Over the course of May, we’ve highlighted a number of different mobile management companies in our Mobile Management Month series. Profiling these companies made me realize how much the mobile management market has expanded to include cloud or SaaS options in addition to on-premise servers installed inside a company’s network.
That’s hardly surprising really – after all cloud models are being applied to almost every type of business computing need.
There are several significant and attractive advantages to using a cloud service as your approach to mobile management, particularly for small businesses.
Business technology analyst Maribel Lopez highlighted four of these advantages recently.
- Functionality for a simple monthly fee – In cloud models, service is provided for a regular monthly fee without needing to consider costs involved expanding infrastructure or extending licensing.
- Try before you buy – Since cloud solutions don’t require you to purchase and configure hardware or software, companies can get a solid test drive with very little expense and effort.
- No need for patch and update management – Any updates are provided as part of a cloud service and handled by the vendor itself. IT doesn’t need to be concerned with downloading, vetting, or installing updates.
- No need to buy and install extra components/upgrades for new devices – IT departments don’t need to worry about buying/licensing and installing new components in order to support and manage new devices or mobile OSes as they enter the market and the mix of devices used within an organization.
In addition to her excellent suggestions, I’ll add a few of advantages of my own.
- Freedom from fault tolerance issues – Failover and fault tolerance becomes a simple matter of the service level agreement (SLA) between organization and vendor. There’s no need to develop plans to handle management server outages or failures.
- Easy and relatively unlimited scalability – Cloud services aren’t limited by on-premise infrastructure. As an organization’s needs grow, there’s no concern about adding servers or other hardware and infrastructure resources. So long as a corporate wireless network can support the additional devices, expansion is a simple and hands off affair.
- No need for existing enterprise infrastructure – Most on-premise technologies require some level of existing infrastructure be it an Active Directory forest, physical or virtual servers to run the software, or anything else. Cloud-based mobile management can integrate with such systems, but it doesn’t need to, which makes it an excellent option for small or growing businesses.
- No lock-in to a specific service or solution – Since there’s minimal hardware, software infrastructure involved with a cloud service, there’s no sense of being locked into a specific solution because of investment in it. As a result organizations can switch providers and solutions with little economic impact if and when they feel it’s necessary.
- Ease of setup and limited system requirements – Cloud service setup tends to be much simpler and less expensive that setting up on-premise solutions. There’s rarely major system requirements beyond a Mac, PC, or mobile device that can log into a web-based dashboard.
Cloud solutions aren’t for every organization and they can present some challenges as far as how deeply they can integrate with existing infrastructure and processes, but they also offer a range of solid options that make them well worth considering by most companies looking to capitalize on the boom of mobile technology and/or BYOD.