Mobile Device Management (MDM) alternatives

Adoption of MDM/MAM solutions in the enterprise isn't nearly as far along as many have expected. According to a recent Bitglass survey, fewer than half of organizations are successfully using MDM to secure BYOD and personal devices. Significant deployment and adoption challenges have lead many organizations to seek out Mobile Device Management (MDM) alternatives for their data security requirements.

With MDM/MAM, each employee is required to have a software agent installed on his or her mobile device, ceding control of the device to the corporation. The software agent on the device controls how the employee uses the device, which applications may be installed, tracks the employee’s geographic location. etc. These solutions are difficult to deploy and maintain, upset the user experience, invade employee privacy, and don’t typically work with third party or cloud applications.

Fortunately, a new generation of agentless BYOD security solutions are available and can solve all of these issues. These solutions are quickly gaining adoption in the enterprise, with Gartner predicting that by 2018, “more than half of all bring your own device (BYOD) users that currently have an MDM agent will be managed by an agentless solution.”1

Here’s a quick look at how an Agentless BYOD Security solution stacks up as an alternative to MDM/MAM:


Requirement MDM MAM Agentless BYOD
Control Flow of Data to Device No No Yes
Compliance (HIPAA, PCI, etc) No Partial Yes
Selective Wipe of Corporate Data Yes Yes Yes
DLP from Device No Yes Yes
Full Visibility & Audit No No Yes
Usability Poor Poor Excellent
Privacy Poor Poor Excellent
Any Device No No Yes
Cloud App Support Partial No Yes
Native App (Email, Browser, etc) Support Partial No Yes
No Software on Device No No Yes


1 Gartner: Rob Smith, John Girard, and Dionisio Zumerle, “How to Live With Unmanaged Devices,” August 2015.