How To

Mobile Application Management: The Definitive Guide


Remote work (or at least hybrid work) has become the norm and people are using their own mobile devices to accomplish tasks. While this brings high levels of convenience to individual workers and cost-efficiency to organizations, it also introduces risk to the underlying enterprise network.

In embracing this new age of remote work, companies need a robust mobile application management strategy that protects their own interests as well as the privacy of clients and internal mobile device users.

 Key Takeaways:

  • Effective mobile application management in the enterprise entails retaining control of which applications end-user devices can install and ensuring the security of those applications.
  • An MAM strategy empowers data protection through containerization, application wrapping, and the upkeep of an application inventory.
  • The actual implementation of MAM at scale requires prioritizing centralization and compatibility.

According to a report from Globe Newswire, the global application management services market reached an estimated size of $28.30 billion in 2022 with a projected growth to $59.68 billion by 2026. The value of application management, particularly in regard to mobile apps in the enterprise, illustrates the importance of understanding how best to implement MAM for business.

What is mobile application management?

Mobile application management refers to the systems, policies, and technologies that allow admins to have full control over applications installed on end-user devices. Through MAM, both IT teams and individual operators can enjoy peace of mind in an age where remote work via mobile devices is becoming the norm rather than an exception.

This methodology differs from mobile device management in that MDM policies serve to protect the device itself, whereas MAM applies specifically to the applications on the device and how they affect the vulnerability of data.

Businesses that enforce comprehensive MAM policies can reap the benefits of greater security, accessible monitoring functionality, centralized application control, and other app management capabilities.

Organizations need a mobile application management strategy for the sake of data protection. Without it, there is a high risk of cybercrime occurring when an employee installs malicious software on their company-issued device or fails to uphold recommended security measures. When such incidents occur, it can lead to leaks of sensitive information or even costly outages if a sinister party gains access to the network.

What constitutes a mobile application management strategy?

The first step toward managing mobile applications effectively is to package them as containers. Containerization not only makes it possible to run an app virtually at any location, be that a physical datacenter or a public cloud, but it also ensures that the contained app running on an employee’s mobile device is separate from that individual’s personal and private data.

From there, one of the next logical steps in mobile application management is to create an application inventory that serves as a repository of required applications. It is even possible to configure the organization’s mobile devices to only run these “whitelisted” applications or to blacklist any or all other applications that might pose a threat or be counter to productivity.

In addition to whitelisting necessary applications and limiting which apps a device can install, it is also a good practice to implement application wrapping for any software developed in-house for remote use. Application wrapping is the process of building a management layer over the app itself for the sake of maintaining compliance and security requirements, all without affecting the application itself.

Mobile application management is synonymous with mobile security in many ways, so the concept of “zero trust” is an exceedingly crucial component in any MAM strategy. The zero-trust security framework states that all users, regardless of their status with the organization, must authenticate, receive authorization, and undergo continuous validation in order to gain access to the organization’s network. This approach is more important than ever when managing mobile devices that will often seek access from outside the organization’s sphere of control.

How to implement mobile application management at scale?

As remote work becomes more common and budding organizations grow to include greater numbers of both employees and mobile devices, it also becomes more important to have a mobile application management strategy that scales with company growth. To that end, it is crucial to have a central control hub from which to conduct remote deployment of configurations, permissions, and updates with standardized efficiency regardless of the size of the network.

As needs expand for both MAM and mobile application development, the need also grows for continued software development kit compatibility. Developers must have access to the latest versions of SDKs to ensure SDK compatibility with the MAM framework itself.

Developing applications utilizing the latest SDKs that are compliant with the organization's MAM  platform is a necessity, but it goes without saying that costs are a factor to consider as well. Those costs differ by the scale of the operation, so it is crucial for decision-makers to manage these cost implications effectively.

One solution for streamlining the implementation of mobile application management at scale is to operate on a cloud platform that guarantees one-click infrastructure management capabilities on a simple, unified control plane. The Nutanix Prism platform, for example, enables this degree of management as well as comprehensive monitoring and global network visualization all from a single console.

An environment where mobile application management thrives

A sound application management strategy for mobile devices will protect both the organization’s interests and the privacy of individual employees, but it requires a well-built plan that is capable of scaling with the company’s growing demands. IT teams, mobile device users, and end clients can all achieve expedited success when the cloud platform itself provides an environment where MAM strategies can thrive and function with minimal pain points.

The Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure (NCI) can be that environment. NCI leverages powerful hyperconverged infrastructure to deliver applications at any scale and capitalizes on the functionality of Nutanix Prism to facilitate effortless MAM setup with network-wide visibility of mobile applications.

Mobile application management is an important measure against security threats, especially for organizations that follow a “bring your own device” approach to remote work. With strong MAM practices in place on an accommodating cloud platform, IT teams and individual workers can achieve worry-free success.

Learn more about ways to manage risk in the datacenter or cloud, as well as enterprise data protection in all its forms.

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