How Does Mobile Application Management Work?

Mobile application management (MAM) software focuses on managing business applications and the data on mobile devices without controlling the entire physical device. These tools oversee the lifecycle of installed business applications and limit non-business applications from accessing business data. In addition, MAM software enforces business policies and maintains a separation of business applications and data from personal content on the same mobile device.

Why is MAM important?

MAM software is crucial because it protects proprietary business data from being used inappropriately, thus reducing the risk of a data breach. For businesses that have implemented a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, a corporate strategy that leverages MAM software to protect personal and corporate devices is critical. 

Additionally, implementing a comprehensive security policy for the use and management of mobile devices minimizes the risk that an employee’s device will become a security vulnerability.

How does mobile application management software work?

MAM software allows IT administrators to remotely manage business applications on a mobile device. This happens via an over-the-air (OTA) connection—such as a cellular network or a Wi-Fi connection—to perform all the necessary updates or install actions to keep the device secure and functioning. 

In addition, MAM uses containerization technology that separates business applications from personal applications by storing each mobile application in its own container.


Whereas MAM software is only concerned with a device’s apps that pertain to the business, mobile device management (MDM) software manages an entire device. MDM is an enterprise security software that manages and secures company-issued smartphones, tablets, and laptops. 

IT administrators can install software updates, wipe the device’s data remotely, control user settings, and enforce a business’s compliance policies on enterprise devices. MDM can perform these tasks on employee-owned mobile devices too.

MAM vs. EMM and UEM

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) became necessary as corporations started letting employees use their personal devices for work. With the rise of BYOD, companies needed a comprehensive solution that addressed both Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) and BYOD devices. An EMM software solution consists of six separate applications to manage COPE and BYOD devices:

  • MDM has control over the entire mobile device and enforces security policies, and allows for real-time monitoring of devices.
  • MAM is for managing the applications on a mobile device and compartmentalizing business from personal applications.
  • Mobile content management (MCM) facilitates remote distribution, management, and collaboration of critical information. It encrypts content on a device and prevents unauthorized access.
  • Mobile security management (MSM) provides similar security features as MDM, but it provides much more robust security options for applications and data. In addition, MSM software can enable a kiosk mode that allows a device to access a specific application.
  • Mobile expense management (MEM) tracks and audits mobile data usage
  • Identity and access management (IAM) manages mobile device user roles and privileges to specific applications.

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) is a composite of the EMM toolsets. In addition to managing smartphones, tablets, and laptops, UEM software can manage televisions, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, wearables like smartwatches, and more. UEM technology often offers no-touch deployment and seamless integration that can be implemented across various platforms. 

UEM is designed to support BYOD, COPE, Choose Your Own Device (CYOD), and Corporate Owned Business Only (COBO) devices. Therefore, the main difference between EMM and UEM is scope—the latter is more comprehensive due to the types of devices it can manage. Both of these technologies are broader and more versatile than MAM software.

How to manage mobile applications and devices

The right combination of mobile management solutions depends on your business’s unique needs. MAM might be enough to ensure your business data is secure, or MDM might be better if you issue multiple devices to each of your employees. 

If your organization could benefit from both MAM and MDM tools, then an EMM solution might reduce the technical complexity involved with maintaining multiple mobile applications. Or, if you need a comprehensive solution to manage and personal mobile devices, tablets, laptops, IoT, and wearables, a UEM is the recommended solution

Finally, you must consider your business’s growth factor when you’re planning to purchase a mobile management software solution. You should look four or five years out and approximate the additional cost for adding new devices. You may be able to work out some type of loyalty discount with the software vendor you choose to reduce the overall cost as you add new devices to your organization.

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Don Hall
Don Hall
Don Hall has been employed as an IT Manager/Supervisor in the U.S. Government for over twenty years. He has managed programmers, cyber security, and infrastructure/networking personnel during his management career. Hall currently works as an IT Operations Officer that requires him to have general knowledge of various IT topics to assist his Command in making informed decisions or recommendations on behalf of the customers we support.

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