MDM vs. MAM

The bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon has changed how businesses interact with employees and, as a result, how companies work. As employees bring their personal devices to work—many of which are running various apps that were not developed by or approved by their employers—companies need to keep an eye on what’s happening with these devices and protect sensitive corporate data. 

Mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) strategies and tools both support administrative mobile management, but they also serve distinct purposes. Learn more about each mobile management approach and compare MDM vs MAM here.

What Is MDM Software?

Mobile device management software allows administrators to manage and secure all their organization’s mobile devices—laptops, smartphones, and tablets alike—in one convenient location. MDM also gives IT administrators the ability to enforce security settings and policies on corporate network-connected devices, as well as to review adherence to these usage requirements. All of these capabilities further support data security initiatives and requirements.

Key Features of MDM Software

OTA distribution

With over-the-air (OTA) distribution, employees receive new applications and operating systems wirelessly rather than by plugging their devices into a computer. This enables faster deployment times because there’s no need for IT personnel to install updates manually. 

Remote wiping

With remote wiping, IT departments can delete data from lost or stolen devices and prevent unauthorized users from accessing data remotely. This feature helps mitigate potential security breaches that could cost businesses thousands of dollars in fines and reputation damage if confidential information were leaked online. 

Device location tracking

Device tracking allows organizations to keep tabs on where mobile assets are at any given time. 

Mobile asset management and reports

Asset management gives IT teams visibility into what kinds of apps and operating systems are being used on corporate devices so they know how best to manage them. 

Role-based access control

The ability to assign different levels of permissions to different groups of people, such as executives and sales staff, makes role-based access control ideal for enterprise environments.

Intuitive dashboard

An intuitive dashboard makes it easy to see which devices are connected to the enterprise network and whether or not they have been modified since the last update. This kind of transparency keeps IT managers informed and in control. 

BYOD support

Many MDM solutions are designed to support BYOD policies, which means admin can use a single platform to manage both company-owned and employee-owned devices. 

Policy enforcement

Because MDM solutions are usually installed on a device’s operating system, they can enforce the organization’s policies even when a device isn’t connected to the company’s network. This provides additional protection against data theft and misuse. 

Why Does an Organization Need MDM Software?

MDM software allows an organization to manage, secure, and monitor mobile devices within its network. The software also features a dashboard where administrative personnel can view reports on device inventory, including information about where devices are located, who is using them, and how they’re being used.

It also offers security controls to comply with company policies and keep unauthorized users from accessing data stored on those devices. These tools can also help organizations meet regulatory compliance requirements that mandate certain levels of security, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

MDM software solutions may also be required to meet industry standards or adhere to other internal policies. For example, IT departments may want to ensure all corporate data is encrypted before leaving the premises so it isn’t vulnerable if lost or stolen. 

Additionally, some MDM solutions offer enterprise mobility management (EMM) capabilities, allowing companies to remotely wipe sensitive data from a device if it is lost or stolen. This feature helps protect sensitive information and reduces liability in case employees lose devices containing confidential customer records or trade secrets.

What Is MAM Software?

Mobile application management software is designed to help organizations control and manage their applications and application data. With MAM software, the IT department can control enterprise apps on employees’ devices while also managing data contained within those apps from one central location, which can be on-premises or in the cloud. This allows these managers to keep track of how employees are using company applications.

Key Features of MAM Software

Application performance monitoring (APM)

Application performance monitoring is a MAM feature that helps monitor how well an enterprise app runs on a device. If there is any change in its behavior, a report is sent to the admin immediately so they can take action.

App updates

Updates help improve applications with new features, bug fixes, and support for various operating systems. The IT department can push app updates and patches for enterprise app users to quickly access the latest features and functionality. 

App configuration

With a MAM solution, administrators can define rules around which versions of an app should be deployed to users based on different criteria like user groups and location. Also, if needed, admins can completely block specific versions of an app from being installed by end users

Crash log reporting

When an app crashes due to some error or unexpected termination, it reports back to the server and stores logs for future reference. Administrators can review crash logs anytime using a web console and troubleshoot problems quickly. 

User authorization and authentication

MAM software solutions provide a two-factor authentication (2FA) process and a one-time password (OTP) validation process, ensuring only authorized users have access to company data through mobile apps. 

Reporting and tracking

A MAM admin dashboard gives detailed information about which apps are being used by whom, when, and where all across the organization. This simplifies application management and planning for managers across an organization.

App security

MAM software creates strong encryption keys for every app and stores them on the server. These keys are used to encrypt and decrypt data on the device. 

App delivery

Deployment options on MAM tools allow for easy installation of apps across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc. 

Why Does an Organization Need MAM Software?

Organizations can use MAM software to deploy and manage their company’s mobile applications. MAM software provides a single location for the deployment and administration of apps. It also supports data monitoring for data like app usage and user behavior. The main reasons organizations need MAM software are to increase security, data integrity, and compliance with regulations. 

By using MAM software, companies have more control over their deployed applications, which helps them to prevent unauthorized access to business-critical information stored on employee smartphones and tablets.

MDM vs. MAM

The key difference between MDM and MAM is that MDM focuses on managing mobile devices, while MAM focuses on managing business applications for those devices. Read on for a more detailed list of differences and similarities:

Use cases

MDM and MAM overlap in that they’re both used to manage enterprise assets. MAM is used to manage corporate applications, while MDM is a set of tools and processes used to secure, configure, and maintain mobile devices used in a business setting. While MDM software helps organizations manage their mobile device fleets, MAM software focuses on managing all of an organization’s apps, including those installed on employee-owned devices. 

User authorization and authentication

Both MAM and MDM software platforms use access management, authentication, and authorization capabilities to control user access to information or applications. To achieve these functions, both types of tools offer various options, including username/password, 2FA, digital certificates, biometrics, single sign-on (SSO) with LDAP directories, and SAML support for SSO with web services.

MDM and MAM: Better Together

MDM and MAM solutions can certainly be used independently and offer many benefits to organizations. But when all devices and applications are appropriately registered in both MDM and MAM, IT and security professionals can manage a more holistic data security strategy while holding onto preferred BYOD policies.

Read next: TechnologyAdvice Buyer’s Guide to Mobile Device Management

Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi
Aminu Abdullahi is an award-winning public speaker and a passionate writer. He writes to edutain (Educate + Entertain) his reader about Business, Technology, Growth, and everything in between. He is the co-author of the e-book, The Ultimate Creativity Playbook. Aminu loves to inspire greatness in the people around him through his actions and inactions.

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