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    What is Mobile Application Management: All You Need to Know

    Apps are the bedrock of smartphones, tablets, and now, even laptops and desktops. Without apps, modern devices are defunct. And that applies to both personal and professional scenarios. In both, imagining a day without any app usage is pretty much a revisit to the Stone Age.

    Managing apps on devices used for work is imperative in a business context. Without app management, the risks aren’t limited to just security; they extend to organizational productivity too. Add to that the global surge in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at workplaces, and the case for managing mobile apps gets even stronger. 

    Mobile Application Management (MAM)
    A Guide to Mobile Application Management (MAM)

    This comprehensive guide on mobile application management (MAM) covers its definition and importance in today’s business environment. We also discuss the techniques used in managing applications and share different use cases. Finally, we share Scalefusion’s MAM capabilities across multiple operating systems, including Android, Windows, iOS, and macOS.

    What is Mobile Application Management (MAM)?

    Mobile Application Management or MAM refers to the complete lifecycle management of every app, from deploying and updating to uninstalling. MAM also involves the ability to whitelist applications, provide bulk distribution, and make them available to devices or users through an app store.

    Private apps developed in-house can be deployed and controlled using MAM. Under BYOD, work apps can be separated from personal apps and protected through containerization. 

    Why is MAM Important?

    With the increasing use of mobile devices at work, mobile applications have grown significantly, and managing them has become more complex. MAM helps organizations manage and secure their mobile applications, regardless of the device or platform.

    MAM allows organizations to maintain control over applications employees use. This reduces the risk of data breaches and ensures compliance with regulations and internal policies. Additionally, MAM can bring about an increase in productivity and efficiency. Employees with the right applications and tools can perform their tasks more effectively and quickly.

    Organizations can reduce the number of licenses they need to purchase and reduce the time and IT resources required to manage them by managing applications centrally. Just as crucially, MAM can improve user experience. Employees accessing the applications they need, when needed, and on their chosen device are more likely to be satisfied and productive.

    Let’s take a look at some popular use cases that employ MAM.

    Seasonal or Contract Employees

    As organizations grow, they must scale their business operations. For some businesses, it means onboarding seasonal employees and contractors who need access to enterprise applications and data. When such individuals have access to company apps, they automatically become an insider in the eyes of the organization.

    It becomes critical for businesses to secure apps that access sensitive data while complying with corporate policies. MAM helps manage the risks associated with the contract employee onboarding process.

    Dedicated Devices

    Dedicated devices are fully managed devices that serve a single, specific purpose. The devices run a single or limited number of apps that cater to employee- or customer-specific needs. Employee-facing needs can range from inventory and field service management to transport and logistics.

    Companies run dedicated devices in an immersive, kiosk-like fashion where smartphones and tablets are locked to a single or whitelisted set of apps using single- or multi-app kiosk mode. This enables customers to perform self-service functions.

    BYOD

    As modern workplaces prioritize flexibility, BYOD policies are becoming common. Employees want to access company applications from personal devices at any time and from any place. Enterprise apps contain sensitive company information that needs protection from online threats.

    A security breach in an unmonitored app can lead to IP theft, data theft, unauthorized access, and fraud. Implementing MAM helps IT admins monitor, manage, and protect the applications, including web apps when employees access them.

    MAM Techniques

    MAM uses different techniques to ensure secure access to enterprise apps. 

    Containerization

    Implementing security measures on a personal device seems like an overkill for employees, making them skeptical about the privacy of their personal data. Containerization is a technique used to separate personal and corporate data and apps in logical containers. It is a lightweight option that works with most mobile OS, making it a great fit for personal devices in a BYOD environment. 

    Containerization creates a win-win situation for businesses and employees. A separate, encrypted container for work purposes stores enterprise apps while leaving personal apps, content, personal files, photos, and activities in the personal container untouched. Containerization can be one of the most proactive approaches an organization can take to respect employee privacy while maintaining compliance.

    Application Whitelisting

    The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) defines an application whitelist as “a list of applications and application components (libraries, configuration files, etc.) authorized to be present or active on a host according to a well-defined baseline”. The technologies used to apply application whitelists go by different names: whitelisting programs, application control programs, or application whitelisting technologies.

    Call it by whichever name; organizations must ensure an attacker can’t compromise applications allowed in the company’s network. By creating whitelists, organizations can enforce control over the apps necessary for work. MAM simplifies the process of creating and managing a whitelist.

    Application Wrapping

    Application wrapping entails adding a layer of security and management without changing an application’s core functionality. It allows IT admins to configure settings as per company policy that can be applied to an application or a group of applications. For instance, IT admins can enforce a VPN connection whenever an employee needs to access corporate data over an application.

    Remote App Configuration & Updates

    To manage apps in modern workplace environments, IT admins need remote application management tools to efficiently monitor apps on multiple and distributed devices. IT admins can use MAM to remotely update an app across multiple devices without visiting app stores. 

    Additionally, remote app configuration helps manage individual app settings and centrally control their access. It simplifies the app deployment process and eases the burden of managing different devices with different configuration settings required by multiple applications in different environments.

    Benefits of MAM

    MAM lets IT admins manage corporate applications for BYOD use cases, leaving personal apps alone. Configuring settings at an app level allows for applying security policies, adding an extra layer of security. Security policies can include adding restrictions to copy and paste, printing a document, or denying access to data.

    MAM allows IT admins to deploy applications from a customized internal app store. An internal app store is a web portal from where employees and stakeholders can access apps officially. Deploying apps in such a manner circumvents the time and complexity it takes to get approval through app access stores.

    Limitations of MAM

    Most standalone MAM solutions cannot manage all apps. Only apps with built-in management capabilities or developers who build third-party apps compatible with a MAM platform can be managed seamlessly. 

    Implementing a separate MAM solution increases application development, support, and distribution costs. Additionally, IT will need to spend more time learning a separate tool and developing best practices and governance over deploying and managing apps.

    As the number of mobile devices in an organization grows, IT would prefer mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management capabilities in a single tool.

    MAM with Scalefusion

    Scalefusion simplifies app management by allowing IT admins to acquire, deploy, and manage apps across Android, iOS, and Windows. It also provides mobile app security via app whitelisting, containerization, and remote app configurations and updates.

    Application Management for Android

    • Scalefusion integration with Android Enterprise gives organizations much flexibility in managing apps on BYOD and corporate devices. IT admins can search, approve, and publish apps directly from the Google Play Store to enrolled devices. 
    • Organizations can enforce BYOD policy compliance by enrolling devices in Scalefusion with a work profile to separate personal and work data and apps on a single device. Compliance is possible because the work profile provides strong anti-exploitation and data loss controls on any device.
    • To manage apps for employee- or customer-facing needs, IT admins can create a locked-down experience to limit smartphones or tablets to a single or limited set of apps. 
    • IT admins can define which users can view or access which apps. For example, a user running the Play Store app on a completely managed device will only see apps allowlisted for them. The user can install these apps but not others.
    • App updates are crucial for providing new and useful functionalities, managing security updates, and fixing bugs. IT admins can enforce auto-updates to ensure devices run the latest version of allowed apps.

    Application Management for Windows

    • The Microsoft for Business Store allows companies to acquire, manage, and distribute applications in bulk. Companies that manage Windows 10 and 11 devices with Scalefusion can integrate the two systems. After integration, IT admins can acquire apps from the store and distribute and manage their updated version from the Scalefusion dashboard. 
    • Another exclusive offering from Scalefusion is the Windows App Catalog. The Windows App Catalog empowers organizations to curate a comprehensive application library by incorporating a diverse selection of over 500 third-party offerings. It streamlines the administrative experience, enabling seamless integration of these applications into the Scalefusion dashboard for efficient deployment across a fleet of Windows devices.
    • IT admins can push UWP and Win32 apps on managed devices at enrollment or later, anytime during a device’s lifecycle. Additionally, Scalefusion provides app blacklisting to curb security challenges.
    • Microsoft encourages third-party app developers to build their installation frameworks using the MSI format. Using MSI packages simplifies the installation and uninstallation process on various systems in various locations. However, the customizable nature of .exe files helps create in-house (or line of business) apps. IT admins can upload and publish .exe installers to distribute and manage apps on Windows 10/11 devices.

    Application Management for Apple (iOS and macOS)

    • Scalefusion integrates with Apple Business Manager (ABM). IT admins can purchase free or paid apps in bulk and manage their licenses and deployment using Scalefusion. 
    • IT admins can list and make the necessary business apps available on user devices. These include in-house apps and apps users can download from public stores. Additionally, if the Apple devices are supervised, apps can be installed silently with minimum IT intervention.
    • For enterprise applications, Apple recommends organizations use an MDM solution to distribute such apps. Scalefusion provides a secure method for enterprise app installation that does not require user interaction.  IT admins need a macOS device and must follow the steps below for successful enterprise app distribution.
      • Create a certificate signing request 
      • Generate Enterprise distribution certificates 
      • Create Enterprise build for distribution
    • IT admins can implement data protection measures by restricting the movement of data from managed apps to unmanaged apps or preventing unmanaged apps from reading the managed contact accounts. 

    Mobile Application Management Simplified with Scalefusion

    Here’s what Scalefusion’s MAM capabilities offer:

    • Management for the entire app lifecycle 
    • Management of permissions and configurations
    • Remote installation and uninstallation of apps
    • Kiosk mode to lock a single or set of apps on devices
    • Containerization for user privacy and corporate data security (BYOD)
    • App data usage tracking for cost optimization

    Besides the above, Scalefusion’s pricing plans offer varied Private App Store storage space, starting from 200 MB (Growth) to 2 GB (Enterprise). 

    Take a 14-day free trial to explore mobile application management powered by Scalefusion. Get in touch with our experts for a product tour.

    Renuka Shahane
    Renuka Shahane
    Renuka Shahane is an avid reader who loves writing about technology. She is an engineering graduate with 10+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for web-based startups.

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