • Across ActiveSync-enabled phones, including iPhone
  • Monitor phones attempting to connect to enterprise email
  • Block unauthorized phones

Lost phone

  • Locate
  • Lock / wipe
  • Backup / restore / migrate

Remote control

  • Real-time
  • Permission-based

Enterprise data boundary

  • Selective wipe
  • Privacy policy (activity, content, location)

Application and content management

  • Software and file inventory
  • App catalog
  • App distribution / blacklist
  • App configuration
  • Content distribution

SMS archiving

  • SMS message history

Easy administration

  • Over-the-air provisioning
  • Role-based access
  • Group-based policy and operations
  • Broadcast SMS
  • Persistent logs and audit trails

BoxTone Essentials -- part of the BoxTone Mobile Service Management suite of plug and play software modules -- automates core monitoring and management activities, proactively alerting you to mobile service issues then helping you to find, fix and validate them in less than 3 minutes

  • End-to-End Visibility - via a Dashboard that displays in real time the health of individual and groups of mobile users, BlackBerry Enterprise Servers (BES), Exchange and Domino mail servers and wireless carriers; and, when needed, a drill-down for more detail and to take action
  • Proactive Alerts - via SmartAlerting that warns you of pending issues and risks – such as high rescan rates, hung threads, carrier outages, SRP outages or VIP low memory -- so you can fix them before users call
  • The Right Answer - via a User Console that in plain language enables you to pinpoint and resolve an issue immediately with simple instructions (no hunting through logs or searching online forums)
  • Click to Fix - via 1-Click Fix-It for the most common service issues – such as reset password, send service books, wipe device -- right from the User Console without the need to jump to other tools
  • Technology via the BoxTone Core - a scalable, secure systems management platform built from the ground-up with patented SmartMP™ technology to monitor, analyze and control all aspects of your diverse mobile environment

Zenprise Device Manager, an enterprise class mobile device management solution, allows help desk representatives to remotely support smartphones used by a company’s mobile workforce. IT departments can ensure that users have consistent, reliable, and secure access to enterprise data and applications. End-user related smartphone problems can often cause costly delays, downtime and expensive security and compliance violations. Device Manager’s Remote Control capability helps IT professionals solve a user’s smartphone problem from anywhere in the world, all without ever having to physically touch the device.

Remotely Control Devices

  • Remotely connect and control smarpthones
  • Navigate a device’s user interface securely (AES encryption) using its 3G, Wi-Fi or MDS connection
  • Simultaneously control a smartphone and talk to its owner over its phone feature
  • Application software seamlessly deployed and updated using BlackBerry Enterprise Server infrastructure
  • End-users can accept, reject or set a time-out for remote control session

View Real-Time Statistics

  • View smartphone type, operating system, applications, and carrier information
  • Identify current service book configurations
  • Filter smartphones based on roaming or unauthorized networks
  • Watch real-time changes to network strength, current radio band usage, memory and CPU usage, and IP packet delivery

Troubleshoot and Resolve Smartphone Problems

  • Perform over 120 advanced diagnostics device-level tests
  • Pinpoint installed application problems by examining smartphones’ version history, memory footprint, status, install date, and configuration
  • Resolve smartphone application and performance problems by remotely changing configuration settings and removing or redeploying applications

Track and Configure Devices

  • Identify installed applications and firmware versions on a device
  • Remotely update smartphone VPN, Mail, Calendar and custom application configurations
  • Track and register unauthorized smartphones
  • Create mobile application white- and black-lists

Apart from the above list there are number of software solutions available, which could cater to the needs of organizations looking for boosting the MDM at their premises. Every organization’s goal is providing mobile security which, of course, could not be achieved without the help of robust security tools and their capabilities. Thus, it is imperative on the part of organizations to implement the security of mobile devices by adopting MDM solutions with urgency. Lest the tech savvy organizations fall flat in the absence of good products and services for their mobility.


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