AT&T, Good, McAfee, MobileIron Pursue Small Business MDM

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:
  1. Lost device detection, including password recovery, device lock, wipe, and encryption
  2. Remote configuration of email, WiFi, and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
  3. Asset management features that enable business owners to keep track of company-owned devices
  4. App distribution capabilities that allow business owners to push mission-critical apps to their employees
  5. 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.
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