Benefits of Mobile App Security That Don’t Rely on MDM or MAM
Nikfar Khaleeli | Feb 6, 2023
MDM and MAM may be overkill for some companies. Device-independent mobile app security that doesn’t need to “phone home” provides a viable option for such companies. It protects mobile apps and the data they handle, regardless of the mobile device or mobile OS platform on which they are running while providing companies with significant benefits over MDM and MAM solutions.
A Quick Recap of MDM and MAM
Mobile Application Management (MAM) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) are two separate but complementary technologies for managing and securing mobile devices and mobile apps. MDM and MAM are primarily intended for use in enterprise environments, where companies need to manage and secure mobile devices and mobile apps that are used by their employees, their contractors and their consultants.
While MDM focuses on managing and securing mobile devices, MAM focuses on managing and securing mobile apps. They both provide different security features and functionalities that can be used together to provide a comprehensive approach to mobile device and mobile app security.
MDM is software that allows a company to securely manage and monitor mobile devices that are used by employees. MDM solutions typically include features such as the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen mobile devices, control over mobile app configurations and permissions, and the ability to enforce security policies on mobile devices.
MAM, as the name suggests, is focused on mobile apps. MAM software allows companies to securely manage and distribute mobile applications to employees. MAM solutions typically include features such as distributing apps to employees securely, controlling access to mobile apps, remotely wiping data in mobile apps, and enforcing app-level security policies, remotely wiping data in mobile apps, and monitoring mobile app usage.
MAM can be used on its own to manage and secure mobile apps, but it is often used in conjunction with MDM. When used together, MDM and MAM solutions can provide better protection against data breaches and other security incidents, as well as a more seamless user experience. It's not mandatory to use both of them, and it depends on the company’s security requirements and the nature of the mobile apps they're using.
MDM and MAM Can Be Overkill
However, MDM and MAM-based mobile app security may not be the right option for many companies.
Consider Business-to-consumer (B2C) mobile apps, which are mobile apps that are primarily intended for use by individual consumers. B2C mobile apps would run on consumer devices. MDM and MAM don’t really because it would be impossible to manage the devices for individual consumers.
For many types of B2B (business-to-business) mobile apps, MDM and MAM may also be considered overkill, depending on the specific needs and requirements of the business. For example, if the security policy doesn’t need to be dynamic then the overhead of setting up MAM or MDM isn’t really needed. (A dynamic security policy is one that can be adjusted as needed, based on telemetry collected from the mobile app or the mobile app device on which it is running in order to ensure that the mobile application remains secure. MAM and MDM solutions typically offer dynamic policies).
Device independent mobile app security refers to security measures that are implemented in such a way that they are not specific to any particular device or operating system. These measures are designed to protect mobile apps and the data they handle, regardless of the mobile device or mobile OS platform on which they are running. The goal is to ensure that the mobile app and its data are protected against a wide range of potential threats, even if the mobile device or mobile operating system itself is compromised.
Not needing to “phone home" ensures that the security controls are designed to continue protecting the mobile app without the need for ongoing communication with a remote server or "home base." The goal here is to make it more difficult for attackers to gain access to sensitive data or disrupt the operation of the mobile app by targeting the communication channels between the app and its home base. Additionally, it ensures the mobile app can be used in low-connectivity or offline environments, which is ideal for certain use cases.
The Benefits of Device-Independent Mobile App Security
There are several reasons why companies would use device-independent mobile app security to protect their mobile apps and data instead of using Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Mobile Application Management (MAM) solutions.
Cost. MDM and MAM solutions are costly to implement and maintain. Some companies may not have the budget to invest in these solutions.
Complexity. MDM and MAM solutions are complex to set up and manage. Some companies may not have the resources or expertise to implement and maintain these solutions.
Limited features. MDM and MAM solutions may not provide all the features that a company needs to secure a mobile app, and may not be the best fit for their specific security requirements.
Privacy concerns. Some companies may be concerned about the invasive level of access and control that MDM and MAM solutions provide over mobile devices and apps, and may prefer to implement their own security measures.
Small scale. Some companies may want to deploy just a couple of mobile apps, which does not warrant the need for full features of MDM and MAM. These companies may prefer to implement their own security measures.
Compliance. Some companies may already have security measures in place that meet their compliance requirements, and may not need to use MDM or MAM solutions to secure their mobile app.
It's important to note that securing a mobile app is an ongoing process and it's important to regularly review and update the app's security measures. Companies should carefully evaluate their security requirements and available resources when choosing to secure a mobile app without using MDM and MAM solutions.