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  • Writer's pictureSwathi Young

"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” said the phone to the MDM

or why do you need Mobile Device Management?

Imagine that you have a 1000 sales folks in the field and everyone has access to their CRM application on their phone. They are now requesting access to submit their travel receipts via the phone. The regional sales director wants to see the sales reports on the go. So you decide to roll out all these apps and folks are super happy. So everyone walks into sunset happily , right? Wrong! The next thing you hear is complaints about lost or stolen phones and you are worried some hacker is going to compromise your sensitive enterprise information.  You wish that there is a magic button that you can use to remotely control your information. 

What the heck is MDM? Enter, MDM or Mobile Device Management - this would typically be that “magic button” that you can use to remotely wipe your enterprise data in case of lost or stolen devices. But that is not their only function. They also have the ability to remotely distribute your application, new apps , configurations settings for not just smartphones but also tablets.  They optimize the functionality of the mobile devices while at the same time protecting the data as well as configuration settings for all devices inside the firewall of your enterprise. This helps in lowering the support costs and business security risks.

BYOD Nightmares resolved!Increasingly employees are using their own devices at work(Bring Your Own Device) and would rather not opt for an enterprise provided device. But, they do request the access of enterprise data on their personal devices. So what do you do?

The latest features of MDM tool offers security at the app-level so that employees, contractors or remote workers have complete control of their devices. That way employers can attract, retain and inspire talent by giving your employees power over the way they engage with your systems.This also avoids any legal issues as well as assurance to employees of it not being intrusive. Administrators  have an intuitive dashboard where they obtain detailed reports  as to the apps that have been installed or removed. Via this portal, administrators can also send important notifications and alerts to employees. 

Does it consider all my security scenarios?  Data protection:This is best achieved by containerization, where in MDM tool creates a partition on the mobile device, limiting all corporate data, apps and communication within this container.It requires a separate login apart from login to the device

Device protection: Jailbreaking into a device can be prevented as soon as an MDM administrator is alerted about the jailbreak.MDM also ensures that PIN and password security are routed through the MDM tool.Of course the option to remote wipe the data is a lifesaver.MDM also allows only whitelisted apps to be installed thereby limiting the risk of infection. MDM also assists in enforcing encryption on all mobile devices, hence protecting the device.  Mobile connectivity: How can the connections between the devices and company resources be guaranteed secure? With MDM, organizations can mitigate the risk of insecure communication by blocking third-party configurations to remove certain functions on the mobile device and enabling certain features within a mobile management product. For the former, one area to review is the ability to enable VPN connections on mobile devices so they communicate back to the organization securely. So is it foolproof? Like with every application, MDM has many pitfalls. The most important of them is the ability to support the multitude of devices along with the OS versions. The second thing to consider while selecting the tool is how intrusive can it get when employees have their own devices. This helps in assuring employees that their personal data cannot be accessed by the enterprise.  Adding mobile app security features like single sign-on, copy and paste restrictions, and encryption are tedious and requires quite some time by the MDM administrators. 

What does the future look like?  Gartner predicts that Demand for Enterprise Mobile Apps Will Outstrip Available Development Capacity Five to One.That combined with workforce owning multiple mobile devices  means that enterprises have to have more robust MDM policies.They would also embrace newer solutions presented by MAM (Mobile Application Management) and MIM (Mobile Information Management). All these indicate that the smart phones and MDM are here to stay for a long time to come. 


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