What is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile Man / Wednesday, June 24, 2015

In recent years, the pace of change in enterprise IT has been staggering. CIOs, CTOs and IT departments have had to adapt to an enormous range of disruptive technologies which have impacted considerably on the way they manage their companies’ infrastructure. Only a few years ago the major focus of IT was on maintaining local servers, training users and building security into desktop computers and company owned hardware. How much has changed!

An ever increasing number of businesses are deploying some form of cloud or hybrid data storage infrastructure, trends such as BYOD and the Consumerization of IT are tearing hardware out of strict company controls and mobile technology is allowing workers to connect to portals and access data from wherever they are. All this change can present a major headache for the more vigilant IT department. While users now expect to be able to connect to their company’s intranet as easily as they connect to the Starbucks Wi-Fi or their personal email service, those responsible for protecting company data see a whole host of hazards.

A few years ago it would have seemed unthinkable that an employee would be able to work on their company’s documents while on the commute to work, yet this is now the norm. While mobile has opened up amazing opportunities for flexibility, productivity and worker engagement, the security concerns about data ‘walking out the door’ are equally significant. It’s in response to these concerns that a number of providers have begun offering Mobile Device Management (MDM) services.

What is MDM?

As acronyms go, MDM is pretty straightforward to understand. The typical setup involves the use of a third party solution which allows IT to centrally control all devices which connect to the organization’s network. When an employee connects to the company portal, the MDM platform can be configured to automatically screen their device for malware, control settings and permit (or block) access to certain company applications and databases.

The ideal MDM scenario would see IT managing every single device which connects to the network, controlling what each one can and cannot do, while ensuring company data is secure. Besides being able to communicate with all devices in the network, it also allows IT to implement updates and protect information on devices which go missing.

So, for example, if Amy from Sales loses the tablet she uses to demonstrate your product while visiting a client, MDM allows the IT department to remotely lock the device and delete all company data stored on the hardware. Alternatively, Amy might be using an old operating system on the laptop she brings to the office. MDM lets you monitor what applications she has installed on her device and automatically update it to be in line with standards throughout the business.

The importance of MDM

Without using MDM services, companies often have real trouble controlling their employees’ mobile devices. In the past security and software updates were implemented either by providing company specific SIM cards to employees, carrying out updates by physically connecting devices to the system or expecting clients to initiate update requests themselves. The alternative is simply to take the risk of trusting workers not to lose or share private data. For many companies such options are quite simply out of the question.

We always recommend our clients combine their mobile enterprise solutions with one of a range of MDM providers so as to obtain the best security measures for their companies’ devices. Besides peace of mind, MDM services also offer:

  • Rapid deployment and onboarding of existing devices
  • Passwords, encryption, data wipes and other advanced security measures
  • Remote configuration - IT need not have the device physically at hand
  • Manage mobile apps and documents from a central location
  • End to end content security

While MDM offers a range of benefits to companies which implement the solution, it doesn’t necessarily mean you no longer need worry about security. IT will still need to remain vigilant about how employees are accessing and using data and keep an eye open for unusual behavior. That said, MDM offers far more comprehensive control than you could ever hope to access otherwise.

The best of both worlds

There’s little doubt as to how enormous the impact of mobile working has been on Enterprise IT. However, while the benefits are clear to see, concerns about data loss when devices are outside the IT department’s control have made a lot of companies nervous about allowing staff to tap into mobile’s potential. Mobile Device Management has emerged as a real solution for these kinds of worries, and allows you to get the best of mobile and state of the art security. Put simply, MDM is your company’s key to 21st Century IT.

Did you know that you can deploy Infragistics' Enterprise Mobility Suite, including SharePlus, an industry-leading native mobile SharePoint solution, and ReportPlus, a mobile BI dashboard app, within your own MDM platform, such as MobileIron, Citrix’s XenMobile, Oracle’s OMSS (Bitzer Mobile), and many others MDM servers? Sign up for a SharePlus Enterprise demo today.