Mobile Device Management (MDM)

MDM is another significant, growing area of the enterprise market that grows directly out of the phenomenon of proliferation of mobile devices. There are a slew of providers seeking to help enterprises with software for managing, tracking, designing and enforcing usage policies and other aspects of controlling this device growth. These solutions become heavily involved with issues of security. Based on our interviews and other research, we discuss MobileIron, Good Technology, RES Software and some of the other developments, including Zenprise, AirWatch and Fiberlink in the following sections.


MobileIron has been one of the early entrants into the mobile device management (MDM) field. The company offers several deployment methods for its service: an on-premise version; a private cloud; or a shared or public cloud, the MobileIron Connected Cloud.

The company describes the Connected Cloud as the first MDM cloud service “to integrate with existing enterprise security infrastructure.” MobileIron charges $4 per month per connected device for the service. It also maintains an Enterprise App Storefront from which clients can download apps.

The company believes that the issue of security is the most sensitive issue for the adoption of cloud services by enterprises. It believes that the likely pattern is that mid-market companies – 500-5,000 employees – will be somewhat faster adopters, with larger enterprises somewhat behind in adoption, largely because of the security concerns. MobileIron does not generally aim for smaller businesses. Among larger companies, MobileIron believes the most likely evolution is that they will adopt mobile apps first and then later adopt mobile cloud solutions that are tied into their security infrastructure.

The company sees at least two compelling drivers for enterprise adoption of mobile cloud capabilities. One is the likelihood of cost savings in infrastructure, through using shared infrastructure. The other derives from the fact that mobile technology changes so rapidly that it is difficult for companies to keep up on their own.

In addition to managing usage and user priorities on mobile devices, the company also offers expense management and other features.   

MobileIron is unusual in that its distribution is virtually entirely through third party distribution partners. These include carriers, such as AT&T, Vodafone and Singtel, as well as VARs, MSPs (managed services providers) and other agents.

MobileIron views the mobile IT-related cloud as a hybrid cloud situation. There must be a close tie to the corporate directory function (authentication), security, email and other key functions. It contrasts this with a successful SaaS cloud such as, which does not necessarily require that level of integration and can be a standalone cloud service. It calls its service Connected Cloud because it is tied to an inhouse backend infrastructure of controls.

The company has been filing patents on numerous developments that it has pioneered in the last few years.

MobileIron does not believe that the mobile cloud area will become standardized quickly, in part because device makers are so competitive and do not have incentives to standardize, since they will use cloud functionality as one attribute to differentiate their products. The company does put a lot of emphasis on offering education in best practices to its clients.

Good Technology

Good, which claims 4,000 enterprise accounts, provides a range of mobile oriented products and solutions. Its Good For Enterprise offers MDM features, which Good states provide “the strictest level of government compliance, mobile security, and remote device management.” Basically MDM is a feature of the broader Good For Enterprise suite. (The company also offers Good For Government and Good For OEMs/Carriers suites as well.)

Good had for many years been noted as what we referred to as a “RIM-alike,” one of a number of companies that set out to capture part of the enterprise market for mobile email in competition with Blackberry. It also was a mobile apps provider.

Its MDM is offered in conjunction with its messaging platform, rather than as a standalone MDM capability (as offered, for example, by MobileIron.)

RES Software

RES Software offers products and solutions to enterprise IT departments to facilitate the management of devices, mobile and fixed. In the area of the mobile cloud and mobile device management, the company in 2012 announced HyperDrive a product it describes as a “follow me data” solution for IT departments.

The HyperDrive was developed based largely on software from its partner, Nomadesk, a Belgium-based provider of cloud storage, file sharing and synchronization software. RES developed an end-to-end solution incorporating the Nomadesk capabilities. RES describes its concept as providing enterprise IT managers the ability to deal with the mounting influx of BYOD mobile sets. It sees IT departments as its consumers and seeks to help them set up what it describes as an “enterprise IT store.”

The store includes the following features:

  1. A personalized menu for each individual user
  2. Ability to work with the delivery infrastructure and devices of each user
  3. Ability to enforce the policies and practices of the enterprise
  4. Requirement for approvals
  5. 80% of services to be delivered automatically based on user context.

The basic idea is that the individual user’s data is available to them wherever they are and whatever device they are using. HyperDrive offers syncing, access, security and sharing of data. It supports iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices and will work offline with tablets. The company sees the HyperDrive as a step towards a cloud service and says that it could develop into a private cloud. The company believes that public and private clouds are here to stay but is less certain about the future of personal clouds (in part because personal clouds are challenged by consumers’ attraction to app stores).


There are a large number of entrants in the MDM field, including both large and small companies. One example is Zenprise. The company puts a heavy emphasis on its security claims, stating: “We secure your mobile enterprise end-to-end: at the device, application, network, and data.” It also offers a 100% cloud uptime SLA. The company is heavily focused on what it calls “data leak prevention,” i.e., sensitive corporate data being dispersed among uncontrolled mobile devices. It offers secure content container on each mobile device; encryption of confidential data, e.g., employee records, when stored as well as when transmitted; and strong emphasis on content usage policy setting by the enterprise. Zenprise was selected in May 2012 by Sprint to provide MDM capability for the Sprint Professional Mobility Services offering.

(The Sprint offering includes services from third party verndors – Zenprise and AirWatch in the MDM category. It also includes what Sprint labels its Mobility Management capability, which includes services from three wireless consulting and services companies: Bluefish Wireless, Manage Mobility and Vision Wireless.)


AirWatch has been a rapidly growing MDM provider and reported adding over 1,000 MDM customers during 2011. Its installations include managing systems with up to 50,000 devices. AirWatch emphasizes mobile security, stating that it provides “end-to-end security that extends to the user, device, application, content, data and network levels.” As part of its mobile content management it offers a Secure Content Locker to enable mobile access from iOS devices and Android tablets. It also offers its Enterprise App Catalog which allows companies to “distribute, track, update, and secure enterprise applications” across a variety of leading mobile devices.


Fiberlink is a company that began in 1991 and has become a significant player in the MDM area in recent years. It offers MaaS360, which it calls a “comprehensive solution for enterprise device management, supporting a full array of device types and permitting management of the “mobile device lifecycle “from enrollment through security, monitoring, application management and support.” It states that MaaS360 (MaaS stands for Mobility as a Service) integrates with “Microsoft Exchange/ActiveSync, Lotus Traveler, Gmail, Active Directory and any required certificate authorities.”

Fiberlink also offers mobile app, document and expense management from its platform. In May 2012 Fiberlink announced an integrated solution that includes MaaS360 and NAC (network access control) technology from ForeScout Technologies, Inc. (NAC technology is designed to improve security by being able to examine user devices logging into a network, authenticate them, detect spyware and intrusion software, limit the devices’ access as appropriate and perform other related functions.)