Cortado announced today that Corporate Server 6 will include mobile device management capabilities. There are two possible reactions to this: “What, another MDM vendor?” and “Great, now we can get our complete mobility solution in one place!” We’ll look at the reasons for both of those possible reactions in a little bit, but first let’s look at the actual product.
About Cortado Corporate Server MDM
Cortado, formerly known as ThinPrint, has been doing driverless printing for traditional and virtual environments for over a decade. Their printing solutions evolved to include printing from mobile devices and then into a mobile information management (MIM) solution. The mobile client for Cortado Corporate server is called Workplace, and they describe it as a “cloud desktop,” which I think is brilliant. A few people might get confused because there’s no Windows desktop involved, but when it comes to the future desktop, as Tim Mangan says, it’s all about the data.
Cortado Corporate Server sits inside the firewall, extending file server access to the Workplace clients, all under control of administrators. Since Workplace has a document preview function, turning off the “open in” feature exists (and has existed in previous versions) to prevent data from escaping into unmanaged mobile applications. The other main point of Cortado has always been its printing capabilities. The mobile client has the ability to send documents as a fax, email, and to a printer.
With the 6.0 release, Cortado is now a full-fledged MDM product. Version 5.5 had the abilities to simply distribute iOS MDM configuration profiles, and other previos versions had some integration with various mail server platforms (Exchange, for example, and remember that you can some basic MDM funtions from ActiveSync), but now version 6.0 does full MDM for iOS and Android. Aside from MDM and the MIM that Cortado already had, there’s an app store, but it since there’s no app wrapping or SDK, it’s pretty basic.
Really, another MDM provider?
Yes. Why? There are two possible answers. First, Cortado said that their customers were asking for it. Cortado does have a white paper that points out that you can get most of the benefits of MDM from Exchange ActiveSync. (After all, it’s free, it’s already installed, and all you have to do is turn it on. What are you missing? The biggest is that you miss out on the ability to blacklist and whitelist applications. But we also know that blacklisting and whitelisting is difficult, and doesn’t always jive well in BYOD situations.) But if having MDM checks off the box for a few more customers, then why not?
And then that leads to the second possible reaction. I still think MIM products like a Cortado are a great way to get data on un-managed devices, but now existing Cortado customers don’t have to go somewhere else to get MDM. Remember all the MDM industry consolidation that everybody’s been predicting? Even though this wasn’t two companies merging and instead it’s a net increase of total MDM solutions available, it’s still consolidation because it brings MDM into the existing Cortado stack.