Mobile Device Management (MDM) is the process of managing mobile devices, largely in terms of usage and security. Mobile devices are managed through a strategy that tracks essential information about each device, determines which applications can be installed, and remotely secures mobile devices if they are lost or stolen. MDM can also track mobile device location both by user and geographical location.
In some corporate environments, mobile devices have replaced traditional desktop computers entirely – a drastic change made possible by cloud computing. When a company runs everything from the cloud, employees can access data, applications, and the company network virtually anywhere there’s an internet connection. This ease of use is exactly why mobile device management is crucial.
MDM boils down to two important points: security and simplified deployment.
A strict mobile device management policy is the best line of defense against both external and internal threats.
Many employers have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that allows employees to use personal devices at work. BYOD employees also use their devices while working from home or from local coffee shops and other places with public Wi-Fi.
Using public, unsecured Wi-Fi is risky. Some cyber criminals routinely scan public network traffic looking for sensitive data. The most common cyber attack through public Wi-Fi occurs when someone logs onto a hacker’s network thinking it’s the establishment’s network.
Hackers routinely set up decoy networks with a name that mimics the establishment’s official Wi-Fi network. When someone joins the decoy network, the criminal can see all web browsing activity and will log keystrokes to get login credentials.
MDM security solutions can employ device applications that prevent employees from logging onto public Wi-Fi networks by requiring a VPN or a private Wi-Fi hotspot.
Mobile device management generates a centralized plan for managing multiple device types with varying operating systems such as iOS, Windows, Android, tvOS, Chrome OS, and macOS. Centralized management makes it easier to deploy MDM solutions in the cloud.
Although some tasks require manual work, MDM is largely supported by the use of client-server software that leverages device notification services to make contact.
All mobile devices connected to the MDM server act as clients. The MDM server remotely pushes configurations, applications, and policies to each connected device. IT admins remotely manage all endpoints through the MDM server. Endpoints might include laptops, tablets, iPods, and smartphones.
The benefits of using MDM solutions are vast. The biggest advantage is saving time through automating repetitive tasks. For example, manually configuring Wi-Fi settings on 100 devices and asking employees to install specific applications are cumbersome tasks. These tasks can be completely automated through MDM solutions.
Other advantages include:
Thanks to the growing number of sophisticated cyber security threats, mobile device management is no longer optional. MDM is the key to a secure, efficient, and productive mobile workforce.