What is Mobile Device Management?

What is MDM?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a term you hear from time to time. But exactly what does it mean? MDM describes a higher-level system that can be used for the management and operation of mobile devices such as PCs, tablet PCs, cell phones, POS systems, and other devices. It's a software application that helps device fleet operators to manage and enforce rules or policies on different types of devices. The fundamental function of MDM software is to optimize all mobile device functionalities & security mechanisms. Functional components of enterprise mobility management include mobile device management, corporate file sync and sharing, identity and access management.

With the occurrence of the COVID 19 pandemic & the increasing number of enterprises shifting to cloud-based systems. There has been a remarkable growth in the usage of mobile devices which are increasingly displacing traditional PCs and are used for a variety of use cases.

Why is mobile device management (MDM) important?

MDM has become an inevitable part of the business world as companies have moved to remote workspaces. Organizations today often rely entirely on mobile devices as a means of communication for completing critical to everyday business tasks.

MDM solutions are designed to address the complications and security risks posed by mobile devices to enterprise-level businesses and provide comprehensive management solutions. MDM software gives developers of mobile operating systems and manufacturers of mobile devices access to devices through their APIs.

This has led to MDM becoming a commodity, with individual vendors selling MDM tools with closely related core functionality. Such tools are differentiated by integrating MDM servers with other enterprise software.

According to a study by Kensington:

  • Every 53 seconds laptop theft occurs
  • 70 million smartphones are stolen yearly
  • 80% of the cost of a lost laptop is due to data breaches
  • 52% of devices are stolen from enterprises

The amount of data loss is massive compared to the amount of lost or stolen devices. These facts make incorporating MDM solutions into managing, monitoring, and securing mobile devices the best and only solution.

Over time, the need for MDM in enterprise development has emerged for the following reasons:

  • Improved data security: A well-managed enterprise mobile device management solution is the best solution to the huge security risk posed by the non-existence of MDM. With this in place, enterprises can deploy security systems to their gadget network while authentication and protocols can be put in place in case of suspected security threats. MDM can be set up to offer remote data wiping of lost or missing devices, provide user authentication, control remote access to highly sensitive data and ensure devices software patches are updated as and when due.
  • Reduced operating costs: Many enterprises have found out that a well-planned and implemented MDM saves them a whole lot of money in the long run. Reasons for this are that MDM-services bring-your-own-device (BYOD) can be more cost-effective than acquiring new sets of devices and software for workers. This invariably helps enterprises/businesses have more money to increase production and cut costs on maintenance of devices/gadgets.
  • Enhanced collaborative workflows and flexibility: It enables workers to perform their duties from remote locations while reporting to their line managers and achieving set targets and goals as a team without making physical contact with one another. Managers can easily monitor and assess workers through how much of their deliverables have been met. Overall, MDM services make the internal operations of enterprises/businesses run smoother/efficiently.
  • Decreased internal IT needs: MDM solutions help control device updates, improve security and ensure application control. This eases off the need to actively fight potential data loss or suspected data breaches.

How mobile device management (MDM) works

Several organizations are wrestling with two key questions: 1. how can IT departments ensure the security of an organization's intellectual property and 2. how can enterprises balance security and resources across multiple mobile platforms. These organizations are now turning to mobile device management software. The market provides them with comprehensive MDM solutions that can be implemented affordably.

The MDM server (placed in a data center) and the MDM agent are two fundamental components of MDM (located on the mobile device). When an IT administrator decides to configure and release policies to any company's network mobile device, they must do so using the MDM server's administration console. The server then sends the modification to the MDM agent, who in turn sends the command to the mobile device using the device's own built-in APIs. MDM administrators can deploy and control any apps on managed enterprise devices utilizing this MDM server agent connection. 

Mobile Device Management

Mobile device management has evolved over the years. Initially, scalability was a concern; however, this has since been resolved. Central remote administration, on the other hand, has eliminated outmoded stages such as SIM cards and client-initiated upgrades. Now the finest MDM software has the ability to instantly identify new devices as they join the corporate network and apply policies to all devices from a single central admin interface.

There are a variety of mobile device management solutions on the market that allow businesses to monitor and control devices. The actions and business-critical data on the registered devices can be monitored by the MDM software. They can also be studied by machine learning and AI with more advanced MDM systems. These programs protect devices against malware and other cyber threats.

Components of MDM tools

Application security

One method of application security is app wrapping, in which a developer provides security or management elements for an application. The application is then re-deployed as a containerized program. These security features can decide whether a user must authenticate before opening an app, whether data from the app can be copied, pasted, or saved on the device, and if a file can be shared.

Endpoint security

Endpoint security examples include non-traditional mobile devices, wearables and IoT sensors. They can take several forms, including network access control, software (antivirus), response (incident response), URL filtering, and cloud security. It is also a mechanism that prevents malicious campaigns and actors from gaining access to endpoints on end-user devices. Endpoint security solutions, either on a network or in the cloud, protect against cyber threats.

Device tracking

GPS tracking and other functions can be enabled on each device enrolled with or issued by a company. The tools enable device fleet managers at a company to monitor, update, and debug a device in real-time. They may also identify and report devices that seem to be high-risk or non-compliant, as well as remotely lock or erase a device whether it is lost or stolen.

Mobile management

Fleet operators in IT departments buy, install, manage, and maintain mobile devices for their employees, as well as troubleshoot device/gadget issues. They make sure that each device has the operating systems and software that business customers require, such as productivity, privacy, and information security, as well as automated backup solutions.

IAM - Identity and access management

Strong identification and access control are essential for secure mobile management. IAM enables a company to manage the identities of users who work with a device using capabilities like single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication, and role-based access. Device fleet managers may control each user's access inside an organization.

Mobile-device management solution/software

MDM software is also known as mobile-device management software or mobile device management tool. A management solution such as MDM allows administrators to monitor, manage, and safeguard corporate or individually owned devices that are based on numerous operating systems. It is closely related to the terms MDM server and MDM client, which are essential components of software applications for mobile device management.

Mobile devices are designed to be portable allowing you to work from anywhere while the mobility of mobile devices has numerous advantages, it also has its own set of issues including unwanted data access and data leakage. You'll need a suitable mobile-device management system or MDM software set up to simplify the problem of managing those devices if you wish to exploit mobility to boost productivity without compromising on security. 

For system administrators trying to manage mobile devices, the correct mobile device management MDM tool/solution may make all the difference. An MDM system hosted on an MDM server provides a centralized platform for managing various device types in an organization/enterprise. They enable you to control or delete apps installed on mobile devices, monitor the devices via the MDM server, adjust basic device settings, and set up devices for specialized use cases such as point-of-sale (POS) systems. These solutions also come with a variety of MDM deployment choices to match the needs of every enterprise.

What are the benefits of mobile device management solutions?

Mobile device management can provide device-level rules, supplied by a reputable device manufacturer or a recognized platform provider, that safeguard enterprise data. These critical rules are used by fleet operators to protect, disconnect, regulate, and control devices within the business network. MDM, for example, allows fleet managers to encrypt all devices and destroy or secure their data if they are stolen/lost.

Mobile device management might also make it easier for fleet managers to handle mobile apps by allowing for quicker installation/configuration, and updates on company devices and staff cellphones. Regardless of an enterprises size, there are benefits that can be derived from MDM-solutions including: 

  • Reduction of support costs 
  • Increase in productivity/efficiency of employees 
  • Secured data

Mobile Device Management Features

The ability to remotely control users and the devices enterprises use is quite beneficial, as it aids in the health and security of all mobile devices linked to the network. When you employ mobile device management services, you can manage and monitor compliance activities from a single centralized console. For certain firms, meeting regulatory compliance standards is a must, therefore having software with reporting features that helps to avoid illegal access to mobile devices and protect network integrity is essential.

MDM and BYOD

Employees who use their own mobile devices for the company's work instead of devices issued by the enterprise are usually known to be called "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD). It's a lot more difficult to apply business security procedures or software to a personal mobile device. However, bringing your own device to work is becoming increasingly common, particularly among younger employees and especially during the pandemic. This sacrifice is made by businesses in order to boost employee efficiency, happiness and work productivity. It can also help to cut down the cost of a mobile workforce by removing the requirement for additional gear.

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD)

This IT policy allows employees to access corporate data and apps from their personal devices at work. User happiness, greater productivity and possible cost savings on equipment purchase and maintenance are the key drivers of this movement in organizations.

Use cases for MDM solutions

The use of MDM solutions in various industries across the globe can not be over-emphasized, these industries make good use of MDM solutions in order to maximize the productivity and efficiency of their employees.

Some of these industries are retail, medical/healthcare, manufacturing and service industry, engineering and construction industry, transportation industry, and education.

Retail

Managing retail devices remotely is required both from a legal and an efficiency perspective. Growing data protection regulations mean that all retail devices must be properly secured and that certain data is encrypted. Likewise, apps running on these devices need to be kept up to date. Retail MDM is an essential tool for any retail operation.

Healthcare

With the emergence of Covid 19 pandemic, the majority of healthcare businesses transitioning to the use of electronic-health-records (EHRs), mobile device use in the industry is more common than ever. However, guaranteeing the security of PHI held on mobile devices while still adhering to strict regulatory standards such as H-I-P-A-A can be difficult. An MDM solution can assist you in meeting regulatory requirements while also keeping PHI safe from unwanted access.

Manufacturing and service industry

Organizations in the manufacturing industry are currently deploying and using BYOD policy in their day-to-day activity as they are adhering to Covid rules and regulations. They have also been able to cut down costs incurred in the maintenance of equipment and manpower. MDM solutions assure data security and help prevent cyber breaches or attacks.

Engineering and construction industry

With the aid of MDM solutions, purchase of materials and equipment, logistics and reaching the target audience has become a lot cheaper to acquire. Also, with the BYOD policy employees can be taken through training from the comfort of their homes.

Transportation and logistics industry

This sector benefits substantially from the enormous advantages of MDM solutions. They can now monitor shipments and vehicles as well as keep records of their travel history. They can also restrict corporate devices to specific apps and/or settings to prevent device misuse and maximize productivity.

Education sector

In 2020, the education sector depended solely on IT solutions to connect teachers and students. Here, too, centralized solutions are already in use. In the future, this sector will expand. In the last two years alone, the number of virtual meetings, classes, lectures, conferences, etc. has increased massively.

In addition to the industries presented here, many others benefit from powerful MDM solutions, for example in use cases for kiosk and point-of-sale (POS) systems, digital signage applications, vehicle infotainment systems, vending and ticketing solutions.

Summary

In summary, the use of MDM solutions is already firmly established in many industries and will become even more widespread in the future. For companies that use smartphones and other mobile devices, there will be no way around mobile device management in the future. Start using tomorrow's technologies today.

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