Today’s organizations face multiple challenges as a result of technology, and security is top among them. While some organizations look to mobile device management (MDM) solutions to address security concerns, others chose to apply security at the application level. Still other organizations choose to deploy both a device and mobile application management (MAM) solution.

The evolution of device security

Often MDM is considered the ground level, or the basics, of security. It allows organizations to secure the device and enforce policies to protect the corporate network. MDM was birthed from the migration of organizations away from Blackberry devices to other devices for work. Other devices often were missing the security tools that are found in a BlackBerry server.

As organizations begin to consider how to leverage the use of those devices to extend their reach to customers, or to improve collaboration or employee access to information, application management becomes a consideration. Organizations can deliver content securely to their employees or end users — and manage who accesses data and how that data is accessed.

3 scenarios to help you choose

So when is MDM or MAM, or both, best for an organization? Reading a Mobile Enterprise article, I came across a few scenarios that describe how the two solutions can be used individually or in conjunction. Think about your organization as you consider the following scenarios referenced in the article:

  1. An airline wants to build an app to allow its cabin crew to select their routes for the next month. The company is not interested in managing the devices for all employees, but wants to provide a level of convenience similar to a PC on their mobile device. MAM on its own may be the best fit in this situation to help make the life of employees easier by providing access to the scheduling system on their mobile device.
  2. A retail point of sale device tracks inventory and collects credit card information at all store locations. In this situation, the retailer has developed an application to track inventory and application management allows IT to push updates to all devices but MDM is also ideal to protect sensitive personal  data entered and transmitted on that device.
  3. A manufacturing company has corporate liable devices that it wants to be able to remote lock and wipe when an employee leaves. In this situation, MDM may be the best solution. MAM would be better positioned in a situation where the device is employee-owned because the application can be wiped without wiping the personal content on the device. However, if both employee and corporate-owned devices are used within this organization, MAM and MDM could be used to address the different employee needs.

In the end, it’s important to remember that organizations should consider layered solutions because security is not a “one size fits all” need, at least not in the long term.  MDM and MAM provide complimentary benefits, and depending on varying business unit needs, may be used within the same organization. As organizations change and grow, so should the technology that is being leveraged. The net benefit to customers and the organization could make it worth the investment.