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Good Enough

Sophos Mobile Control leaves me with mixed feelings. Mobile Control circa 2011 was an absolute farce, but it has seen two major versions since then. Sophos still has a ways to go to catch up to competitors like Fibrelink, yet they offer a range of endpoint security products that together can be quite compelling. They have obviously been dumping enormous resources into Mobile Control and I expect it to close the gap with the market leaders some time early next year. Sophos offers a perpetual license; prices start around $56 per user.

Trend Micro Mobile Security and Mobile Device Management for BYOD wins the "most awkward name" award. Their website looks like it was run over by a fleet of marketing bulldozers and the same press release was so heavily SEO'd that there is zero signal to be found amongst the noise. The few people I can find who have used it say it is a middling offering, though it is cheaper than many competing solutions.

Centrify takes a different approach than most others in this space: a freemium model. You only pay if you need premium features; it is great for managing and maintaining your family's device loadout for free, but if you're a business you'll want the paid version. The whole system works by putting an agent on your network that jacks into Active Directory and links with their cloud. You control devices via GPOs. Centrify offers endpoint security for OS X, Unix and Linux and is big unto the single sign-on concept. These folks are worth a look, no matter what size your organisation is.

For the price, you can't really argue

Meraki Mobile Solution gets an honourable mention as the company that the Spiceworks community just won't shut up about. Grab any random 10 people from amongst the 2 million+ Spiceworkers and the time to a Meraki discussion is shorter than the time it takes the barkeep to get me my beer. I haven't had time to investigate these folks myself, but they offer a free MDM solution. If the Spiceworks community is to be believed, Meraki can walk on water while making you coffee and finding the next mersenne prime. If you dig a little, the MDM software is nothing special - it is a loss leader for their rather excellent networking software - but more than good enough for most smaller deployments.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Google have a mobile device management offering built into their Google Apps for Business. At the moment, it only supports Android and is honestly pretty crap. It crashes out on all my Gingerbread phones on a regular basis and exhibits any number of truly bizarre behaviours. That said, it is free if you use Google Apps and if your handhelds are Ice Cream Sandwich or newer then it "just works."

While the above is a brief look at the MDM scene, it is a bit like trying to describe Tokyo in detail while whipping through it on a bullet train. There are a few resources that can help you out further. Enterprise iOS has a nice tabbed interface that really helps drill down on features and support. Solutions Review has a high-altitude overview and the Gartner Magic Quadrant on the topic is worth a look as well.

Let us know in the comments what your experiences with MDM software vendors has been. ®

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