The right fit: how to choose MDM solutions and vendors

Apple MDM pricing can vary wildly between vendors and even within them between products. Here’s how to choose the best MDM for your organization.

June 25 2024 by

Haddayr Copley-Woods

Jesus Vigo

A person searches through a rack for a garment that is a perfect fit.

What is an Apple MDM?

MDM stands for Mobile Device Management, and it refers to apps and platforms that deploy, manage and update Apple devices in your organization such as iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Mac desktops. The best organizations can manage and deploy to all of your iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS and VisionOS devices from a central location without a need to handle the device itself. Discover more details about how MDM works.

Does the MDM provider you choose matter?

Spoiler alert: it matters! Choosing the right MDM solution can mean that you get the answers, solutions and training you need. . . when you need it. Choose badly, and you may find yourself scrambling to cobble together multiple solutions that still may not provide the comprehensive level of support or ease of use that you need.

Ask around about the vendor’s track record, too — sometimes a very low introductory rate is hiding a large hike in fees upon renewal.

How to choose MDM providers

When it comes to choosing who your MDM provider is, who you choose will define not only the capabilities the solution offers, but also what management workflows are available, how the MDM solution integrates with your existing infrastructure and how effective managers can be with the software based on skill and experience level.

In addition to taking these factors into consideration, ask yourselves the following questions:

  • Does the vendor have any limits on updating or patching the latest apps? How easy or difficult is it to complete these tasks? Can they be automated?
  • What kind of support does the vendor offer, and are there additional costs depending on support level?
  • How does the vendor approach initial setup? How in-depth or ongoing is their training on the solution?

How to choose MDM products that fit your needs

Every organization is different. A large-scale enterprise is going to have different needs than a three-person startup or nonprofit. Instead of looking for the least expensive or the most well-known MDM, first consider what your organization needs.

Factors to consider when choosing an Apple MDM

Does the MDM have deploying, updating and patching capabilities for your most-used apps? Will it integrate seamlessly with top-notch cybersecurity and protection systems?

Do you plan to grow? Ensure that your MDM can grow and innovate at your pace.

Cost considerations
What is your budget compared to your needs? Remember that it’s not only the cost of the MDM itself that you should factor in regarding Apple MDM pricing. Will you have to purchase several add-on products when a single product with more capabilities like Jamf Pro would do? On the flip side, you can avoid paying too much if your MDM needs are simple with a product like Jamf Now: streamlined MDM management for small-to-medium businesses.

Industry specifics
Do you need an MDM that is ready-made to integrate with your school's LMS? That offers help with lesson planning and assists in communication between students, teachers and parents? Even if you are a large school district with plenty of IT staff, Jamf School might be better for you.

Healthcare organizations should ensure that whatever vendor they go with has specialty services that integrate seamlessly into Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, to vigilantly ensure the security of PHI and to allow for better communication between patients, staff and visitors.

Are you a small school or nonprofit with no designated IT department? Or a large business with a dedicated IT and InfoSec department? Ensure that your staff can meet the requirements for managing the MDM and additional security software. If teachers or office administrators without a ton of IT experience will be in charge of it, consider a more user-friendly if simpler product like Jamf School or Jamf Now.

The significance of multi-device management

While many factors influence Apple MDM pricing, a key component needs to be how many devices an MDM product is capable of managing, securing and protecting— and also how many types of devices.

Can your vendor handle increased volume, and make managing that increased volume easy for IT? What if your organization wants to add Apple TV, Apple Watch or even Apple Vision Pro to your fleet— and the MDM you chose doesn’t have that capability?

Case study: harmonious MDM and endpoint protection

See how Squirrel, an Auckland-based quirky brand and trusted mortgage company that has written over $8 billion in home loans and $100 million in peer-to-peer loans, handled its rapid growth with Jamf. They improved their onboarding with Jamf Pro and ensured an efficient, safe and secure fleet with Jamf Connect and Jamf Protect.

—> Learn more about Squirrel's digital transformation.

Where device management meets endpoint security

MDM solutions are not the same as endpoint security solutions. The former relates to managing devices, their configurations and apps. The latter focuses on reducing the attack surface of an endpoint by hardening it: protecting against threats like malware and phishing, for example. Two solutions provide different forms of functionality and support for IT and Security teams but both tie together very closely through mobile device management.

Why is MDM at the core of endpoint security?

MDM management provides insight into devices, their health, current configuration levels, installed software and— most importantly — can push new settings to devices to ensure they remain secured. Endpoint security intersects with MDM in that its functions provide MDM with actionable endpoint health data. By integrating the two solutions, MDM can be configured to trigger policies that take corrective action to mitigate risks, such as:

  • Identifying devices that require triage
  • Updating iPadOS or macOS
  • Patching out-of-date apps
  • Hardening vulnerable configurations
  • Maintain compliance with policies/regulations

Additionally, when centralizing around MDM, automation of remediation tasks may be enabled which permits IT and Security teams to provide faster, more robust support. Smart use of automation provides holistic security while keeping endpoints protected against ever-growing threats facing remote and hybrid work environments. Further, it allows employees to focus on productivity, empowering them to work from anywhere, at any time, without impacting the user's experience.

To learn about these components and best practices for MDM, check out our helpful guides below.

See firsthand how the right MDM can help you find more success with your Apple devices.

Learn about Jamf's MDM products and capabilities.