The best mobile device management solutions

Mobile phone clipart

PC Magazine’s Paul Ferrill reviewed the best mobile device management (MDM) solutions for 2019. Here is a summary of Ferrill’s findings. PCMag lists eight MDM solutions to consider and compares them. Without supporting all major mobile platforms, an MDM solution may fall short. Let’s look at the ones that support the Windows Phone, Android, iOS and BlackBerry.

  • SOTI MobiControl
  • Citrix XenMobile
  • IBM MaasS360
  • AppTec360 Enterprise Mobility Management

If BlackBerry is not a consideration for your organization, you can also look at AirWatch. While Microsoft Intune and Baramundi Management Suite match up to AirWatch here, Intune doesn’t offer phone locator service for anything but iOS, and Baramundi doesn’t offer it at all. Of the features reviewed, only one feature differentiates the four products mentioned above: mobile expense management. Only the IBM offering Maas360 includes that. The expense management feature helps by establishing expense policies, then monitoring and tracking usage.

So, if these services are more or less comparable in features, what about price? These products are priced by device and range from $1.12 to $4. The price differential isn’t discernible in the features offered, but the nuances of actually using the products. Here’s a recap of the cons from the “pros and cons” list in the review.

  • SOTI MobiControl: Profile configuration uses old interfaces.
  • Citrix XenMobile: Doesn’t play well with Office 365 apps unless you spend more on a connector feature.
  • IBM MaasS360: Requires manual registration of Windows mobile devices.
  • AppTec360 Enterprise Mobility Management: Geofencing, which creates a geographic boundary in which the device may operate, only works on Android devices.

So what was PCMag’s pick for the best of the best? Not any of these! Keeping in mind that the VMware AirWatch offering doesn’t cover BlackBerry de­­vices and only offers limited support for Windows phones, its only other con was that the registration process was a bit squirrelly. At $4.33 per device, it’s comparable to the others mentioned here. This is the second year that AirWatch has occupied the top spot for MDM.

With any attempt to control mobile devices, compliance and awareness are issues. Most users feel that their devices, whether they own them or they have been issued by the company, are their own domain. The truth is that these mobile, losable, vulnerable little computing and data storage devices are a huge vulnerability for most organizations. A solid security awareness program coupled with a solution that is trouble-free (if not for IT, for the end-user) will go a long way to protecting company data and processes, while also allowing mobile devices to be a part of the technology ecosystem.

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