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What is Mobile Device Management? (MDM)

Written By Harry Bodd
Author Harry Bodd

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The business landscape has shifted dramatically because of the use of mobile devices. Employees are using their mobile devices in the workplaces that have secure networks, which brings about work flexibility in accomplishing some tasks with low costs of equipment.

The trend of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has brought about a new aspect of connectivity, privacy, security, and information management because of the number and types of mobile devices running on different operating systems, being introduced at the workspace from time to time.

What is Mobile Device Management?

The risk that BYOD has brought about has led to the rise of the MDM, Mobile Device Management . MDM which is also known as master data management mdm is being used to manage, monitor, and secure the smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices used in the workspace.

As BYOD increases over the years, data breaches and security issues continue to cost businesses a lot of money. That is why the MDM software is becoming a primary component in the modern workspace.

The evolution of mobile device management

MDM is continuously evolving as more smartphones and laptops are used in the workplaces. This has led to an increased need for solutions that can allow employees gain access to information from anywhere, at any given time. Earlier on, solutions were focused primarily on the devices, and not on the content management. But today, there is a growing demand for the broader EMM solutions to serve the mobile landscape much better,

Some of the current EMM suites comprise of the privacy policy and configuration-management tools that are integrated with the mobile application management to overlay for content and application that is intended for specifically, smartphones. Service providers and IT organizations use EMM suites to provide their support services to end users of mobile devices to maintain security policies.

The following functions are provided by the modern EMM :

  • Application inventory
  • Hardware inventory
  • OS configuration management
  • Mobile app deployment, updating, and removal
  • Policy management and Mobile app configuration
  • Mobile content management
  • Execute remote actions
  • Remote view and control for troubleshooting

The advantages and disadvantages of BYOD policy

There are various benefits of BYOD, including increased employee satisfaction and efficiency, reduced costs of equipment, reduced office space, and a decrease in the burden that the IT staff get when it comes to maintaining their equipment.

On the other hand, there are other risks as well. Security vulnerabilities can be exposed to the wrong hands by an employee’s device that is not directly supervised by the IT staff. This is where the mobile device management becomes essential.

Smartphones tablets and other devices are the least secure compared to laptops and desktop PC’s because they don’t have pre-installed malware security features. Most computers have at least an anti-virus suite, but when it comes to mobile gadgets, users and IT managers will have to install a mobile endpoint security features. That is why sending a corporate email through the mobile phone is sometime prohibited in some companies.

Hackers have taken advantage of these venerability points to unleash threats like text message-based attacks. Hackers have become more advanced in releasing more complex key-loggers, Trojans, creating phishing software and other malicious apps.

Even though enforcing a ban on these devices is next to impossible, there are options that businesses can use to maintain security on a tight budget.

A business can establish protocols on the devices that are allowed on the workplace, by listing guidelines for forbidden applications, acceptable use, and how to avoid browsing some dangerous sites while connected to the company’s WiFi network.

The business can also analyze the currents to see how they can be used to protect BYOD devices by using passwords, remote wipe-in and other measures.
If there is a lot of sensitive data that needs a much more solid solution, then explore areas that the use of MDM makes sense.

Why business should use MDM?

The adoption of tablets and smartphones and the number of employees who are working from remote locations has placed mobility on the top priority list of businesses. In 2015, a study by Gartner indicated that PC sales were on the decline and approximately 87% of the devices being shipped were mobile gadgets. This resulted in a prediction by the research that by 2018, the EMM (Enterprise Mobile Management) will grow to $9.8 billion, from $3.8 billion in 2015.

EMM has been trending, and the trajectory will increase in the future. If a business does not have an MDM solution, information can be stolen easily, or information on devices that are lost can be used negatively if it falls into the wrong hands.

Additionally, devices that don’t have an MDM solution are exposed to malware and other threats that could potentially corrupt sensitive data. Once the data is compromised, hackers can easily break into the data center network and permanently bring down the company; this can be an expensive process that could cost the business partners dearly and also corrupt the loyalty of customers.

What to look for in an MDM solutions

Once the company has decided to get an MDM solutions, there are certain features that should be on the lookout for, because there are many options in the market. Some of the essential features include:

  • Cloud service based
  • 24/7 monitoring capability
  • Remote monitoring and configuration
  • Blacklists, passwords, and other security policies
  • Geo-fencing to block access to specific applications and data based on location
  • Logging and reporting for compliance
  • Backup and restore for corporate data
  • Alerts for rooting and jailbreaking to bypass restrictions
  • Remote disconnection of unauthorized devices
  • Scalability for new users to be accommodated easily

The solutions that MDM brings are only as useful as their execution; they can only work well if they are implemented well. Due diligence and care have to be taken to evaluate the MDM solutions to understand if it is working well with the specific policies of the company and if data integration is being maintained.

For instance, what happens to the BYOD device when an employee is terminated? Is there a complete block of the corporate systems? What happens to the saved data on an ex-employee’s device? Is the data wiped or is it ignored? How is personal data separated from business data? Before selecting an MDM, policies have to be set in place to decide on what is needed and to continuously review and ensure that the best practices are maintained.

Conclusion

Mobile devices at the workplace are here to stay, and businesses have to develop a plan to manage them before havoc starts to reign on the company’s data. MDM solutions can help to protect, control and secure the data and configuration settings for mobile devices in a company’s network, for both company and personal devices. Finally, a good research and testing need to be done on an MDM solution before it is purchased.

To help you in achieving this end, at ExterNetworks, we take pride in offering managed services, network design & consulting and integration & deployment of MDM services. We have offered Managed Technology services since 2001 and we have grown over the years to provide our customers with 24/7 support on the deployment of end to end MDM service. Contact us through our website or call us at +1-877-825+1575 and we will help you select the MDM-solution for your company.

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Author Harry Bodd
About The Author Harry Bodd

Harry is the Director of Technology Services at ExterNetworks responsible for all production technology and customer solutions technology development. Harry has over 18 years of information, communication and technology experience. Harry is a technology visionary with keen interest in building secure and scalable platforms.

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