The Mobile Enterprise Compliance and Security (MECS) Server from Mobile Active Defense (MAD) is making another appearance this year. For those who have not yet seen this product, here is an introduction. The MECS Server provides full-on, tamper-proof firewall and compliance policy that is pushed down to mobile devices connected either via mobile network or Wi-Fi. Once a device is connected to the MECS Server, admins can push security policy, as well as other settings, to many types of devices, including Android, iDevices and Windows Mobile devices starting with Windows 8.
This tool is offered as an onsite server or a cloud-based hosted server. Aside from initial installation, these two deployments are managed basically in the same way. After the installation of the server is complete, all management is done via a web-based console. Not much has changed with the console from last year - it's still well organized with an intuitive layout. We also found no change to the rule-based policy, which is similar to managing a firewall. The rules can be created based on device types and are applied in a "top-down" structure.
As for functionality, this tool offers a multitude of security features and functions. All mobile device traffic can be sent through the MECS Server, which allows for security functions, such as a stateful inspection firewall, PKI/certificate authentication, content filter, intrusion prevention and anti-virus, as well as containerization through application wrappers.
Documentation included administrator and deployment guides in PDF format. The deployment guide provides a great amount of detail on getting the MECS Server up and running with an initial configuration, while the administrator guide focuses on management of the product and configuring policies and rules. Both guides offered - in a nicely organized format - clear details and configuration examples, along with screen shots and step-by-step instructions.
Mobile Active Defense offers no-cost support to customers during product evaluations and trial periods. After the initial purchase, customers must also buy into a support plan to continue receiving technical and product assistance. The cost is determined by onsite or cloud-based servers and can vary from 22 percent of the product price to 35 percent, respectively. That expense includes full 24/7/365 phone and email-based technical aid. While MAD does offer solid phone and email support, there is no online support for customers. We would like to see, at least, an online knowledge base where users can find information on basic troubleshooting and management of the MECS Server.
At a price starting at around $25 per device, we find this product to be an excellent value for the money. The Mobile Enterprise Compliance and Security Server offers a lot of functionality and control over mobile devices - inside and outside of the enterprise - that cannot be tampered with or subverted by the end-user, which ensures compliance for even the strictest of environments, including government applications.