BYOD Smackdown 2012: MaaS360 checks all the boxes (MDM, MIM, and MAM) from the cloud

This week's vendor is another one with MDM at the core of its offering, MaaS360.

This week’s vendor is another one with MDM at the core of its offering, MaaS360. Aside from MDM, MaaS360 also includes mobile information management and mobile application management tools.

MaaS360 is the most recent offering from Fiberlink, which has been offering various IP networking and mobility-related solutions for 20 years. In addition to mobile devices, MaaS360 also manages remote Windows and Mac laptops. Currently they note 1 million PCs under management, with 200,000 mobile devices added in the last 18 months. They also point out thatMaaS360 is certified by the General Services Administration and compliant with FISMA—there are many other elements that need to be in place for a secure mobile deployment, but this means that typical government agencies can go out and buy MaaS360 if they want to.

Product features

MaaS360 is only offered only as SaaS, hosted in their own data center (hence their name—it’s mobility-as-a-service.) All the management can take place in web consoles or through Active Directory.

The MDM functionality is all the usual that one would expect, except for the wide range of platforms, which include iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Phone, and webOS. An agent is installed on the mobile device, giving better visibility than is available simply through managing profiles.

The mobile application management portion allows organizations to create custom-branded app stores and distribute internal apps by uploading package files. It can also manage Apple Volume Purchase Program codes. Security for 3rd party apps is enforced by controlling access in the app store. (This would be in addition to the whitelisting/blacklisting capabilities of any MDM solution.) As well, MasS360 offers an SDK for creating apps with built-in security and intelligence features that can plug directly into their management. The SDK and app store are only available for Android and iOS.

MaaS360 incorporates a secure document sharing application, that stores data either in their data center or yours. The features are mostly around distributing organization-created data, so it won’t really replace a personal data solution. It does allow documents to be remote-wiped, protected, and updated, so it’s good for distributing sensitive financial documents or keeping sales collateral up to date.

MaaS360 for BYOD

As with all the pure MDM vendors I’ve profiled, MaaS360’s usefulness depends on how it’s implemented. If various permissions are set up and ready to go when a user self-enrolls, then that will create a better environment for BYOD. The selective wiping feature always contributes to BYOD-friendliness (but I’m sure that once one employee in a department loses their phone at a bar and has IT wipe everything, then everyone will be glad IT has that capability, instead of fearing it).

Since MaaS360 also plugs into Exchange, devices that attempt to sync to EAS can be quarantined until they come under management. So even though syncing email won’t quite be the free-for-all it is in some organizations, the self-service portal still makes spur-of-the-moment BYOD possible (as long as the users are okay with the management).

The various components can be mixed and matched to some degree, but the MDM component has to be in place on the device for the application or information management portions to be deployed. So BYOD with MaaS360 means that the devices will be managed, but the right incentives, self-service capabilities, and careful implementation can make it attractive for all parties.

Feature Overview:

This feature overview will be updated from time to time. If you notice any inaccuracies, please comment or email me at jmadden@techtarget.com. There are a lot of vendors and features to keep track of, and I want to be sure and keep everything straight.

  • Platforms iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Symbian, webOS
  • Architecture cloud-based MDM
  • Security device level
  • App stores yes
  • Split plans/phone numbers no, but can track usage
  • Management interface AD or web
  • On-site requirements AD, if desired
  • Provisioning self provisioning OTA
  • MDM capabilities yes
  • AD integration yes

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