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MAM or MDM: How to consider our security options

A recent article from Gartner showed that the growing need to manage applications on unmanaged devices owned by employees or contractors is driving adoption of standalone mobile app management (MAM) software and services. Meanwhile, the mobile device management (MDM) market is expected to grow from $1.69 billion last year to $5.32 billion by 2021, according to ResearchandMarkets.

While the difference between mobile management policies and technologies may come down to degrees of control, deploying the wrong strategy can cost companies money and damage employee morale. When BYOD strategies first emerged, many corporations made device wiping a key goal. As employees began demanding mobile devices for business use, IT often turned to either company-owned hardware or MDM software. Today, most companies have some form of MDM in place, allowing IT departments to remotely track, lock, encrypt, and wipe devices. MAM, on the other hand, locks down enterprise applications and the data associated with them – not the actual devices themselves. Instead, IT departments can remotely control, encrypt, and wipe just the corporate apps and data on an employee’s smartphone or tablet.

When deciding between the two, enterprises should consider factors including cost, number of in-house employees, compliance requirements, and data security. Standalone MAM may cost less per user than MDM licensing, but there's more to it than that. For example, organisations which employ predominantly in-house workers may find MDM sufficient. But those which deal with outside contractors or other non-employed personnel may not have access to outsiders' devices. And denying those outside the organisation access to important mobile apps may create more problems than it solves. That's where it begins to make sense to manage software rather than hardware.

…or a dual-pronged approach
Of course, the two approaches can also co-exist. In healthcare organisations, for example, employee personal phones can be adopted under an MAM approach, whereas corporate devices used in clinical settings can be managed through an MDM policy. For businesses with specific needs, it may make more sense to employ one policy over another, but for most companies – and large enterprises in particular – a mixture of the two will provide a strong level of control, continuity and security.

Consider the fact that 2017 was a record year for data breaches and that previously, 2016 was the most data breach-prone year on record, with 1,093 data breaches. As hackers and phishers get increasingly more sophisticated, 2018 may yet surpass both. There is a tangible risk for companies which don’t get their mobile strategy right, and so it’s vital to employ the right blend of MDM and MAM in order to protect both business data and customers.

To find out more, download our whitepaper here: Solutions that secure a mobile workforce

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