MAM tool options abound for developers

Software testing expert Amy Reichert walks through the importance of MAM tools and options for developers looking for one.

Mobile application management is a critical component of controlling corporate applications and data in today's mobile enterprise. The mobile devices corporate employees use to access corporate applications and data can be tools for huge increases in productivity. They can also be sources of process disruption or security breaches if not properly managed.

A mobile application management (MAM) tool includes mobile application security, automatic software updates on the mobile device, mobile user tracking and mobile VPN for corporate users. MAM tools should provide features such as remote management, network and usage tracking, and support for software push updates. The tools introduced below are by no means the only tools available, but they provide a solid base from which to begin researching a MAM tool purchase.

The most valuable criteria for choosing between MAM tools depend on what mobile device management (MDM) procedures a business has, how the individual business is managed and what policies and procedures already exist. Investing in a solid MAM tool is critical for any corporation with data it needs to keep secure, especially when dealing with mobile devices that contain both corporate and personal data and applications.

When selecting the right MAM tool, ensure it can provide the ability to remotely control access to the applications on a device by allowing remote wiping, remote access removal, usage tracking and management of updates and maintenance. Take the time to verify that the tool provides enough layered security to truly protect against data loss. Tools must be highly configurable as well. Take advantage of the test period to ensure the final selection is usable for the size and needs of your business.

The investment in a MAM tool is critical for any corporation with data it needs to keep secure.

IBM

Apperian and FiberLink are combined under the IBM umbrella of enterprise services and currently named IBM MobileFirst Platform and Analytics. Essentially, IBM's Worklight becomes the development workspace and Apperian fills in to manage and distribute applications. The FiberLink MaaS360 product has an MDM system that offers applications, expenses and other content management features including enterprise application containerization, BYOD support, data tracking, application catalog and application lifecycle management. Lifecycle management includes compliance, security and report functions.

VMware's AirWatch

AirWatch provides a rule- and group-based application distribution system that allows whitelists, blacklists, version control, monitoring and tracking. It supports specific manufacturers' devices using API integration and includes an app store. AirWatch collaborates well and provides APIs for other organizations to build upon in order to connect to their system. Additionally, AirWatch provides several dashboards for administrators and managers covering assets, device compliance and other configurable options. Administrators use a self-service portal to monitor and manage accounts. AirWatch's security covers all the standard bases and includes a jailbroken status that when triggered automatically protects corporate data. They include numerous tools that allow users to manage Web security policies and wipe data remotely. A scanner is included in the feature set that assesses risks with application configuration settings. The scanner can be set to immediately take action and correct issues.

Citrix XenMobile

XenMobile is one of the original players in the MAM tool space. With it Citrix offers customers a wealth of tools including MDM features, desktop virtualization, email, a Web browser, an enterprise app store and file sharing. XenMobile includes an internal tool called Worx App SDK to provide app wrapping and data containerization functionality. For large systems, Citrix offers a comprehensive and configurable product line including two complimentary tools to cover both MDM and MAM.

F5

F5's MAM tool offering features mobile information, license, security and application management. Its tools include a method of data separation for users with both work and personal data. It also integrates with Microsoft Exchange and includes a browser and enterprise app store.

Microsoft

Microsoft's solution is a combination of tools that provide management of device systems. Support for Windows 8.1, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 includes native management APIs based on the Open Mobile Alliance Device Management standard and is built into each operating system. Additionally, the integration between Windows Server Active Directory and the cloud-based Windows Azure Active Directory provides the convenience of a single identity. Microsoft's system also allows the ability to manage all devices from a single environment so desktops, laptops and any mobile devices are managed together.

Knappsack (powered by SPARC)

Knappsack is an open source option with flexible and generally low-cost options for support. According to their website, Knappsack provides tools to manage, secure and deploy applications to select groups either internally or with clients. Knappsack can be a solid option for managing mobile applications that are not yet ready for prime time. The project's focus on delivering applications to select groups without going through a traditional app store may make it ideal for prototyping or beta testing enterprise mobile applications.

MobileIron

MobileIron is also an original vendor and one of the first to develop a suite of MAM tools. Its AppConnect and AppTunnel products allow policy-based management of enterprise apps without having an effect on personal apps on a device. MobileIron MAM tools feature a containerization framework that aims to prevent data loss using VPNs and tunnels. Another advantage of MobileIron tools is their consistency across functions like email, applications, documents and Web. Each app becomes a secure container allowing encrypted data and policy sharing. Tools can track usage based on the device and policy, potentially saving money on costs like international roaming.

Next Steps

What is a mobile application manager?

Learn about enterprise mobility management

Read more about EMM

Read more about FiberLink

Read more about Microsoft EMM

Read more about AirWatch

This was first published in July 2014

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