Your company needs to implement an EMM (Enterprise Mobililty Management) solution, and you’re still hesitating between a complete device management solution (MDM – Mobile Device Management) and application-centric management? In this article, we will explain you how the MAM (Mobile Application Management) solution is the ideal solution for many needs, and why it offers many advantages over the often very restrictive MDM model.

A little history….

Not even ten years ago, MDM solutions dominated Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). At the time, the market leader was Blackberry (RIM – 43% of the US market in 2010), and the majority of smartphones were professional devices made available to employees by companies of all sizes and sectors. However, MDM has gradually lost market share in the benefit of solutions that are easier to implement and less constraining for the user.

The BYOD era

While the first iPhone was launched in 2007, it was only in 2011-2012 that Apple’s smartphone began to gain ground in usage (nearly 25% of the world market share at the end of 2011 and early 2012). And as Blackberry loses speed, Apple’s devices gain in performance and ease of use: we have gradually entered the era of BYOD “Bring Your Own Device” (see the chart below, from a 2016 study about how American companies react to BYOD).

Basically: rather than having a mobile device lent to them by their company, employees started bringing their own mobile phones to their workplace. Over time, the smartphone has become one of the essential tools in our personal and professional lives.

And because the simultaneous use of two devices has always been complicated and constraining (we have to be honest – it doesn’t make sense), the personal device has gradually taken over the pro device, simply replacing it in many cases.

MAM: a perfect solution for personal devices?

At that time, companies had to adapt their device management solutions. Taking control of an employee’s entire device is rarely recommended: no employee on the world would want the company that employs him to access all the content of his own device, and that is quite normal!

On the other hand, proposing to control a limited part of his device, defining the contours of a “business” part, without any intrusion into the rest of his data, and therefore into his private life, was perceived as an acceptable alternative for the vast majority of employees. It is therefore partly thanks to BYOD that MAM solutions have established themselves in a majority of companies.

Will MAM solutions replace MDM solutions?

Although, it would be simplistic to say that MDM solutions are a thing of the past, and that MAM solutions alone represent the future of Entreprise Mobility Management.

Because there are still cases where MAM solutions are not suitable: those where it is imperative that the entire device is managed by the company. These scenarios still exist: for example when the devices are used by different persons within a few days, or in high-risk situations, when the devices have to meet very specific technical settings.

It is therefore obvious that in many situations MDM solutions will remain essential. In any case, it isn’t uncommon to see some companies, which manage more or less huge mobile fleets, to implement several solutions for several types of usage.

MAM & MDM: a synthesis is possible

You could also think that MDM solutions are more adapted to professional devices, and MAM solutions for personal devices. This is not the case: companies with several hundred (or even thousands) of employees generally have to implement several types of solutions, for several types of devices (pro and personal), depending on the specific uses.

And if we can easily think that MDM solutions are the only ones that fully ensure the security of professional content, this is a mistake: existing MAM solutions offer applications that each have their own security.

Of course, securing the sensitive data of a “BYOD” device is a real headache. However, the option of securing the entire device is not recommended for the reasons mentioned above. Moreover, due to the embedded security of the applications installed by the company, this point will not be a valid argument in the case of a choice to be made between the two types of solutions.

On the other hand, it should be pointed out that in some aspects, MDM remains essential, particularly for VPNs and access to WiFi and/or 3G/4G networks.

Appaloosa’s advice:

Installing EMM solutions within companies requires clarity with the concerned employees. One of the essential points to successfully deploy a management solution fleet will be communication with teams.

In the case of a MAM solution: it will be important to explain to employees that managing several applications on their device is in no way an intrusion into their content and personal data.

At a time of mistrust towards some technology companies due to lack of transparency, it will be essential to be more vigilant about the confidentiality of privacy, inherent in MAM solutions.

Julien Ott
July 4, 2019

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