Customers have plenty of options for mobile device management vendors. We here at BrianMadden.com have covered many of the biggest over the years, and sometimes it’s worthwhile to look at some of the smaller vendors you hear customers talking about.
This time we’re discussing SimpleMDM, a small Apple MDM vendor that Jack previously tweeted about (he’s a fan of their blog articles) and has met some of their customers in the wild. I even did a free trial back when I started here to get a better idea of how MDM worked and get a hands-on look.
What is SimpleMDM?
I spoke with Taylor Boyko, founder and CEO of SimpleMDM, last week. Taylor founded the MDM vendor around 2011 in Portland (with Taylor the lone employee then), starting out as a free cloud-based service directed at the lower-end market. Taylor explained that it was a small test product to get a better idea of what small and medium-sized businesses were looking for (and every company should consider MDM).
SimpleMDM started out, and remains, an Apple MDM solution only. After catering to SMBs, they experienced growth in 2014 and enterprise organizations began to take notice and seek them out. After determining that SimpleMDM could handle scaling up to manage the thousands of devices enterprise orgs have, they began taking on larger customers.
The Apple MDM solution offers customers upfront and simple pricing per month ($3 per device/month, or $2.50 per device/month for annual plans), making it less difficult to scale up or down based upon a customer’s needs. SimpleMDM works with Apple DEP (or automated MDM enrollment), as well as Apple’s Volume Purchase Program and legacy Apple redemption codes.
What is SimpleMDM’s market strategy?
In an “industry of giants,” SimpleMDM aims to provide an easy-to-use Apple MDM solution that organizations of all sizes can pick up and implement. While they provide MDM for macOS and iOS, they don’t cater to Windows, Android, etc. Taylor said that perhaps far down the road SimpleMDM might consider expanding to include MDM solutions for other OSes, but that there’s currently nothing in the roadmap. He explained that they’d rather provide an excellent Apple MDM-only solution, than perhaps dilute their effectiveness by adding on other OSes. Since they only offer an MDM solution for Apple OSes, they worked to make sure their product functioned alongside other vendor software. The SimpleMDM platform itself has an API that customers can build against.
SimpleMDM’s goal is to provide the community with what they need from an Apple MDM solution. They don’t want to have features simply to check a box, but more what they themselves would want out of an MDM vendor: “If this was our deployment, how would we solve it?”
I asked how they handle BYOD use cases with customers and Taylor said that SimpleMDM aims to provide value and security, while not necessarily curbing user behavior on their personal devices. The device must be enrolled though; they don’t have any MAM support to protect company apps on a BYO device. It’s something they’d potentially consider in the future, but for the moment SimpleMDM plans to remain a native MDM vendor. Taylor noted that customers don’t come to them expecting a whole suite of solutions.
On that note, I found it interesting that enterprise customers were coming to them; Taylor said they didn’t have any sales people going out and knocking on enterprise doors—which to me shows that they clearly offer something bigger names may not, or may not do as well.
Thoughts on the MDM industry
Taylor sees the MDM industry as one that’s currently changing very rapidly and in flux, something that is being driven by Apple specifically, as they look to increase their security posture. He sees this as an opportunity for smaller, more singularly focused vendors like SimpleMDM to be attractive alternatives to larger MDM vendors.
Additionally, we at BrianMadden.com hear all the time that some customers find the bigger guys to have complicated licensing, costs, and consoles. Here is where smaller MDM vendors can offer their value, even if they don’t come with all the snazzy features enterprise-level vendors might.