How to implement an effective MDM strategy

Image: © PeopleImages | Istock Developing a solid mobile device management system is essential to minimize security risks and enhance digital mobility

The integration of mobile devices into our working lives was revolutionary. They now play an important role in how teams work and interact with each other and with their customers and partners.

Smartphones, laptops and tablets have become invaluable assets across all industries, and while they have the power to maximize productivity and potential, they can also pose a significant data security risk and headache for IT teams that need to be controlled.

Developing a solid mobile device management system is essential to mitigate this risk and improve digital mobility. It involves developing a robust framework to manage and secure all mobile devices in the workplace, regardless of where employees are located, as part of the broader scope of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM).

Assess the current state of mobile device management in your organization

First, a thorough assessment of the devices currently used by your organization and the management strategies in place should be conducted to understand your position.

This includes whether devices are company-issued or employee-owned under a BYOD policy, as well as app usage and operating systems such as Apple or Android.

Reviewing the current status quo provides an overall performance assessment and shows where potential gaps exist in terms of visibility and security. Software audits can also determine if compliance standards are being met or if they are outdated and need to be updated or replaced.

Additionally, equipment is expensive and every business wants to maximize the value of its investment. A 360-degree review can not only help identify your organization’s needs and shortcomings, but also identify opportunities to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.

Defining the goals of your mobile device management strategy

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You are now in a good position to determine the specific objectives that a mobile device management strategy must deliver. This is important as features can vary widely between different tools.

Typically, you can view device inventory, secure devices and data, manage apps and configurations, enforce standardized device policies, and update software remotely. Some solutions even offer identity, access, and expense management.

Areas of improvement often include employee productivity, increasing customer engagement, and robust cybersecurity.

Depending on the circumstances in the company and the status of the current device management, the goals can be divided into short-term and long-term goals.

Short-term goals could be the general implementation of a mobile device management solution that lays the foundation for device management and immediately increases device visibility and supports device configuration. This also provides instant protection for sensitive data and prevents unauthorized data access.

In contrast, long-term goals have a more visible impact on a company. An improved user experience is a common goal as it can have a knock-on effect by increasing productivity as employees can access the resources they need to get tasks done.

Cost optimization is also a common goal, as centralizing device management reduces the need for multiple employees to oversee the mobile device management process.

Image © ipopba | iStockThe main features of Mobile Device Management software

Choosing the best mobile device management software for you depends on several factors including the way it will be used, the stated needs of the software, the size of the business and the budget.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and creating a checklist of key features that align with your policies, needs, and budget can help you choose the best option.

Here is an overview of the seven most common Mobile Device Management (MDM) features: – Device inventory

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MDM software collects various hardware and software information on devices and helps organizations monitor and track corporate-owned and BYOD devices. You can view ownership information, installed configurations and applications, warranty and security status, current location, and more.

– Restrictions and Configurations

You have the ability to remotely configure devices, easily ensure data security and compliance, and provide employees with the tools they need. MDM makes it possible to install all necessary settings (e.g. VPN, Wi-Fi) on devices and set restrictions on device usage (e.g. single-app kiosk mode).

– Application and content management

To be productive, employees need easy access to the right applications and files. With MDM, companies can centrally manage all mobile content and keep applications up to date. Apps can also be easily installed or removed from the device.

– Device and data security

Various security measures can be taken to protect both the device and the sensitive data it contains. MDM enables organizations to enforce full disk encryption and use of strong passwords, and to create secure containers that separate corporate data from personal data. And if a device is lost, it can be tracked and wiped remotely.

– Policy Enforcement

Unified device policies help organizations standardize device management, ultimately increasing efficiency and staying compliant. With different policies, organizations can predetermine what configurations, restrictions, and applications should be installed on devices, and deploy those policies en masse to a group of devices.

– Automation

Most MDM solutions support automated device enrollments through Apple Business Manager/Apple School Manager, Android Zero-Touch Enrollment, or Samsung Knox Mobile Enrollment. This allows you to automatically deploy all required settings and applications to devices with business policies.

– Remote maintenance

Devices can be updated and maintained remotely, meaning no visits to the IT department are required. Businesses can save significant time as all software updates and configurations, device diagnostics and troubleshooting can be performed wirelessly.

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How to Choose the Best Mobile Device Management Software for You

The number of devices and the way they are used place demands on device management software. There are also broader benefits and key features of the different solutions as outlined above.

To choose the right MDM software for your business, take the time to compare different platforms and compare how each one stacks up against your checklist.

First, consider the supported operating systems. Some solutions only support a specific operating system, while others allow multiple operating systems to be managed. With multi-platform support, businesses can manage all of their devices with the same software, and employees have more freedom to choose the device they want to use.

Secondly, check out the key features. Some will be essential, like basic device inventory to keep track of devices, basic configuration and restriction features, and enforced passcode and drive encryption. Automating device enrollment and remote software updates typically become necessary as the number of manageable devices grows.

Then consider whether you need an on-premises or cloud-based solution. Most MDM solutions are cloud-based and you can get started seamlessly without investing in additional hardware.

Cloud-based solutions also offer scalability, meaning you can enroll more devices as your business grows and upgrade your plan to take advantage of additional features.

However, if you prefer to run systems in your own data center (which is common in highly regulated industries), on-premises and hybrid solutions are available that need to be managed in-house.

By Jere Jutila, Business Development Director at Miradore

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