Mobile device management (MDM) is a beautiful thing. It lets us manage the whole “bring your own device” phenomenon without pulling our hairs out of our scalps. Still, not a lot of businesses are using MDM as a strategy to cope with this inevitability. The reasons are debatable, but surely at least a handful of businesses consider this just another added expense on top of the already enormous piles they have.
MDM by itself isn’t expensive, but it’s not ideally suitable for some environments. For example, there are small business owners with lots of good hardware laying around that can easily host some SaaS platforms in-house. Granted, not all SaaS solutions should be hosted that way, but MDM is probably one of the things you really don’t have to pay for. This begs the question: Why are we paying for mobile device management in the first place? Why not just get your hands on some software and run it in-house?
According to Spiceworks, a provider of free IT management software, only 17 percent of small businesses are using MDM, despite 61 percent of them implementing a policy on personal mobile devices (BYOD). We can change that with some free software:
- Spiceworks IT Management Software – If you’re willing to settle for MDM as part of a bigger package deal, you can download Spiceworks’ free IT management platform. Most recently, they’ve included an MDM interface into the package. I’ve tried it, and it was extremely easy to deploy. There were no obstacles to the installation, and it was straightforward. Its MDM features include uncovering and monitoring mobile devices that connect to your wireless network, allowing you to keep the gates to your network secure from unauthorized mobile devices.
- AppTec 360 – I’d be lying if I said that AppTec 360 was free, but it does fit well in the free category. Made by an European SaaS MDM provider, AppTec 360 is a very powerful and targeted mobility management platform for enterprise environments. I’ve seen enough user reviews of their product to consider it a viable alternative to using SaaS. A “perpetual” license costs 19 Euros. After you get the license, hosting the product on-premise adds no extra cost (except the cost of running your hardware, of course). You can also host 360 as a virtual appliance, which means you run it in tandem with other solutions as a virtual machine (VM).
Knowledge is power, and knowing that MDM doesn’t have to cost you a pretty penny will definitely empower you to have a wider array of choices in how you manage your business’ security.