Feature Article

January 11, 2013

AirWatch Adds Mobile Application Management to its MDM Capabilities

AirWatch, a player in the enterprise mobile device security and management (MDM) space, has managed to capture around 5,000 customers for itself over the last three years or so. Interestingly, the company has never taken in outside funding, and has grown through its operating cash flow. The company's core product suite is cloud-based, which allows AirWatch MDM customers to get up to speed and fully running fairly quickly.

Customers include groups within the top four global Fortune companies, nine of the top 10 US retailers, six of the top 10 global airlines, the top four global energy companies, six of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies, seven of the top 10 global CPG companies, three of the top five US medical device companies, five of the top 10 global luxury goods companies and two of the top three global hotel groups. As customers go, that's not a bad list, and the company has done a good job of getting its MDM platform out there.

Now, as have the other MDM vendors it competes with, AirWatch is now moving in the direction of expanding its offerings to more specifically target enterprise mobile application management (MAM). To do so, earlier this week AirWatch announced its new standalone MAM capabilities. The AirWatch Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM - yet another buzzword/acronym encompassing MDM and MAM) solution now delivers MDM, MAM, mobile content management and mobile e-mail management.

All of this, of course, is driven by BYOD, which has expanded mobile concerns for enterprises beyond simply managing devices and now encompasses mobile applications and enterprise data, as well as e-mail access of that data and the distribution of that data through e-mails either as attachments or in the body of e-mails. Enterprises and educational institutions enabling BYOD programs now require a combination of flexible mobile management options based on device ownership, role and security risk level to deal with these security issues. 

The AirWatch EMM platform provides its customers with the ability to ensure regulatory compliance, minimize internal risk and guarantee end user satisfaction and privacy. AirWatch supports corporate dedicated or shared devices, personal BYOD devices, and as of this week personal devices with standalone application management as well.

AirWatch also offers its Secure Content Locker  to securely distribute and share content. The Secure Content Locker features advanced security and audit capabilities and can be purchased and implemented with as a tightly integrated component of the AirWatch MDM solution or as an independent module.

Key MAM Features

The AirWatch platform now provides an app wrapping engine that allows developers to add proprietary AirWatch security features to internally built apps without writing any additional source code. With injected code, developers benefit by not spending time coding for additional features. The AirWatch wrapping engine allows for forced authentication, enforcement of passwords, compromised device detection, prevention of copy/paste from the app and disablement of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and camera.

The AirWatch MAM solution also allows IT admins to completely manage internal, public and purchased apps across employee, corporate or shared devices. AirWatch customers can also implement internal enterprise app catalogs to recommend public apps, push apps directly to devices, inform employees of useful apps and provision specific apps, based on organizational role.

Last, the AirWatch MAM solution gives developers multiple options to manage internally developed apps by using advanced security and management capabilities available through the AirWatch Software Development Kit (SDK). The SDK provides developers with additional app management functionality, all of which can be controlled from the AirWatch console. In-house developers can easily implement such things as seamless LDAP/AD user authentication, compromised status and jailbreak detection, certificate provisioning, geo-fencing, custom application branding, reporting and analytics, application health and diagnostics, dynamic server-side configuration and provisioning of apps and defining custom settings for apps.

“AirWatch has a proven track record of industry-leading product innovation. We also  provide transparent pricing, flexible deployment options and now a combination of options to meet the evolving trends for BYOD,” says John Marshall, president and CEO, AirWatch, who has seen the company grow from a few people to its current collection of over 500 employees. “Enterprises now have a variety of deployment scenarios, and our AirWatch enterprise mobility suite offers the commercial solutions needed to align with product requirements.”

To be sure, most of the vendors who compete with AirWatch deliver these same collections of capabilities, though MobileIron, as our recent coverage of the company spells out, is probably the most direct competitor to AirWatch in terms of customer targets and platform capabilities. Other competitors include but are not limited to Zenprise (recently acquired by Citrix), Symantec (through its acquisition of Odyssey Software a little less than a year ago), Good Technology (which recently added app wrapping security capabilities), Boxtone, and SAP (through the newest version of its Afaria product).

We note here as well that recently Good Technology decided to pursue patent infringement lawsuits against both AirWatch and MobileIron. These will certainly be interesting to watch.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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