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Do you know where your devices are?

  • Created By: Billy McGowan
  • Updated: July 20, 2016

I recently read an article about IBM MaaS360 and it sounded like a very neat concept so I decided to download the free trial. I've also been fortunate enough to attend a few webcasts for MaaS360 recently and I wanted to share my thoughts. 

 

For those unfamiliar with MaaS360, it is EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) software that combines device, app, and 
content management with security to simplify mobile demands. 

 

The three things that I have played around with the most are: 
1) Registering devices 
2) Pushing documents to devices
3) Pushing applications to devices 


As far as registering a device, it was as easy as adding a few attributes, such as username, email, and phone number and then sending a request. The user 
then receives either an Email or SMS or both that provides a link for the user to register. 


Once the user registers, you can see what platform the user is on (Android, Apple), the model of their device and also the operating system. As a manager, 
you get a complete list of devices . The interface can be a little overwhelming at first, but there is a very handy alert center when you first log-in that gives you a quick 
summary of all devices that meet certain conditions. In this alert center, you can see how many devices have been roaming, don't have a passcode set, are out of compliance or have been jailbroken or rooted, among many other customizable alerts. The other really useful feature is that you can locate devices and it will show you a map of either where the device is, or where it was the last time
it was "seen". 
 

The next feature I've played around with is pushing documents to devices. You can choose a document you have uploaded and push it down to either all devices or select devices. It requires an app to be installed on the target device, but the app is free and a small download available on the app stores. For security concerns, you can restrict access on jailbroken devices and also enforce passwords for accessing the documents. There are also additional options such as restricting cut/copy/paste and export as well as settings to hide doc preview and restricting deletes after download. I've sent a few documents to myself as well as a colleague that I had register his device, but I haven't tried too many document types or sizes as of yet. 

 

The last feature that I've spent some time with is distributing applications to devices. As a manager, you have a complete app catalog where you can see all applications that have been added to MaaS360. You can also bundle applications for easier distribution. When you upload an application, you can choose what bundles to make it a part of, what types of devices it can be distributed to, what types of devices it will be supported on (such as desktops, tablets, smartphones), and you can also give it a category. 

 

As far as the security policies, you can choose to have the application automatically removed once the distribution is stopped, restrict the data that is backed up (such as to iTunes) and also if the application should be removed if you were to do a selective wipe. The manager view also keeps track of any and all updates to the application by recording the user, the ip address, the action that was taken as well as the action date. You're also able to write a description including screenshots. To distribute an application, you choose what devices you're going to target and if it should be an instant install, whether an email should be sent and whether or not a notification should be sent with the app. I haven't yet had the opportunity to use this functionality but I'm looking forward to trying it out. 

 

So far I've been very impressed with how easy it is to use as well as how in-depth and flexible it appears to be. My next venture is going to be playing more with the security and the reporting options as well as attending a few more webcasts to hopefully see how much more usability and flexibility the product provides as I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. 

 

I would highly recommend at least checking out the free trial for those that are looking for something modern and very practical for managing their mobile needs. There is currently a free trial being offered that's available here: 
http://www-03.ibm.com/security/mobile/maas360.html

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