MDM helps govern mobile devices in bulk to ensure compliant and secure use of the company’s network, data, and devices.
Mobile device management (MDM) is the administration of mobile devices individually or in bulk, as needed, by enterprise IT managers to ensure compliant and secure use of the company’s network, data, and devices by an employee, a visitor, or an external stakeholder.
An Illustration of How MDM Operates and Its Core Elements
Source: Datalink Networks
Today, mobile devices are ubiquitous in business applications. Businesses and their employees depend on mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops for various tasks. As remote work is now a prerequisite, mobile devices have evolved into an essential part of workplace culture serving as indispensable tools for efficiency and productivity.
However, since workplace mobile devices have access to sensitive company information, they pose a security risk if they are compromised, stolen, or lost. Therefore, IT and security professionals are now entrusted with provisioning, maintaining, and securing mobile devices within their various corporate settings as the necessity of monitoring mobile devices has skyrocketed.
IT and security teams may control a company’s devices, regardless of their type or operating system, via mobile device management (MDM). MDM software ensures the security of all devices while maintaining the flexibility and productivity of the workforce.
IT managers may use MDM software to govern, protect, and enforce rules on cell phones, laptops, and other endpoints.
Mobile device management is part of enterprise mobility management (EMM), including identity and access management (IAM), mobile application management, and enterprise file synchronization. MDM aims to improve the functionality of mobile devices inside the organization while safeguarding the corporate network.
Today, mobility products include more than cell phones; they include laptops and tablets, Windows 10 or macOS computers, and even a few Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Using MDM to handle PCs is called unified endpoint management (UEM). UEM is commonly regarded as MDM’s successor and attempts to manage all business devices from a single console.
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An MDM strategy is a set of directions explaining how workers should utilize mobile technology at work and describes how the IT team will safeguard these devices from cyber threats.
This may seem easy, but it entails protecting all your workers (including full-time, part-time, and contract personnel) and all their devices. This comprises mobile devices that can store data and connect to a network, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and wearables such as smartwatches.
A mobile device management procedure and policy must handle each device, specify what workers may and may not do with them, and devise a security strategy to protect against the danger posed by each.
A policy of this kind clarifies for your employees what devices may be used, how they should be used, and what security measures must be maintained. It clearly defines what is allowed and what is not. In addition, it establishes requirements for cyber security measures. With a mobile device management (MDM) strategy, organizations may proactively protect against attacks rather than reacting when they happen.
A strong MDM policy must also account for all applicable rules and regulations that govern your organization. In the healthcare industry, for instance, there are severe privacy requirements regarding patient data that you must consider.
Bring your own device (BYOD) refers to the organizational culture of workers using their mobile devices rather than company-issued devices for work. Applying business security to a personal mobile phone is more challenging than merely delivering such devices, yet it is essential in the post-pandemic workplace.
Mobile device management, or MDM, is the most common approach to overseeing BYOD. It is seen as a viable solution for delivering apps to user-owned smartphones and securing business programs and information on them.
To support BYOD, MDM will deal with the following:
MDM also offers the ability to deliver applications to controlled devices and enables businesses to implement security restrictions more effectively. However, completely monitoring user-owned devices may result in drastic measures such as a total lockdown or erasure of the device if it is stolen or lost, which may include the user’s personal information.
Some organizations use mobile application management (MAM) to facilitate BYOD. It provides administration at the application level for user-owned devices. Consequently, MAM eliminates the problems connected with the comprehensive management of user-owned devices. With MAM, IT managers could easily shut the user out of their business email in the event of a security breach without the user having to worry about their personal data being unavailable.
Along with MAM, organizations using MDM for BYOD settings may employ various approaches to protect user privacy.
Some MDM solutions include app wrapping, which offers a secure container for mobile applications and allows IT to enforce stringent security controls. Android Enterprise, Google’s enterprise mobility initiative that connects with EMM and MDM systems, is available for Android devices. Android Enterprise supports distinct work and personal identities, allowing end users to retain their personal data outside IT controls and allowing IT administrators to safeguard corporate data and applications as necessary.
Organizations demand business mobility since workers conduct many of their jobs on mobile devices. Mobile device management supports remote work by using cloud-based storage. Among its other advantages are the following:
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A mobile device management strategy allows employees to obtain an individualized work device, like a laptop or smartphone, or remotely enroll a personal device — what we know as BYOD. For best data protection, personal devices get role-based access to company information and mail, a protected virtual private network (VPN), global positioning system (GPS) trackers, password-protected apps, and other MDM software.
On registered devices, MDM software may then monitor their behavior and business-critical data. And with more advanced MDM systems, they may be examined by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technologies safeguard devices against malware and other cyber threats. For instance, an organization may provide a staff member or consultant with a laptop or smartphone pre-loaded with a data profile, VPN, and other essential software and apps.
MDM offers the maximum authority to the employer in this case. With MDM technologies, businesses can monitor, supervise, debug, and even delete device data in the case of loss, damage, or breach detection.
The key features of MDM that support its working are:
MDM Key Features
The MDM solution must be interoperable with multiple operating systems and device types. The devices and operating systems that your business must manage will vary. Before developing an MDM strategy, it is, therefore, advantageous to fully understand the mobile devices presently deployed in the infrastructure. Most solutions can support iOS or Android operating systems; however, earlier OS versions may present issues for MDM software.
Access control is a crucial aspect of mobile device management. Since your workers will have access to corporate data via their portable devices, your organization must guarantee that only they have access. When a mobile device requests sensitive business data, you must implement authentication and identification mechanisms to check that the user is allowed to access the data.
MDM providers must offer proper device security measures since one of the primary roles of MDM solutions is to safeguard and protect a company’s mobile devices. Your company must be able to remotely secure mobile devices and the business data they hold through a centralized control solution. Data encryption, security setup, and access monitoring are some security mechanisms businesses should search for in an MDM product.
In the case of a serious breach of security or a misplaced or lost device, you lose control of the company data saved on the mobile device. IT teams must be able to erase this data from a device remotely when this occurs. Modern MDM systems can remove organizational data from any device with gents installed, regardless of location. Therefore, you can protect sensitive or vital business information from slipping into the hands of the wrong people.
MDM systems cannot depend on physical connections for device communication. They must be able to push information onto a device wirelessly. A device’s over-the-air (OTA) capabilities dictate what may be delivered to it through wireless connections. To deliver installation, registration, or management changes, the MDM solution must be capable of wirelessly connecting to the whole device ecosystem through OTA distribution.
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Mobile device management enables you to specify the location in which your employees and clients must be to utilize company-owned mobile devices. It also influences the duration of operations. It can also be customized to restrict the programs that may be used at any particular moment. A few will lock themselves when the user leaves the office.
Are users accessing or uploading potentially malicious data? Do they exhibit questionable (or uncertain) behavior? This is where the reporting tool is useful since it alerts the administrator if this is the case. In addition, they can determine whether the equipment is functional, compliant, up-to-date, and much more. An MDM solution will quickly tell you if a device has an issue. In addition, some will identify the issue before the machine begins to malfunction.
A common aspect of MDM systems is zero-touch enrollment (ZTE). This is an innovative enrollment solution that guarantees all devices used by your organization are automatically registered with the appropriate MDM policies upon activation. The benefits of this functionality include the ability to perform a large-scale device rollout throughout your business and the simplicity of a one-time setup.
Network segregation is enabled through mobile device management, which divides the enterprise network into subnets. In addition to enhanced efficiency, network segregation provides more secure communication, as each subnet is devoted to a certain set of requirements and tasks. Access to specific domains is restricted to individuals with “a need to know,” thereby securing data and processes against both external and internal intrusion.
Another component of mobile device management is application management, which provides employees with a business app library. A company’s app library is a virtual “app store” that makes conforming and secure programs accessible for download. They may be downloaded on a restricted basis, skipping the need for IT installation, and are continuously updated with fresh versions that improve functionality or security.
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According to Fortune Business Insights (report ID: FBI106381), the global MDM market was worth $3.97 billion in 2021. From this, it will grow to over $21 billion by 2029, indicating strong enterprise demand and vendor supply in the space. Some of the top mobile device management vendors and solutions to consider are:
Citrix Endpoint Management is an MDM platform with a comprehensive range of functionalities, including mobile productivity applications, enhanced user experience, and device security. With the use of its robust smartphone and other device control features, it enables companies to safeguard business information thoroughly.
Hexnode supports both primary mobile operating systems and provides the unique option of local or distant cloud administration. It also offers “zero-touch enrollment,” which allows devices to be automatically added to the MDM ecosystem via certificates. Moreover, administrators may load custom Android ROMs with Hexnode already installed and configured. This makes it compatible with virtually any Android version.
IBM provides software as a service (SaaS)-based solutions that assist businesses in managing and securing a vast array of endpoints, applications, content, and data. It consists of mobile threat protection and identity as a service (IDaaS) with multi-factor authentication (MFA). Its AI and analytics components identify issues and provide administrators with information on how to resolve them.
The mobile device management platform from Ivanti helps you safeguard entry and access while protecting data across your on-premises, hybrid, and remote workplaces. Ivanti’s security strategy verifies the device to guarantee that only authorized personnel, devices, applications, and services may access enterprise resources. It is interoperable with iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, Android devices, Windows desktops and laptops, and Oculus. Zero sign-on (ZSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and endpoints security risk detection and response are among its significant functionalities.
Kandji is an Apple-exclusive device security and management tool that automates several time-consuming tasks using Blueprint templates and automation. IT and security teams can more efficiently install, configure, manage, and protect Mac PCs and iOS, iPadOS, or tvOS devices. It blends the simplicity and convenience of one-click automation with robust features (like API and custom script assistance).
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Microsoft Intune is a centralized endpoint management solution that works on the cloud for both company- and personally-owned mobile devices. It extends parts of Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager’s “on-premises” functions to the Microsoft Azure cloud. It streamlines app and device administration across all your platforms and devices, encompassing mobile devices, desktop PCs, and virtual endpoints, and manages user access. You can secure data and access on organization-owned as well as user-owned devices.
It is an MDM system that can monitor workstations, laptops, cell phones, and tablets. The app supports multiple operating systems, such as Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, iOS, and Android. Through the fully-customizable dashboard, businesses can monitor the status of mobile smart devices with comprehensive visibility. If a device is experiencing issues, one may utilize remote diagnostics to assume charge of it and determine the source of the problem in real time.
Rippling MDM is the ideal mobile device management solution for organizations that want to manage Apple and Windows devices specifically. This solution provides a balanced blend of customizable tasks and pre-built frameworks, allowing administrators to utilize the tool depending on their degree of customization reference. Although Rippling MDM is available as a standalone workforce-managed service, it is often acquired as part of the Rippling Unity platform.
Scalefusion is a user-friendly, powerful, straightforward MDM software used for team visibility and management. It allows you to manage, monitor, and protect any business-related devices, whether employees or the organization owns them. It also supports Apple Business and School Manager and provides whitelisting and blacklisting, customizable payloads, multiple and single App Kiosk mode, App Store administration, and more.
SOTI’s remote device control features are among the most advanced in the market. From the administration interface, IT infrastructure managers may inspect and manage users’ devices and perform complete, bidirectional file transfers. Even macros that automate admin operations on phones are executable. SOTI also supports Windows 10 Mobile, making it an excellent option for BYOD environments with a mixed fleet of devices.
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Mobile devices are now central to user productivity, particularly with so many employees relying on smartphones and tablets to navigate hybrid work. This makes mobile device management mission-critical for companies and not just a nice-to-have. The best MDM software will help you navigate the end-to-end mobile device lifecycle, from procurement to onboarding and provisioning, troubleshooting, and, finally, retirement.
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