AT&T, Good, McAfee, MobileIron Pursue Small Business MDM
AT&T (NYSE: T) is partnering with Good, McAfee and MobileIron to promote mobile device management (MDM) services into small businesses. In most cases I don’t worry about big service providers (AT&T, Verizon Business, Sprint, etc.) trying to compete with SMB IT service providers. But in this case I think small MSPs should keep close tabs on AT&T’s MDM moves. Here’s why.
When it comes to smartphones, small business owners and their employees already deal with telecom and cellular companies. And those engagement involve long-term service contracts. So it’s an easy, logical next step for those small businesses to extend their existing smartphone agreements to include MDM from AT&T and other big service providers. (I’m not so sure if small businesses will do the same for tablets.)
Either way, AT&T claims that it stands ready to assist. The company says its MDM solutions are available for small businesses with as few as 20 employees. The AT&T lineup includes:
- Good for Enterprise, featuring enterprise-grade wireless email, personal information management, and IT security and management tools.
- McAfee Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) software — a security solution that protects mobile devices and the data on them.
- MobileIron data-driven smartphone management with real-time wireless cost control. AT&T offers MobileIron in three varieties: On premise, managed, and hosted.
The capabilities AT&T mentions include:
- Lost device detection, including password recovery, device lock, wipe, and encryption
- Remote configuration of email, WiFi, and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
- Asset management features that enable business owners to keep track of company-owned devices
- App distribution capabilities that allow business owners to push mission-critical apps to their employees
- App whitelist/blacklist capabilities help control how company-owned smartphones are used
Items one to three seem like commodity services these days. But items four and five seem like prime opportunities for the long haul. AT&T claims that it also is helping small business owners to develop mobility policies.