Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives – both professionally and personally. From smartphones to tablets and laptops, these pocket-sized powerhouses have revolutionized how we work and communicate. However, businesses need to be proactive in managing the security risks associated with mobile devices in the workplace. That’s where Mobile Device Management (MDM) comes into play.
Imagine the following scenario: your employees are accessing work emails, collaborating on business apps, and handling sensitive company data through their mobile devices. Yes, it’s convenient, it’s efficient, but is it secure? Without proper management and protection, your company could be exposed to data breaches and ransomware attacks that can bring your operations to a screeching halt.
To mitigate these risks and ensure a safe and productive mobile work environment, implementing Mobile Device Management is fundamental. Microsoft 365 data protection allows IT administrators to deploy Mobile Device Management solutions to protect the business from the risks associated with personal devices. In this article, we’ll explore what is Mobile Device Management (MDM), its benefits, functionalities, and why it has become a necessity for businesses in recent years.
What Is Mobile Device Management?
Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a revolutionary software solution designed to enhance security, control, and governance over the mobile devices used within an organization. In today’s digital landscape, where smartphones, tablets, and laptops have become essential tools for productivity, MDM plays a crucial role in ensuring corporate data protection and maintaining a secure work environment.
At its core, MDM enables IT administrators to centrally monitor or manage mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, from a unified platform. It empowers organizations to enforce policies, configure mobile device settings, and consistently deploy applications across your company’s entire fleet of mobile devices while protecting the corporate network.
What Is MDM Software?
Mobile Device Management software can either be cloud-based or on-premises. This versatile software enables IT administrators to remotely manage and configure devices using a central management console provided by the MDM solution.
MDM vendors often provide both cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and on-premise models. Unlike on-premise solutions, SaaS solutions are preferred for their faster implementation and cost-effectiveness and include built-in management, monitoring, maintenance, and updates.
The primary objective of Mobile Device Management software is to mitigate security risks by implementing strict access controls, encryption measures, and remote device management capabilities. With MDM in place, businesses can safeguard sensitive information, prevent unauthorized access, and quickly respond to potential threats or breaches.
Additionally, MDM software provides organizations with enhanced visibility and control over their mobile ecosystem. It allows administrators to track mobile device inventory, monitor usage patterns, and remotely wipe or lock devices in case of loss or theft, safeguarding confidential data from falling into the wrong hands.
How Do Mobile Device Management (MDM) Solutions Work?
Mobile Device Management solutions employ a client/server architecture to provide centralized control and management of mobile devices within an organization. Here’s a closer look at the key functionalities of how MDM tools operate:
1. Client/Server Architecture
MDM follows a traditional client/server model. The central machine –the server – acts as the command center, while the mobile devices used by employees serve as clients. IT managers have complete control over the server and can remotely configure and manage features and settings on mobile devices.
2. Server Location
Organizations can choose between cloud-based MDM solutions or hosting the server on-premises. Each approach has its own merits. On-premises servers offer higher installation and maintenance costs but can handle large-scale device management. Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, are cost-effective and well-suited for smaller device deployments.
3. Central Control
MDM solutions provide administrators with centralized control over configured mobile devices. This enables them to monitor activities, track locations, enforce security policies, and remotely troubleshoot issues. Administrators can customize device settings, restrict app installations, and ensure compliance with organizational policies.
4. Enrollment and Management
Before devices can be managed through MDM, they must be enrolled in the MDM server. This can be done via vendor-specific enrollment programs or manual methods such as QR codes, tokens, NFC, or email/SMS. Once enrolled, the MDM server communicates with the devices through application programming interfaces (APIs) built into the operating system, allowing for the remote configuration of devices.
5. Security and Policy Enforcement
MDM solutions enable IT administrators to implement corporate rules, enforce security policies, and ensure data protection. They can push configurations, applications, and software updates to devices over the air (OTA) from the management console. Additionally, MDM providers can remotely lock down devices, monitor internet usage, and restrict access to unauthorized apps or websites.
By leveraging MDM tools, organizations can effectively manage devices and secure their ecosystem, maintain consistent policy enforcement, and enhance productivity while safeguarding sensitive data.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) VS. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)
Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) are common approaches for managing mobile devices in organizations. However, a more comprehensive solution called Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) extends this management to include desktop computers, printers, and other devices. While Unified Endpoint Management offers broader device coverage, MDM remains the preferred choice among end-users, even when considering EMM or UEM solutions. Let’s see the comparison:
MDM Vs. EMM
MDM focuses on device-level management, providing control, security, and configuration capabilities for smartphones and tablets, whether company-issued or personally owned. It enables enrollment, policy configuration, location tracking, kiosk mode, data security, and remote wipe. MDM benefits organizations that support Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, self-service kiosks, and mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) devices. It helps ensure device functionality, mitigates security risks, and streamlines device deployment and file distribution.
EMM, on the other hand, expands on MDM by incorporating additional features such as mobile application management (MAM), mobile content management (MCM), mobile security management (MSM), containerization (BYOD), and identity and access management (IAM). EMM provides a comprehensive solution that manages devices and addresses user experience, productivity, and endpoint security. It caters to both office-based and remote workers, facilitating seamless collaboration and access to enterprise resources.
|Mobile Device Management (MDM)
|Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)
|Focuses on device-level management, providing control, security, and configuration capabilities for smartphones and tablets.
|Expands on MDM by incorporating additional features for comprehensive mobility management.
|Suitable for both personally owned and company-issued devices.
|Addresses the challenges posed by the exponential growth of smartphones and the need for broader data security and device management.
|Enables quick enrollment, policy configuration, location tracking, kiosk mode, data security, and remote wipe.
|Includes MDM features and adds capabilities, such as:
– Mobile application management (MAM)
– Mobile content management (MCM)
– Mobile security management (MSM)
– Containerization (BYOD)
– Identity and Access Management (IAM)
|Supports BYOD policies, self-service kiosks, and mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) devices.
|Provides a harmonious balance of user experience, productivity and endpoint security.
|Manages device functionality, mitigates security risks, and streamlines device deployment and file distribution.
|Facilitates seamless collaboration and access to enterprise resources for office-based and remote workers.
Features of Mobile Device Management
Mobile Device Management offers various features to ensure security, boost productivity, and streamline device management. Here are the key features of MDM:
- PIN enforcement: Admins can manage PINs to lock individual devices, adding an extra layer of security.
- Full disk encryption: MDM enforces encryption on managed devices, protecting sensitive data and disks.
- Remote wipe: In case of loss or theft, MDM allows for remote wiping of devices to safeguard information.
- Data protection: MDM can prevent certain data from being copied or sent while on the device, ensuring data security.
2. Secure Access and Configuration
- Mandatory passwords: MDM enforces strong passwords, enhancing device security.
- Remote configuration and monitoring: Administrators can remotely configure and monitor and manage mobile devices for consistent security policies.
- Malware detection: MDM includes malware detection capabilities to safeguard devices against threats.
- VPN and Wi-Fi configuration: MDM simplifies the setup and management of VPN and Wi-Fi connections for secure access.
- Integration with existing solutions: MDM integrates with your existing security and management solutions for a comprehensive approach.
3. Inventory Management
- Real-time device inventory visibility: MDM provides administrators visibility into their inventory.
- Device health reports: This includes information such as OS version, battery health, and warranty details, allowing proactive maintenance and management.
- Device provisioning: MDM simplifies the process of provisioning devices for employees, ensuring a smooth onboarding experience.
- Onboarding and offboarding: MDM streamlines adding or removing staff, saving time and effort.
- Centralized management: MDM enables device and app management from a central console, allowing administrators to monitor and control devices efficiently.
Why Do Organizations Need Mobile Device Management Solutions?
In recent years, the reliance on mobile devices for business operations has skyrocketed. With approximately 80% of office workloads being handled by mobile devices, organizations must implement robust mobile device management solutions to address the unique challenges and security risks associated with this mobile-centric landscape.
Here are the reasons why organizations need MDM:
1. Mobile Devices as the Backbone of Office Workloads
The proliferation of business apps and the convenience of mobile devices have made them indispensable tools for employees. Many find managing emails in Outlook and accessing work-related resources easier on their mobile devices than on traditional desktops.
Given the significant role that mobile devices play in data exchange, organizations must prioritize their protection and ensure proper management of their connection to business resources.
2. Improved Workflows and Flexibility
MDM solutions facilitate enhanced collaboration and workflow management, empowering employees to work efficiently from a coworking space or from home. These tools enable managers to assign tasks, organize project teams, and simultaneously monitor progress across multiple initiatives.
By leveraging MDM, organizations streamline internal operations, increasing productivity and operational efficiency.
3. Supporting BYOD Programs
Implementing a Bring Your Own Device program offers cost savings and flexibility. However, without proper MDM, organizations may lose control over the security of devices handling sensitive business data.
MDM enables secure BYOD or personal devices by protecting business data and managing mobile app usage while mitigating privacy concerns associated with employee-owned devices.
4. Enhancing Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is a top priority for organizations, and MDM plays a crucial role in fortifying their defence. Without adequate monitoring and control, allowing employee devices to connect to the network exposes organizations to various security threats, including ransomware, spyware, and insider breaches.
In fact, 97% of all organizations experienced a mobile device-related cyberattack in 2020, emphasizing the critical need for comprehensive MDM solutions.
5. Simplifying Internal IT Demands
Manual management of mobile devices can overwhelm IT staff, particularly as the organization grows and the number of devices increases. MDM solutions consolidate management tasks into a comprehensive platform, empowering IT teams to oversee the mobile network effectively.
By implementing MDM, organizations relieve the burden on IT staff, enabling them to focus on monitoring devices, addressing security vulnerabilities, and fulfilling other critical IT responsibilities.
6. Rising Mobile Malware Threats
As mobile devices become the primary target for cyberattacks, organizations must proactively safeguard against mobile malware and phishing attacks. Outdated operating systems and the unwitting download of malicious apps increase the risk.
MDM allows organizations to enforce uniform security policies, update devices, and mitigate vulnerabilities, protecting against malware attacks and ensuring network integrity.
10 Benefits of Using Mobile Device Management Solutions
Mobile device management (MDM) solutions offer many advantages for organizations seeking to manage and secure their mobile devices effectively. From protecting company data to streamlining workflows, here are 10 benefits of implementing MDM solutions:
1. Protection of Company Data
With employees accessing company databases through mobile devices, the risk of data breaches increases. MDM allows IT administrators to set permissions, enforce strong passwords, and restrict data sharing, ensuring that sensitive information remains protected and safeguarded against leaks and misuse.
2. Decreased Downtime and Deployment Times
MDM enables real-time monitoring and management of mobile devices, reducing downtime by detecting and resolving issues before they escalate. With efficient device provisioning, IT teams can easily install systems, applications, and configurations remotely, minimizing administrative overhead and streamlining the deployment process.
3. Improved Productivity
Centralized remote management through MDM platforms empowers IT to install applications and push updates to devices remotely. This ensures that employees have the latest and necessary tools to work effectively from anywhere, boosting productivity and eliminating geographical limitations.
4. Enhanced Security
MDM platforms offer robust security features to protect business data accessed by company devices. IT can enforce policies such as strong passwords, secure network access protocols like a multi-factor authentication security feature, and encryption of network communications and data generated by business applications.
Additionally, remote data wipe capabilities prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information in case of device loss or theft.
5. Simple Remote Management
MDM allows Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to monitor and control mobile devices from any location remotely. It offers flexibility and agility in managing devices, empowering administrators to provide assistance and enhance network security by deactivating users and controlling device access in public locations.
6. Application Control
IT teams can effortlessly deploy applications, create curated allowlists and blocklists, and automatically push updates or remove applications using MDM. This ensures that employees can access authorized and trusted applications, mitigating the risk of installing malicious or unauthorized apps.
7. Control over Corporate Devices
MDM provides organizations with better visibility and control over all corporate devices, regardless of the variety of devices and operating systems in use. MDM solutions secure corporate data through containerization. The MDM container uses strong encryption techniques to protect email, documents, and enterprise apps. This ensures separation from personal data. Encryption for the entire device and SD card can be enforced, and your corporate data can be kept safe.
IT administrators can configure devices remotely, manage security risks, and easily handle replacements. When an employee leaves the company, MDM allows for secure data wiping and device reassignment.
8. Device Updates and Backup
MDM enables regular updates of device software and ensures compliance with data policies. Organizations can maintain a secure and compliant mobile environment by pushing updates and necessary settings to work devices. Regular auto-backups of data also provide redundancy and protection in case of device issues.
9. Optimized Data Collection
MDM facilitates efficient data collection from mobile devices, enabling organizations to identify issues, improve processes, and ensure compliance with security policies and regulations. Data collected includes inventory, location data, security data, app data, network data, and compliance data, providing valuable insights for decision-making.
10. Regulatory Compliance Improvements
Working with an MDM provider ensures adherence to IT standards and regulatory requirements. MDM allows unified compliance management from a single dashboard, ensuring security and regulatory standards are met. Organizations can confidently maintain compliance across their devices with automatic updates and improved compliance standards.
Take Control of Your Mobile Devices with Wingman Solutions!
Implementing a robust mobile device management solution is essential when managing mobile devices in your business. With the right MDM solution, you can effectively manage your devices, improve operational efficiency, and maintain a secure and compliant mobile environment.
Our MDM solution is designed to simplify the deployment and management of devices, whether you have thousands of devices across multiple locations or just a few at a single location.
Our remote device management capabilities ensure the security of your devices with automatic updates and real-time monitoring. We provide the technology you need to streamline your mobile device management, making it easier for you to focus on your core business processes.