MDM software allows IT administrators to control, secure, and enforce policies across smartphones, tablets, and other endpoints.
MDM is a critical component of enterprise mobility management (EMM), which also includes mobile app management, identity and access management, and enterprise file sync and share. MDM’s goal is to improve the functionality and security of mobile devices within the enterprise while also protecting the corporate network.
Not only do modern enterprise mobility products support smartphones, but also tablets, Windows 10 and macOS computers, and some internet of things (IoT) devices. The use of MDM to control PCs is referred to as unified endpoint management (UEM). UEM is widely regarded as the MDM’s successor, with the goal of managing all enterprise devices.
Management of BYOD mobile devices
In the early 2000s, mobile device management software emerged as a means to control and secure the personal digital assistants and smartphones that business workers began to use. The consumer smartphone boom that began with the release of the Apple iPhone in 2007 fueled the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, which fueled even more interest in MDM.
Deploying MDM in a BYOD environment poses some difficulties. Organizations must strike a balance between IT’s need to secure corporate apps and data and end users’ need for privacy. Users are frequently concerned about IT’s ability to see which applications are downloaded and track location via MDM. However, IT administrators can use privacy settings to prevent these behaviors.
Support for all devices and operating systems
With the proliferation of mobile technologies and the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) policies, an MDM solution must be compatible with a wide range of device types and operating systems. The specific devices and operating systems that your enterprise must manage will vary; it’s helpful to know ahead of time which mobile devices are currently deployed in your infrastructure. Any MDM solution will support iOS and Android operating systems; however, device manufacturers or older OS versions may cause issues with an MDM tool.
Device security features
Because the primary goal of an MDM solution is to secure and protect an enterprise’s mobile devices, MDM providers must offer adequate device security measures. A single management system should be able to remotely protect a mobile device and the corporate data contained within it. Data encryption, security configuration, and access monitoring are some security features to look for in an MDM tool.
Control features for access
Access control is another important aspect of mobile device security. Because your employees will be accessing business data via mobile devices, your company must ensure that only those employees have access to it. When a mobile device requests sensitive business data, authentication and identity measures must be in place to ensure that the user is authorized to access that data.
Over-the-air (OTA) distribution
To deliver configuration, provisioning, or management updates to a device via an MDM solution, it must be capable of doing so wirelessly via OTA distribution. Your MDM software cannot communicate with a device via physical connections; it must be able to send data to a device wirelessly. OTA capabilities for MDM solutions govern what can be sent to devices via a wireless connection. When researching MDM vendors, look at their OTA distribution capabilities.
Troubleshooting a device
As you might expect, you’ll need to troubleshoot a device from time to time. Troubleshooting a device can take a long time, and it usually necessitates your team physically inspecting the device. Many MDM solutions, on the other hand, now allow you to remotely troubleshoot device issues from your management console. Using this feature, your organization can detect and resolve issues with business-critical mobile devices without physically inspecting the device.
Wiping the remote
The corporate data stored on your mobile device becomes uncontrollable in the event of a major security breach or a missing device. When this occurs, your company must be able to remotely remove the data from the device. Modern MDM solutions can delete business data from any device with an agent installed on it, regardless of location. This way, you can keep sensitive or critical company data out of the wrong hands — even if your devices do.
Device location monitoring
In addition to remote data wiping, your organization should be able to track the location of a mobile device using an MDM system. GPS tracking ensures that your company always knows where its devices are, which is especially important if the mobile device contains sensitive corporate data. This is useful in situations where an employee has misplaced a device and requires assistance in recovering it. It can, however, be used to ensure that an employee is holding onto a device if they leave the office.
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