Mobile Security: Is MDM really working?

Mobile Security: Is MDM really working?

I hate clothes hangers. They always seem to get tangled up in my closet. I know we need something for hanging clothes, but I often wonder if there isn’t a better option. I’m willing to bet a lot of people think about Mobile Device Management (MDM) the same way. It solves a necessary problem, but is it really the best approach?

Everyone knows the problem a clothes hanger is supposed to solve, but what are we really talking about with MDM? Basically, the problem is making sure your phone doesn’t cause any security issues for your business. If you break the problem down a little more, usually there are three main parts:

  1. If your phone gets lost or stolen, there’s no harm to your company.
  2. If you have business information on your phone, it gets properly protected. 
  3. And any time your phone talks to your business systems (e.g., email, SharePoint, etc), it always uses a secure connection. 
Tangled hangers are inconvenient

Those all sound like pretty important things, so why question MDM? There are three things that I see about MDM that remind me of my tangled hangers. 

  1. First, it’s often inconvenient for users. I know - security and convenience hardly ever go together. But it can be real tricky for users to go through some of the processes involved with getting their phone correctly registered and configured and getting the correct apps on it. 
  2. Second, it’s a challenge for app vendors. Most of the time, working with an MDM means each app needs special code integrated and this needs to be updated often, at least once per year.
  3. Third, these solutions can be expensive. Many MDM solutions cost more than $50 per user per year. This can cause companies to choose to only give some users MDM (or “BYOD” - Bring Your Own Device) access.
Does MDM ‘suit’ your needs?

Just like clothes hangers, there’s not necessarily an easy alternative here. In some cases, mobile apps or mobile app platforms may meet the requirements. Sitrion ONE handles all of the things that an MDM does as part of its native capabilities. So you don’t really need MDM for the use cases you cover with Sitrion ONE. But companies may still need something like an MDM platform to protect email or other apps outside of Sitrion ONE. In some cases, we haven’t gotten rid of all the hangers, but maybe we’ve made it a little less work to keep them organized.

Upcoming webinar: A smooth security journey

We’ll chat about this, along with other enterprise mobile security topics, during our upcoming webinar on July 27th at 11:30am ET. In the meantime, I’m going to see if I can’t come up with a better solution for my closet.

Webinar: A Smooth Security Journey for Mobile
Wed, July 27 – 11:30am ET
Register now

Brian Kellner, Chief Technology Officer

Brian Kellner is responsible for Sitrion's product strategy and development. Brian has held product or development management positions for over a dozen years. Most recently he was Vice President of Enterprise Products for Webroot Software. Brian holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Management from Colorado Tech.


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