Mobile device management (MDM) is a key aspect of your enterprise mobility management approach. This guide will help you understand it, outline why having a robust enterprise MDM strategy is so important for managed services providers (MSPs), and offer tips on how to improve it.
What Is mobile device management (MDM)?
MDM, also known as enterprise mobility management (EMM), is a system that allows company employees to use applications and mobile devices securely and safely. MDM ensures that employees are handling corporate data appropriately, without risking a breach or exposure of sensitive information.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a huge escalation in remote working. On top of this, more enterprises have been turning to a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach in order to grant employees flexibility and hopefully increase productivity. Encouraging employees to use their own devices for work can considerably reduce the cost of IT assets, but it may also bring a number of security threats. These new approaches to work can also leave companies open to attack by cybercriminals as they can hack into unsecured systems.
An MDM strategy helps manage devices running on Windows, iOS, Android, MacOS, Blackberry OS, and Chrome OS. It gives you the ability to manage tablets, smartphones, kiosk devices, and others, all through one central system. Mobile device management for Android and iOS deals specifically with phones, which are sometimes overlooked by organizations—but pose a notable risk.
Why is having an MDM strategy important?
When the number of managed devices on your network grows, you may lose visibility into them as well as their users. It is essential you have access to information about how many devices are connected to the network so you understand how to best secure and protect your customers.
Unfortunately, receiving this kind of information for such a large quantity of devices becomes a challenge if you aren’t using effective MDM software. Enterprise mobility and security applications are supported by identity-driven security features, which provide single sign-on capabilities across devices in your data center, or in the cloud. Carefully considered enterprise MDM strategy can give insight into the following:
- How many devices are managed by the system
- How many devices are not managed by the system
- How many devices are compliant with corporate requirements
- How many devices are non-compliant with corporate requirements
- The time during which the corporate devices were used
- Any changes implemented over the past months
- Any necessary repairs
- The costs associated with any necessary repairs
Remember that every interaction leaves fingerprints in your log files. These do not affect the user, but are nonetheless important because they can be used to produce enterprise mobility reports. With this data at your disposal, you are able to analyze whether the number of non-compliant devices in use is increasing or decreasing. Effective MDM helps you achieve a unified security strategy, which is key for all businesses—but especially for MSPs responsible for the security of their customers in an increasingly risky time.
6 ways to improve your MDM strategy
The following best practices will help improve your strategy, working to ensure that all devices in your system are managing data in a secure and safe way.
1. Lock and wipe
MDM must allow the IT department to wipe any documents from the device that may hold sensitive information. In the event that a device is lost, misplaced, or stolen, MSPs need to ensure that they are able to remotely lock and completely wipe it to ensure that confidential data is not compromised.
2. Determine device mobilization
It is important that your team decides who needs to be mobile and on which devices. Your MDM strategy should support all necessary management and operational functions, while simultaneously safeguarding your customers against threats. As such, you should ensure that all security and acceptable-use policies are functional and appropriately enforced. You should focus on defining objectives and the set of permitted mobile devices so you can maintain control.
3. Recognize the limitations of MDM
MDM capabilities can include local policy enforcement, usage monitoring, security management, auditing, reporting, and more. However, to help make sure your strategy is effective, take the time to understand its scope and—more importantly—its limitations.
4. Align MDM with overall IT management strategy
MSPs and IT professionals should ensure their MDM strategy is aligned with all operational requirements and constraints associated with their IT management strategy. These two must go hand in hand so they don’t conflict, but support each other instead.
5. Remember MDM can be extended
Before settling on a finalized strategy, consider the fact that this is just one part of the overall enterprise mobile management strategy. This means MDM can evolve in a number of ways to offer a more comprehensive range of capabilities, many of which can ease the task of mobile management over time.
6. Strengthen data quality
The success of your MDM strategy will be determined by the strength of internal processes for developing common data definitions, business rules, policies, and quality measurements. As such, before attempting to implement a strategy, you should strengthen your data quality process.
N-able™ RMM is an all-in-one tool that delivers endpoint detection and response, remote management and monitoring capabilities, network device monitoring, and much more. To help keep up with the demands of modern customers and their mobile workforces, N-able RMM also features MDM capabilities, allowing you to easily manage and secure mobile devices from one unified and centralized solution. It features rapid, automated setup and maintenance of your mobile fleet, reducing risk and increasing efficiency. By combining MDM with other RMM features, you can oversee multiple device types from a single web-based console to streamline technician operations.
To learn more and see for yourself, a 30-day free trial of N-able RMM is available.
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