What is Mobile Device Management (MDM) and How are Enterprises adopting it?

  • August 30, 2019

What is Mobile Device Management (MDM)?


A Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a security software or tool designed to help organizations secure, manage, and monitor mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. MDM Solution is an essential part of enterprise mobility management as many organizations need to secure the employee-owned as well as company-owned devices used by their employees.

What is Mobile Device Management
What is Mobile Device Management (MDM)?

Why Enterprises Need an MDM Solution?

Enterprises today are digitized- from knowledge workers to task workforce, everyone makes serious use of one or more mobile devices for work. Operationally, organizations are web-driven and mobile devices enhance the use of the applications for productivity, management as well as customer satisfaction.

For example, it is impossible to envision a delivery or logistics company operating without digital devices loaded with business-specific apps. Irrespective of the industry, mobile devices have found their place in businesses and there’s no looking back.  

But what’s more alarming is the vulnerability opened up by the usage of mobile devices at work. Organizations have to consider the following points:

  • Is the organization IT equipped to troubleshoot issues on mobile devices?
  • Is the organization’s policy for mobile usage comprehensive?
  • Are the mobile devices used for work loaded with business resources?
  • Is the IT paying enough attention to secure the mobile devices and the corporate data lying on it?

To concise all the above-mentioned concerns that arise with mobility there’s a dependable MDM solution. Essentially driving the mobility for your enterprise, MDM streamlines the entire mobility activity in your enterprise, securing endpoints while ensuring productivity and consistent user experience. 

Importance of Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Businesses?

Mobile Device Management is implemented for, but not restricted to smartphones, tablets, and laptops. It is also widely used to manage and secure rugged devices, special-purpose devices, and mPOS (Mobile Point of Sale) systems. An MDM is important for securing business data on mobile devices used for work, enforcing security settings and usage policies, enriching the devices with relevant apps & content. It’s also used for monitoring & tracking entire device inventory from a single console and up keeping the device performance & carrying out periodic checks for security.

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An MDM software basically helps businesses to:

  • Secure business data on mobile devices used for work
  • Enforce security settings and usage policies
  • Enrich the mobile devices with relevant apps & content
  • Monitoring & tracking entire device inventory from a single console 
  • Up keeping the device performance & carrying out periodic checks

An ideal MDM software should be able to perform the above-listed actions over the air, mitigating the manual efforts of IT admins. A comprehensive MDM solution supports a wide range of mobile devices belonging to diverse operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS. As businesses evolve, MDM software scales evolve and contribute to business growth by accommodating dynamic business needs and use-cases.

How Does An MDM Software Work?

MDM Software is dependent on the two most critical elements- one is the MDM server (most commonly cloud-based) and an MDM agent on the device. The IT admins configure the MDM agent on the device via the MDM server. This includes policy configuration, apps, and content push as well as security controls. An ideal MDM offers different management modes where either the MDM agent sits on the device as an app within which the work container/profile. It is accessible to the end-user or the MDM agent replaces the device’s default launcher and the end-user can access only the elements within the MDM.

MDM software streamlines the IT teams’ control over the remote mobile device fleet while leveraging the device’s hardware and software capabilities for business.

Benefits of Mobile Device Management for Businesses

Mobile device management acts as remote hands for provisioning, controlling, and securing a fleet of mobile devices deployed for business use.

The key benefits of MDM software include:

  • Streamlined device performance deployed across diverse geographic locations
  • Improved employee productivity and fewer distractions while using mobile devices for work
  • Security of corporate device and data with stringent policies and access control
  • Customer engagement via remote customization of customer-facing devices
  • Improved IT productivity by remote provisioning, troubleshooting, and automation of recurring tasks
  • Protection and recovery of corporate data on lost/stolen devices with remote wipe-off

Important Features of an MDM Software?

The critical features of MDM include over-the-air device provisioning, security policy configuration, app and content management, remote inventory tracking, and remote troubleshooting. 

1. Over the air policy configuration

IT teams should be able to configure security policies and business apps on mobile devices in bulk, without having to physically handle them. This is especially critical for an enterprise having a workforce located at several geographic locations.

2. Comprehensive policy & restriction configuration

An MDM software should give total control of the device to the IT. The IT teams should be able to lock down devices like kiosks, digital signage by configuring minuscule features of the device- from branding to hardware. IT administrators should be able to configure settings such as network, sharing, and media on managed mobile devices.

3. Application Management

An MDM solution should explicitly help in-app management – IT should be able to publish or block apps, update apps remotely. Also, allow pushing enterprise apps privately on managed mobile devices.

4. Content Management 

Controlling browsing, allowing or disallowing websites, and publishing content and resources on managed mobile devices is crucial for equipping the devices for work while maintaining data costs on mobile devices. An MDM solution should be able to drive content management for the enterprise, irrespective of deployment type. When the devices are deployed like kiosks or digital signage, IT admins should be able to configure versatile content on the device, remotely.

5. Security

Not enough can be stressed on how your MDM software should be robust enough to secure mobile devices from unauthorized access and misuse. An ideal MDM solution should allow crucial configurations like remote locking, remote wipe-off, selective remote wipe-off (in case of BYOD deployment), factory reset protection, and jailbreak detection. 

6. Troubleshooting & Inventory Management

Mobility increases employee productivity, but it should not burden the company IT with added labor of monitoring and managing the mobile devices deployed for work. A strong MDM software should provision device issue detection and troubleshooting by providing a 360-degree overview of the entire device inventory. This will also help the IT to carry out data-driven compliance checks as well as automate regular tasks, reducing manual effort and increasing IT productivity. 

Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions Industry use-cases

Usage of Mobile device management solutions in the office environment is highly implemented and accepted for its diversified use cases. Not only this but mobile devices are also used in other verticals too such as point-of-sale (POS) terminals and digital signage. Domains such as retails, logistics, and telemedicine find MDM solutions as one of the most invaluable tools for their mission-critical needs.

Let’s explore the benefits derived by different domains with the MDM tool:

1. Healthcare

With the introduction of Healthcare 4.0, there is a surge in remote patient monitoring and recording of electronic health records (EHRs). It has fueled the need for secured MDM solutions in the vertical of the Healthcare and telemedicine domain. Security and regulatory compliance like HIPAA have to be mandatorily followed by the industry players. Patients’ highly sensitive data must be secured according to industry standards without compromise, and that’s a challenge. With the help of a Mobile device management healthcare solution, the devices can be configured as per industry rules and regulations. This way, compliance standards can be met without being distracted, and sensitive data can be protected from unauthorized access.

2. Transportation & Logistics

Transportation & Logistics industry has been highly benefitted from the embracement of MDM solutions along with mobility solutions. Embracing mobile devices made workflows within this vertical more efficient. This includes the deployment of native applications, bar code scanning, location tracking, push notifications, and mobile device management. MDM solution further eases the process for the organizations with device enrollment to be deployed over the air within minutes. The organizations as per their mission-critical needs can restrict the keyguard functionalities or lock down the devices into single app mode or multiple app mode. Also, with Scalefusion MDM for Logistics, advanced restrictions for fleet drivers can be configured too when they cross a speed limit restricted.

3. Education

Educational institutions across the globe have adopted digital transition gradually to remodel the teaching and learning methods. While tablets and mobile phones are being adopted, it becomes prime to manage those mobile devices for distraction-free learning. Deployment of mission-critical apps and contents are to be pushed so that there is no boulder or contingency. IT admins of educational institutions can easily set up granular restrictions, as well as blacklist harmful applications and inappropriate websites, using School Mobile Device Management.

4. Retail

The usage of mobile devices to serve the features of digital signage, mPOS, and check-out & billing has paved its way into the retail industry. Some verticals within the retail industry utilize mobile devices to accomplish a particular mission. While other vertices within the same industry might use them for other purposes such as deploying mobile phones to on-field employees with layered security. The mobile devices can be locked down into a single app or kiosk mode as per the mission of the respective industry with an MDM solution. The verticals can also add customized wallpapers of their respective company to enhance the branding experience to their target audience.

5. Service sector

Organizations across the globe are embracing remote working and virtual working in the vertical of the service domain. Organizations are encouraging the usage of mobile phones to work from anywhere and anytime. With the transitioning of the mobile-first workforce, the rise in the usage of employee-owned mobile devices has seen a surge. MDM software can allow the workforces to manage and secure the BYOD devices. So that enterprise assets are protected and personal assets are accessed according to organizational security policies.

How does MDM Solution Fit into the Existing IT Strategy?

Many organizations allow employees to access work emails/documents from their personal mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It is essential that IT strategies incorporate MDM, regardless of whether mobile devices are used within or outside traditional office perimeters. The MDM implementation strategy should be baked within the mobility strategy as a protocol, to make the mobility exercise a success.

The good news is that with Scalefusion MDM, creating an MDM-inclusive IT strategy for on-field as well as new devices is significantly simpler. Organizations that already have deployed devices on the field can still provision the devices without having to manually configure them. The new mobile devices can be configured before they are shipped to the end-user.

The adoption of mobility can create a positive impact on your business. However, addressing this mobility with an appropriate MDM solution could enhance your business’s benefits far beyond your expectations! Check how Mobile devices management software can leverage the use of devices for easy adoption of mobility.

Is MDM limited to Company-owned Devices?

In the past decade, there has been a considerable upsurge in the usage of mobile devices for personal work. People want to be connected, informed, and accessible at all times, even at work. However, as employees bring their personal mobile devices to the office and access work email from them. It becomes imperative for enterprises to ensure the same security measures applied to company-owned devices are also used for employee-owned BYO devices. The major challenge here is not how to do it, but is how to do it without impacting the employee’s privacy and user experience.

An ideal mobile device management software would intelligently separate business and personal content. Implementing extensive policies for the business apps and content without tracking the personal apps and data on the BYO devices.

Thousands of businesses rely upon Scalefusion for managing their mobile device, desktops, laptops and other endpoints

Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.
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