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

What is a Mobile Device Management (MDM)?

Definition:

A Mobile Device Management or MDM is a security software or tool designed to help organizations secure, manage, and monitor mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Mobile Device Management 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?

Why Enterprises Need A Mobile Device Management 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 to operate 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 solution- mobile device management. Essentially driving the mobility for your enterprise, mobile device management streamlines the entire mobility activity in your enterprise, securing endpoints while ensuring productivity and consistent user experience. 

Importance of Mobile Device Management 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, monitoring & tracking entire device inventory from a single console and upkeeping the device performance & carrying out periodic checks for security.

An MDM software basically helps businesses to:

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

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

How Does An MDM Software Work?

Mobile device management 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 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.

Mobile device management streamlines the IT teams’ control over the remote 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 mobile device management 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. 

  • Over the air policy configuration:

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

  • 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 devices.

  • Application Management

An MDM solution should explicitly help in-app management- IT should be able to publish or block apps, update apps remotely and also push enterprise apps privately on managed devices.

  • Content Management 

Controlling browsing, allowing or disallowing websites and publishing content and resources on managed devices is crucial for equipping the devices for work while maintaining data costs on 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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 mobile device management 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. 

How does Mobile Device Management Fit into the Existing IT Strategy?

For organizations where employees work on mobile devices- such as laptops, tablets and smartphones and access work emails/documents on personal devices, within or outside the traditional office perimeters, the IT strategy is incomplete without including mobile device management. 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 have already deployed devices on the field can still provision the devices without having to manually configure them and the new devices can be configured before they are shipped to the end-user.

Adopting mobility can create a positive impact on your business, but driving this mobility with an appropriate MDM solution can accentuate your business benefits more than you can envisage! Check how Mobile devices management software can leverage the use of devices for easy adoption of mobility.

Is Mobile Device Management 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. But as employees carry personal devices to their workplace or access work emails on personal devices, it becomes urgent for the enterprises to ensure the same security measures that are applied to company-owned devices to be applied on the 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 should intelligently separate business and personal content, applying policies extensively to the business apps and content without tracking the personal apps and data on the BYO devices.

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