Over the last six months we’ve become acquainted with many different types of mobility management vendors, and today we continue with MobileIron. The MobileIron solution has mobile device management at its core, and is extended with some mobile app management and data loss prevention features.
The MDM part
MobileIron MDM has all the features you would expect from any top-level MDM provider. There are cloud-based or on-premise options, it plugs into Active Directory for identity based controls, and there’s an app store for distributing corporate or commercial apps. MobileIron makes use of an on-device agent app, which means that management can be location-aware (so you can find lost devices on a map), and the app also functions as the client for the DLP features.
MobileIron itself was created in 2007, and has been shipping products since 2009. They’re right here in the Bay area, and have a customer base of around 2500 companies. Supported platforms include not just the expected Android and iOS, but also Blackberry, Windows Phone, and even Symbian and webOS devices. MobileIron also includes telecom expense management features, an end user self service portal, and an iPad app for administrators.
The MAM and MAM parts
The mobile information management component, Docs@Work, handles email attachments from Exchange environments and documents from SharePoint. Documents from each of these sources are encrypted, allowing only the MobileIron agent app to open them.
When it comes to managing iOS apps, MobileIron has an SDK for incorporating authentication into corporate apps. For Android, the AppConnect component does app-wrapping, giving companies the ability to create an ecosystem of apps on a device that is accessible with single sign-on, can communicate internally, and that keeps personal apps from interacting with work apps. MobileIron partners with Nitrodesk to deliver Touchdown—an Exchange ActiveSync client—as a sandboxed email and contacts app, but only for Android devices.
Will iOS users feel left out?
Since the app-wrapping features and TouchDown are only available for Android, MobileIron’s offerings could be a bit lopsided for companies that want to treat iOS and Android the same way. Then again, it can be argued that Android apps need extra attention, since it’s easier for them to communicate with each other.