7 mobile device management solutions you need to know

The following providers are working hard to keep data safe—and businesses happy

7 MDM solutions you should know

With an increasingly mobile workforce and more employees using their own devices for work-related tasks, enterprises must ensure their employees' mobile devices are safe and secure—whether they are company-issued or employee-owned (bring your own device or BYOD).

To ensure a safe and easy-to-manage fleet of devices, companies need to choose a mobile device management provider (MDM). There are an increasing number of MDMs that offer various benefits—from complete locked-down security for sensitive enterprises to flexible and quick cloud-based solutions—there's an MDM for every need no matter the size of the business or the range of devices or operating systems.

Here are a selection of MDMs that are bringing interesting solutions to the marketplace:

1. AirWatch by VMWare

AirWatch, purchased by VMWare in January 2014, offers a comprehensive MDM solution across every mobile device (laptops, tablets, printers) and every mobile operating system. The company was recognized as a leader in the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant Report for its enterprise mobility management (EMM) and, accordingly, positions itself as the leading provider in the industry. Their service offers one administrative console that gives an overview of every enrolled device and a dashboard with real-time data for the device fleet. Enrollment is made easy, as once users are authenticated, the appropriate apps and content corresponding to security restrictions are pushed to the device automatically. Customers can then choose to use standalone apps or the AirWatch Workspace which allows users to separate their personal and corporate information. AirWatch is particularly popular with retailers including both Walgreens and Best Buy.

2. BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10)

BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10), with its emphasis on security, is notable for its popularity with various governments around the world. Of the G20 Nations, 16 of them use BES10. It's also the only provider cleared for use on U.S. Department of Defense networks. The service offers multi-OS device, app, and security management through one management console for Android, Blackberry, and iOS devices. It also allows users to switch between work and personal functions with its Secure Work Space solution which lets users to keep their social media, email, and apps separate—offering a greater amount of control and ensuring data leak prevention. For example, enterprises can specify whether a BlackBerry device user can forward email messages marked as private, or whether they can add a new recipient when they reply to a message. Its silver level service is geared towards small businesses while its gold level service is recommended for governments or security sensitive operations.

Read our Bes 10 review.

3. Good Technology Mobile Device Management

The aptly named Good Technology (founded as SpringThings in 2000) and bought by Visto in 2009 offers "automated device lifecycle management" with a focus on security—while the company keeps its eye on future growth by continually developing new technology. The company has filed over 250 technology patents and boasts 50 Fortune 100 companies as customers. The service allows apps secured with Good Technology to coexist alongside the user's own apps. Good-secured apps can detect when a device has been compromised and allows data wiping or the ability to lock the app. With Good's MDM service, IT has the ability to control the settings on any managed device while allowing users with iOS, Windows, and Android mobile devices the ability to self-enroll (with their access corresponding to their employee status in the corporate directory system)—saving on set-up time and support costs. Their MDM is available across a variety of Good's offerings including Good for Enterprise, the Good Collaboration Suite, and the Good Dynamics Secure Mobility Platform.

4. MaaS360 by Fiberlink, an IBM Company

MaaS360 by Fiberlink is a cloud-based solution and bills itself as the "cloud mobility leader." Privately held until its acquisition by IBM in December 2013, the service advertises seamless integration with an enterprise's existing infrastructure, a three-minute enrollment process, as well as instant updates. It also provides a lightweight container solution for email as part of the application. A software development kit, as well as an application wrapper, are available for creating secure apps. While the provider emphasizes the speed and flexibility with which it can operate it also cites its security credentials including the fact that it's FIPS 140-2 compliant, AICPA SOC-2 Type II compliant, and was the first MDM vendor to receive FISMA's "Authority to Operate."