IBM announced its intent to acquire leading mobile device management (MDM) company Fiberlink MaaS360 in November 2013, and they completed the acquisition on December 18, 2013. In the wake of this acquisition, the question that might be popping into most of our minds is, why has IBM bought this company? How different it is from the other MDM products that are available in the market?
I am pretty sure there will be lot of debate on this topic, and everyone will have their own opinion, but here are the top five things I love about Fiberlink MaaS360.
1. Seamless integration
IBM Fiberlink MaaS360 easily integrates with your organization’s directory server (Active Directory or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) and your messaging system (on-premises Exchange, Lotus Domino, Office 365, Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite – Dedicated), which makes the life of the administrator easy. The administrator doesn’t have to tear out his hair to configure this basic and important functionality with the MDM tool to manage corporate users and their mail in the devices. You don’t have to deploy multiple servers behind a firewall or within the firewall configuration; in fact a single server is sufficient to install the lightweight MaaS360 Cloud Extender for establishing a secure connection to a company’s corporate directory and messaging system.
2. Enrollment in a flash
The device enrollment with the IBM Fiberlink MDM client is lightning fast (assuming that you have decent data coverage in your device). Once you receive mail from your admin with the credentials, it may take only three or four minutes to complete device enrollment. This makes the user happy, as he or she can get up and running with access to corporate email and intranet in no time.
3. Secure container for mail
In one of my previous blog posts, “Mobile containerization: Choose your container well,” I mentioned the importance of having a container solution for data security. IBM Fiberlink MaaS360 provides a very lightweight, built-in container solution. When I say lightweight I mean you don’t have to deploy a separate server or develop a special application to provide the containerized solution for email, calendar and browser. A secure container is already available within the MDM application by default. The admin just needs to enable a secure workspace IT policy that will be pushed to the client, and without really doing anything users get corporate mail securely.
4. Secure applications with your precision
Applications are the key for bring your own device (BYOD) adoption, and IBM Fiberlink MaaS360 provides two distinct ways of securing applications:
- SDK: IBM Fiberlink MaaS360 provides a software development kit (SDK) for the developer, who can use it to build secure mobile applications from scratch.
- Application wrapper: What if you are not a developer and don’t know anything about coding? What if you are only an administrator? What if your organization has already built a few corporate applications for iOS and Android?
IBM Fiberlink MaaS360 provides the IBM Fiberlink MaaS360 application wrapper tool to address all of the above issues. If your organization already has a few applications built for iOS and Android (say from third-party vendors or an independent software vendor [ISV]) then you won’t try to build them again from scratch, as that would require money and time. So you can use the app wrapper to create a security wrapper around the application to make it compliant and secure.
Then question then is, why do we have two different kinds of methods of securing applications? Well, both options have a few advantages and disadvantages in terms of functionality, which I will discuss in another blog post.
However, the important point is that it is a win-win situation for everyone. The developer can use the SDK to build the finest grade secure applications. The administrator need not worry about coding as he or she can use the app wrapper to secure the application. The organization doesn’t have to worry about data security. And the employees will be happy to access their corporate apps in their favorite device, which makes them more productive.
5. Secure transactions
Most of the MDM vendors are focused on making the endpoint and applications within it secure, which is fine, but what about transactions through your endpoints? Is that secure? Are you confident in making banking transactions using your mobile devices? Most of us are probably very skeptical, even now, about doing certain transactions using our mobile devices.
IBM Fiberlink MaaS360, with another IBM product, Trusteer, will provide this unique functionality of securing the transaction from your mobile device. This, in my book, is a very important feature, as it can allow users to trust each and every transaction that happens through their mobile endpoints, which in turn augurs well for BYOD and mobility in general.
I would like to hear your perspective about IBM Fiberlink MaaS360. Please connect with me on Twitter to share your mobile story.