Mobile Device Management – An Overview6 min read

Smartphones and tablets have become the tools of choice for today’s workers – adding a whole new world of concern for corporate IT. How do we protect corporate data? What devices are accessing email and network resources? What does a Bring Your Own Device program truly mean for security and corporate liability?

Many more organisations are investing the time to weigh the benefits of allowing employees to work remotely with the important issues that must be addressed when developing a Mobile Device Management (MDM) strategy. There are many benefits of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) which allows employees to use their own device for the workplace.  BYOD also helps companies save on equipment costs, reduce IT staff responsibilities and office space, while increasing employee efficiency and satisfaction.

However, the main challenge businesses face when it comes to BYOD, is security concerns due to employees using devices that are not directly supervised by IT professionals. This is why many companies turn to MDM services to manage the complexities of device and data security at an affordable cost.


WHAT IS MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT?

Mobile device management is commonly referred to as MDM and involves the process of organising a plan for deploying, configuring, securing, integrating, and managing mobile devices to be used in the workplace.  The mobile devices include those such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops that workers use to remain productive without having to be physically present in the workplace.

The main objective of mobile device management is to organise a strategy for securing and optimising the functionality of mobile devices across your organisation while maintaining security within your business network.  The use of MDM tools and software allow organisations to effectively distribute data and applications, as well as easily configure and secure all devices that connect to your network.

MDM software is offered by a mobile device management service provider and provides a way for IT administrators to effectively manage and monitor the use of mobile devices. Tools included in the software are data security applications, remote management and support tools, file synchronisation and sharing, application management and much more.  The software supports both individually owned devices as well as any mobile devices that are provided by your organisation.


WHY WOULD YOU IMPLEMENT MDM?

Mobile device management is a primary tool which is necessary for converting a mobile device into an essential resource for improved efficiency and productivity.  Regardless if your business applications are on the premises, designed for use in the field, integrated with mobile devices, or fixed on a network, they still require computing resources that are secure.

Similar to devices that are owned by your company, devices that are used by a third party or remote worker must be managed, monitored, and secured to protect data integrity.  MDM provides a way to manage specific aspects of devices that are both mobile and fixed to ensure an IT environment that is both reliable and secure and supports the user experience.

Because the main point of creating more worker mobility is to increase productivity and employee satisfaction, the optimised functioning of mobile devices is essential.  In the past, the problem has been managing the complexities of MDM. However, this is no longer a concern and is now essential for accommodating the modern workplace.


WHAT ARE THE KEY MDM SERVICES?

With many businesses prioritising Return on Investment (ROI) and employee productivity, the era of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is not going away anytime too soon.  That said, here are some of the key services you will find offered by most MDM service providers.

First, it is important to understand that mobile devices are always connected and most commonly use a wireless connection.  This means that they require different configurations, as well as a different approach to security than the typical desktop computer that connects to a Local Area Network (LAN) on the premises.  This process is initiated from the initial phase of activation and follows through to support for the end user.

Enrolment and Activation – Enrolment in the MDM system allows the service provider to easily make modifications, ensure the device remains within compliance standards, and monitor device usage using a centralised console. Activation can be initiated with a simple step such as an SMS message or email to the targeted device.  The message contains a URL address and typically provides an activation code and login. The profile is then added to the device to complete the activation process.

 Authentication – Authentication using an Active Directory allows the MDM provider to issue digital certificates to implement a directory-based user authentication process.  The second level requires the device user to read and comply with the license agreement your company has established for mobile device usage

Device Management – Mobile devices can be easily managed by an MDM provider.  The centralised console allows the administrator to easily update device profiles for an entire group or across your organisation.  Additionally, if an employee loses a device or leaves the company, the administrator can easily lock the device, wipe the data, or request specific information from the device.

Security – When it comes to solid mobile device security, the complexities associated with managing passwords and authentication must be closely monitored.  An MDM service reduces the complexity by adjusting the length of passwords, as well as modifying the rules for password access as necessary. Each device is also equipped with encryption on the device storage card.  This process ensures all data that is stored on the device is secure and remains secure during the transmission process.

Remote Management Access – All devices can be configured and managed remotely. MDM administrators can also configure device settings, troubleshoot, and set user credentials from a remote admin console to allow the end user to access specific resources on a network. Administrators can also create as many accounts as needed to provide access to calendars, email, contacts, and specific wireless and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Monitoring – When you use a MDM service all software usage, licenses, privacy settings, security, and enterprise data can be monitored using the report generation tool.  The tool can be customised to allow administrators to review specific data.  Additionally, the monitoring tools can help administrators to stay up to date on app usage, as well as apps that have been white or blacklisted.

Support – Mobile Device Management systems provide remote support for devices that are enrolled in the system.  This is an important feature that prevents your staff from having to ship the device to a specific location when something is not working properly and aids in ongoing productivity.


CONCLUSION

As you can see mobile device management has come a long way.  If anything, the concept of MDM is worth the investment of your time to consider if you want to increase productivity and employee satisfaction within your organisation while improving your Return on Investment.

If you would like to meet with us, please contact our sales team on 0207 123 4910