As smartphones, tablets and now wearables penetrate the market and become customary work tools for employees all over the world, Mobile Device Management (MDM) has become a necessity for companies.

Did you know over 76% of organizations faced some sort of cyber security breach last year?  That number has increased by 5% from 2014.

There are lots of benefits to bringing smart devices to your workplace.  You have access to corporate data at your fingertips allowing you to collaborate with coworkers and deliver projects faster.  Creating BYOD policies, however, means an increase in data breaches. The IT department has a real headache to deal with as there is only so much a corporate firewall can do.

The first step is understanding the technology infrastructure your business has.  Some companies have a BYOD policy whereas some companies enforce a corporate-device-only rule.  And yet some companies make use of both strategies by allowing some personal devices and prohibiting others.

The way MDM software works is by enabling businesses to control entire devices and monitor all activity, day in, day out.  In case of a security breach, the MDM will act as a defense system that has options of remote wiping of corporate data as well as a remote locking feature to keep hackers out.  There is, of course, a limit to what you can do with a BYOD policy. MDM software is limited in keeping personal mobile devices safe due to its “personal” nature.

With that said, there are a few major players in the MDM software game.  We will focus on the top two: IBM’s MaaS360 and AirWatch by VMware. Each software has its benefits, it all depends on which features cater to your business needs.

This post will break down each software into five components for you to make a thorough comparison:

  1. Compatibility and integration with other systems
  2. Abilities and basic features
  3. How adoptable it is
  4. How secure it is
  5. Pricing scheme


Let’s start with IBM’s MaaS360, a product of Fiberlink (an IBM company).  With over 20 years of experience, it should come as no surprise that IBM was going to acquire the management and security services company.  MaaS360 is designed to diminish danger levels and enhance productivity by managing and controlling corporate data on mobile devices. With the likes of Volkswagen, Pepsi and MasterCard as customers, there is a reason why large enterprises opt for MaaS360 over and over again.

The system is designed to work with both BYOD systems as well as company-issued devices, enabling swift enrollment. Let’s go through the five components to give you a thorough breakdown of what MaaS360 has to offer:

Compatibility and integration with other systems

MaaS360 offers support for all major players in the operating system universe.  From smartphones, tablets laptops and desktops to iOS, Kindle Fire, Android, and Windows, MaaS360 supports practically everything.  There is also support for a safe and secure container as well as browsers for iOS, Windows Phone and Android. Email integration involves Office 365, IBM Notes Traveler as well as all the versions of Microsoft Exchange.  The content storehouse offered by MaaS360 supports NFS, Box, Google Drive, IBM Connections, SharePoint and lots more.

Abilities and basic features

MaaS360 offers key features for all systems in the enterprise mobility management category including:

  • Mobile-device management (MDM)
  • Mobile-content management (MCM)
  • Mobile-application management (MAM)
  • Mobile-expense management (MEM)

Whatever your business needs are, be they management of BYOD policies or corporate-issued devices, MaaS360 has lots of flexible choices.  You can even find industry-specific use-cases in sectors such as healthcare, education, technology, retail etc.… which means there is a high chance you will find a company in your field using the MaaS360 software.

How adoptable it is

Made available only a few years ago, MaaS360 has a deployment system that offers the SaaS platform with an “on-premises delivery option”.  It includes the full-feature cloud-based set, allowing organizations to manage mobile devices from a single control board and:

  • Wholly adopt BYOD programs
  • Fully integrates with app development platforms
  • Manage and deploy private applications as well as public
  • There is support for a wide variety of OS and devices, as well as laptops
  • Provides security for sensitive corporate data on mobile devices
  • Allows secure content collaboration

How secure it is

Highly regulated industries such as financial and healthcare sectors are safe and protected with MaaS360’s secure containers.  The secure containers are beneficial for businesses with strict security and compliance policies giving them thorough protection.  MaaS360 is also a perfect choice for BYOD systems, vendors and consultants that want to safely share content and collaborate on projects without having to manage and control the devices themselves.

The privacy filters feature allows organizations to deploy BYOD systems while giving privacy the utmost importance.  The filters work in a way that limit the accumulation of personal identifiable data providing a safety-net to users as well as privacy.

Pricing Scheme

With perpetual licensing as a readily-available option, the MaaS360 services are priced either per user, per month or per device, per month offering protection for unlimited devices.   There is also a minimum 12 month contract for at least 10 devices.


Recently acquired by VMware and one of the leading names in Mobile Device Management, Mobile Application Management as well as Mobile Content Management solutions, AirWatch should come as no surprise on this list.  Like MaaS360, the AirWatch solution is created to manage, control and monitor mobile devices used by a company.

With a multi-device architecture, the solution is web-based as well as extremely scalable.  You can effortlessly manage hundreds of devices, be they iOS, Android, Windows, anything. Whatever the operating system or location, AirWatch has a solution for you.  AirWatch’s Workspace feature allows containerization, which has a “dual-persona” selection allowing you to maintain a divide between personal and corporate information on devices.

Compatibility and integration with other systems

Enterprise systems like Certificate Authorities, AD/LDAP, email infrastructures, and Public Key Infrastructures are easily integrated with AirWatch, be they cloud or on-premises deployment.  There are different ways AirWatch’s server integrates with both cloud and on-premises deployments. For cloud, the AirWatch server connects itself to on-premises services in a safe, self-service manner.  For on-premises instances, the EIS server empowers AirWatch to exchange information with numerous corporate services across multiple network tiers.

AirWatch provides complete support for all widely accessible iOS and Android APIs.  Moreover, AirWatch also offers a huge assortment of REST and SOAP APIs that permit external programs to use product functionality and information for corporate purposes.   AirWatch also has this specific management platform that has capabilities allows customers scale, enable and build an environment of resources within their own companies. The platform spreads its integration abilities into other resources such as workflow systems, content storehouses and the like.

The following are just a few of the mobile OS and platforms AirWatch is able to support with ease:

  • Apple: iOS 4+, 5+, 6+ & 7+
  • Android: 2.2+, 3.0+ & 4.0+
  • Windows: 8, 8.1, RT and RT 8.1
  • BlackBerry: 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10
  • Apple MAC OS X 10.7 and higher

Abilities and basic features

Here are just a few of the completely integrated built-in components you can find in AirWatch:

  • Application management
  • Workspace management
  • Content management
  • Multi-user management
  • Containerization
  • BYOD
  • Protected email

Here are the some of the key features you can find in AirWatch solution:

  • Adjustable Delivery – Whether your deployment is on-premises or SaaS-based, AirWatch will deliver the same solutions and scaling abilities so that end-users can jump from one type of deployment to another, with ease.
  • Integrating Enterprise Systems – AirWatch has joined mobile service providers (such as device makers, mobile application developers, certificate establishments, VPN, web security etc…) to make mobile management a whole lot easier for employers and employees on both ends.
  • Architectural structure of Enterprise Systems – The strong architectural structure that is the foundation of the AirWatch MDM solution is capable of supporting hundreds if not thousands of devices.  The solution will diminish management worries with existing enterprise applications as well as infrastructure. There is also a disaster recovery feature which comes very handy with top-secret corporate data.

By using industry standard development platforms like HTML 5, MS SQL, and .Net, AirWatch exceeds as a mobile device management solution.   AirWatch enables an easy export of information to third-parties by providing innovative reporting, warning, and monitoring. The Software Development Kit (SDK) and App Wrapping frameworks incorporate extra device management abilities into enterprise applications to offer additional security, verification and deterring data loss.

How adoptable it is

The adoptable and usability factor of AirWatch can be seen in the variety of management tools and solutions it provides, including:

  • Mobile Device Management – With AirWatch you can enroll BYOD, corporate-issued and shared devices into enterprise settings easily.  You can also update device settings at anytime, anywhere and secure and manage mobile devices from a main, web-based console.
  • Mobile Application Management – You can obtain, deploy, secure and manage a variety of applications, be they corporate apps, purchased through app stores or the AirWatch App Catalog.
  • Mobile Email Management – AirWatch delivers thorough security for corporate email setups, offering tailored settings and data loss prevention for native email clients.  You could also enable the AirWatch inbox for better security.
  • Mobile Browsing Management – Safe and secure browsing is a few clicks away, including whitelisting, which is anti-spam filtering.
  • Mobile Content Management – You can expect safe document distribution, interact with multiple people on project, mobile access to enterprise document storehouses and security for sensitive data by using the Secure Content Locker.

There’s a lot more you can do with AirWatch besides the things we’ve mentioned already.  For instance, AirWatch Workspace offers a double-persona experience allowing you to separate your personal data from corporate.  Additionally, AirWatch provides tools that let IT administrators speedily access, distribute and act on information regarding the number of devices through the AirWatch Dashboard.  There are a number of dashboards available including Device Compliance, Email Management, Asset Management and more. There is also a Self-Service Portal that lets users manage and monitor their mobile devices in remote instances.

How secure it is

Security is of course, the reason why a software like AirWatch exists.  With lots of features available, there is a particular application called AirWatch agent, however, which uses an algorithm to identify rooted or jailbroken devices and is automated to take immediate action to protect corporate data that’s at risk using an integrated Compliance Engine.  AirWatch will immediately use the remote-wipe feature to any erase any corporate information if a device is compromised.

Here are just some of the end-to-end security features you can find by implementing AirWatch in your organization:

  • Implementing regular security policies
  • Control user access to corporate data
  • Encrypt and protect sensitive corporate information
  • Remotely wiping of enterprise data if compromised
  • Multiple user authentication
  • Application inventory and physical location tracking offer configurable settings, providing ultimate security

Pricing scheme

With a free trial available, the pricing scheme is divided into three different cost models that are suitable for a variety of organizations.  The Green Management Suite starts at $51/year and offers standard hosting as well as MDM services and the App Catalog. The Orange Management Suite is $60 for a year and includes an inbox and AirWatch workspace along with the standard hosting and Green Management suite features.  Lastly, the best one for the ultimate MDM experience is the Blue Management Suite which is $75 yearly subscription. It includes App Wrapping and App Reputation Scanning and much more.

For mixed-environment infrastructures, we strongly recommend these two options.  AirWatch is extremely popular with a variety of corporations, but MaaS360 is easier to use and work with on a day-to-day basis.  It’s also easier and faster to set up. AirWatch’s enormous list of supported operating systems and a fine-tooth combed policy control make it a great option for medium enterprises that need to constantly monitor a mixture of mobile devices along with desktop operating systems.

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