MobileSpaces Review: Easy BYOD Security

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  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Design
      • 10
      • Performance
      • 10
      • Total Score:
      • 10.00
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • An easy-to-use, cloud-based security solution for BYOD devices
    • Allows only authorized mobile apps to be run against sensitive company data

     

     

     

  • Cons

    • Different user interfaces (UIs) for iOS 7 and Android
    • Doesn't support earlier versions of iOS

With more and more people bringing smartphones and tablets to work, the trend toward BYOD (bring your own device) keeps gaining momentum. Meanwhile, though, company IT administrators are faced with making choices among a sea of emerging BYOD management approaches. Previously available only for Android phones and tablets, MobileSpaces’ cloud-based BYOD management and security solution is now offered for iOS 7, too. In this review, we’ll explore how well it performs with both types of devices.

Product Overview
 
Effective enterprise mobility management (EMM) can involve many aspects of device, application, information, policy, and expense management. However, most IT administrators would agree that the jacks-or-better for getting into the game is making sure mobile devices are both manageable and secure (through enterprise data leakage prevention, as well as enforcement of VPN use, for example).

MobileSpaces is an interesting hybrid of mobile applications management (which defines what applications can run on a mobile device) and mobile information management (which seeks to protect sensitive enterprise data even on BYOD devices).

‘Dual Persona’

This combination is actually a form of “dual persona,” isolating business use from personal use on a single device. The company has just added iOS 7 support to its earlier Android support in a cloud-based offering that is at once simple and powerful.
 
MobileSpaces is based on a simple concept — tag enterprise apps as such, isolate the data that these apps can operate on in a secure, centrally-managed container (a “workspace”) — and that’s about it.

The beauty of this approach lies in its simplicity. IT managers can decide what apps can be run (“whitelisted”) against enterprise data, and they get a high degree of control over these. All sensitive enterprise data is encrypted, and the ability of users to operate on and transfer this data is similarly under IT control.

‘Users Don’t Need To Learn Anything New’

End users literally don’t need to learn anything new, and they can be productive immediately — one of the benefits, after all, of the BYOD strategy. Rooting and jailbreaking detection are also included for added assurance.
 
There’s a high degree of flexibility in the MobileSpaces offering, starting with the Web-based console. (For expanded view of console screenshot in this article, please click on the image.)

MobileSpaces is provisioned as a Web-based service, so there is no software to license or install. Users can be added over-the-air and at a fixed price — beginning at US $60/user/year — and volume pricing is available.

The basic functions of the console are to define policies, add users, authorize applications, and monitor usage. Literally any app can be run. There’s no need for any developer involvement, application wrapping or other modification, or any other management or technical requirements. Simple? Yes, indeed.
 
Performance
 
There are, however, differences in the Android and iOS 7 implementations, as we found in examining MobileSpaces 2.0 on both iPads and Android phones.

While iOS 7 itself adds a broad range of mobility-management capabilities, it is still a relatively closed-down and limited-function operating system. The lack of a single file system remains a challenge, so MobileSpaces must manage the file spaces of each app under its control separately.

Android Version More Appealing

MobileSpaces’ approach to iOS 7 does work, but the Android version is much more appealing and user-friendly. The icon of each Android app, for example, is clearly tagged as being under enterprise control, and one can have two versions of a given app — one personal and one enterprise — on a single device.

The iOS edition, in contrast, is much more restrictive, with an app allowed to be either enterprise-managed or personal, but not both.

In either case, however, apps and their associated data can be locked down to the degree that IT management should have a high degree of confidence that only authorized apps can be run against sensitive organizational data — the essence of mobility management today.
 
Conclusion
 
The enterprise mobility management field is crowded with competing offerings that are often poorly differentiated and difficult to quantify. MobileSpaces is a beacon of light in this sea of confusion, with an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use service that enables organizations of all sizes to mobilize their data and operations with a minimum of effort and a maximum of visibility and control. 

Pros:

  • An easy-to-use, cloud-based security solution for BYOD devices
  • Allows only authorized mobile apps to be run against sensitive company data

Cons:

  • Different user interfaces (UIs) for iOS 7 and Android
  • Doesn’t support earlier versions of iOS


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  1. adeluca

    Hello, this looks very interesting but I have question about Android “two versions of a given app”, does that mean the user must install two apps for work and personal? Where do they get the work app?