A Small Business Guide to Mobile Device Management - Page 2

By Pam Baker
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Small Business Product Guide to MDM and MAM

There are lots of MDM and MAM products from which to choose, and selecting the right tool depends entirely on your specific needs. The list below is not even close to comprehensive; it's a sampling of what's available—and a good starting point.

As you research your options, be sure to consider more than just cost. A free product may be ideal for you now, but it may not scale as your business grows and you add more employees and thus more mobile devices. A paid product may require more IT resources than you have available, and it may actually be easier to use than a free product. Weigh each product carefully, and then decide which one best fits your company.

1. AirWatch

According to the company, its most popular package for small businesses is the AirWatch Green Bundle. It includes MDM, a container for BYOD scenarios, and an App Catalog so that  IT can give employees access to the public and internal apps they need to do business.

"The AirWatch Green Bundle costs $51 per device per year, so a little more than $4 a month," said a company spokesperson. "We also have AirWatch Professional (think "AirWatch Lite"), the most cost-effective version ($1/device/month) for companies with fewer than 50 devices."

2. Bushel

This is a cloud-based MDM tool for Apple devices. "With Bushel, complex tasks including Apple device setup, security and management, are simple and quick. Employees can focus on their business, rather than get caught up with managing technology," said Charles Edge, product manager at JAMF Software.

Bushel mobile device management

Figure 1: Bushel mobile device management for iPads and iPhones.

Bushel is free to use for up to three devices, forever. Paid accounts begin at $2 a month for four devices, and $2 per device per month for each additional device. Bushel features a pay-as-you-go pricing model, with no long-term contracts.

3. Desktop Central

This is an integrated desktop and mobile device management tool. The Free Edition covers 25 computers and five mobile devices, but it does not include the detailed reporting on Active Directory. If you need to manage more than five mobile devices, you'll need to contact the company for a quote as the description and pricing for other editions on the company website do not specify the number of mobile devices covered.

4. SimplySecure

A cloud-based MDM tool, SimplySecure is designed for iPhone and iPads, Android phones and tablets, Windows and Mac PCs, and USB storage devices. PCs and Macs cost $99 per year per device; phones and tablets cost $36 per year per device (first 10 are free); and USB devices cost $28 per year per host PC.

5. Android Device Manager

Google offers this free device management tool. But it's pretty much limited to the Android devices you own. Still, if you're concerned about protecting your data on your own devices in case they are lost or stolen, this option may be all you need.

6. Apperian Mobile Application Management

This MAM tool helps you manage, secure and distribute mobile apps on devices, but it also helps you with apps that you built—in terms of distributing it to employee devices. Pricing is $4 per person per month, with unlimited hosted apps and an unlimited number of devices. Some advanced options have an additional fee.

Apperian mobile application management

Figure 2: Apperian mobile application management tool.

7. Lookout

This product blends anti-virus/malware protection, MDM, and MAM in one tool. Available in both a free personal option and a paid version with extra features that costs $3 a month. If you're trying to handle only a few devices, choosing the premium version may be a suitable option. Lookout does not have a true small business version, although it does offer an enterprise version for large companies.

8. Symantec Mobility Suite

This suite of tools contains MDM, MAM, mobile content management, and anti-virus/malware security. If you use Norton Anti-Virus already, check your license agreement to see if you have free access to mobile management as well. In any case, you can try the mobility suite for a free trial period before you decide to buy any version or combination of Symantec products. Price varies depending on which products you already own or want to bundle, as well as how many devices you plan to manage.

Pam Baker has written for numerous leading publications including, Institutional Investor magazine, CIO.com, NetworkWorld, ComputerWorld, IT World, Linux World, Internet News, E-Commerce Times, LinuxInsider, CIO Today Magazine, NPTech News (nonprofits), MedTech Journal, I Six Sigma magazine, Computer Sweden, the NY Times, and Knight-Ridder/McClatchy newspapers.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on February 23, 2015
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