What Is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile device management (MDM) technology provides comprehensive corporate network endpoint security to monitor smartphones, tablets, and laptops for end-user accountability, increased productivity, and compliance.

Sep 25, 2020 | 5 min read

Businessman on phone with laptop in background

Mobile device management (MDM) is a software-based security tool used by IT departments to ensure the integrity and dependability of mobile technologies and the data stored and transmitted. This includes security, monitoring, and management of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. 

An effective MDM solution ensures a secure corporate network and grants peace of mind, while maintaining compliance.

Two critical data center considerations when crafting this solution include the server and client. The former facilitates configurations and policies through a management console, while the latter receives and installs employee device directives. 


This technology features enhanced capabilities leveraging updates and monitoring, and compliance and policy management. It has also matured over time to automate additional activities such as new device detection, over-the-air commands, and seamless integration.

An effective MDM solution ensures a secure corporate network and grants peace of mind, while maintaining compliance.

 

If you don’t have an MDM plan, or if the one you have in place, is not properly implemented and managed, you can be susceptible to costly security risks, threats, and cyber attacks. 

Below is a useful explainer on what to know before adding MDM. 

 

How Can MDM Protect Your Organization?

Administering a properly executed MDM solution is especially important now, due to the unprecedented number of companies and employees forced to work remotely by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Unprotected personal devices accessing corporate networks can lead to inadvertent security breaches, connectivity issues, and other vulnerabilities. MDM agents and secure servers are imperative to protecting sensitive data. The former is an endpoint software application, while the latter is delivered on-premises or within the cloud. 

 

Consider implementing the following software solutions for added protection:

  • Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM): Used in highly sensitive and secure environments, EMM enables IT departments to safeguard and simplify highly sensitive corporate data on bring your own device (BYOD) and company-owned devices. It also facilitates increased employee output due to remote app configurations, secure access, and required data safeguards. 
  • Mobile Application Management (MAM): This technology is added to a mobile device operating system without capable management. MAM is also used if the organization refrains from implementing MDM on a specific device.
  • Mobile Content Management (MCM): This ensures secure mobile device access when the user downloads corporate documents and sensitive files. It also prevents personal data-sharing, unauthorized access, and third-party cloud backups. 

Unprotected personal devices accessing corporate networks can lead to inadvertent security breaches, connectivity issues, and other vulnerabilities.

 

On Premises or  Cloud?

It’s best to work with a knowledgeable managed services provider (MSP) for either your on-premise or cloud-based MDM solution. An experienced MSP can recommend, design, and implement an appropriate application solution. This technology also requires day-to-day maintenance and management.

 

Features & Benefits

MDM utilizes network security enhancements such as encryption and containerization. Data can be remotely retrieved and wiped if an employee departs, or a device is lost or stolen. 


Most MDM solutions are offered by third parties, so it’s prudent to work with an MSP with
solid technology partnerships and established best practices. 


Consider including the following technologies, policies, and processes:

Comprehensive BYOD Support

Gaining popularity in recent years, bring your own device (BYOD) facilitates employees utilizing their own personal mobile devices to conduct business communications and tasks through their organization’s network.  This expanded considerably as many organizations moved to full remote workforce in 2020.


Having a secure solution to support this technology helps promote increased productivity and efficiency, decreased costs, and seamless remote work transitions. 


This should also be integrated with your organization’s IT security and mandated use policies. 

 

Jailbreaking & Rooting Bypass Alerts

Jailbreaking iOS devices creates unauthorized codes through manufacturer controls. Your MDM system will alert that someone is running unauthorized apps without your knowledge.

Rooting transpires on Android devices, whereby unauthorized users are given root access privileges. Similar to jailbreaking, an MDM solution warns when apps are run without permission.


Password Policy Implementation

This upholds extra precautions and also follows company-defined guidelines such as single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA). The former provides each employee with one password for all mobile devices, while the latter requires a multi-step security identification process. 

 

Remote Monitoring

Individualized dashboards proactively monitor device endpoints for threats and other unauthorized usage.

 

Automatic Updates

Ensure devices are on an automated update schedule to foster productivity and prevent inadvertent system crashes. 

 

Ease of Use

Users might become frustrated if your organization’s MDM enrollment or support process is difficult and time consuming. This could lead to unaccounted, unsecure devices. Additional features include lost device tracking, password resets, reconfigurations, and data wiping. 

 

Enhanced Compliance Logging & Reporting

MDM simplifies compliance management from one cohesive platform. This is critical within heavily regulated industries, such as financial services, healthcare, and government.

Remote Work Policies

MDM is even more essential as organizations adopt remote work policies during COVID-19. Critical services include effective endpoint management and anti-virus, malware, and ransomware protection.

It’s best to consult an MSP with a third-party Security Operations Center, to provide continuous security monitoring; cloud, network and endpoint safeguarding; and managed detection, response, and containment. 

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also recommends taking proactive measures, such as:

  • Updating Virtual Private Networks for Remote Employee Access
  • Alerting Employees of Email, Text & Social Media Phishing Scams
  • Requiring MFA Sign-On 

 

High-Value MDM

If you’re still grappling with any component of your MDM adoption or support, you may want to consider a discussion nor review an experienced MSP who can design or  implement through their consultative, needs-based approach. 

 

Schedule Discussion

 

LincolnIT provides innovative technology solutions that can accelerate your business transformation strategies for SMBs, mid-market companies, large enterprises, and nonprofits through its five Care brands. Contact us for help with your organization’s MDM project, or to request a proposal. 

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