August 24th, 2020 Read Time: 5 minutes
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Since the introduction of smartphones in the workplace more than a decade ago, the lines between personal and professional use of devices have blurred. IT administrators have had to figure out how to incorporate phones, tablets, and other smart devices into the workplace in a way that keeps the company secure, while also respecting employee privacy.
Mobile device management (MDM) strategy and related tools has made that work easier by allowing IT to manage, support, and monitor devices outside of the office. In the wake of the rise of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MDM has never been more important than it is now. Working from home gives employees more opportunities to use their personal devices to access company data. They may also be more inclined to use company-owned devices for personal tasks.
It’s critical that IT managers keep up with the growing number of endpoints. An MDM strategy gives them more visibility into which mobile devices are being used, and how. If your organization doesn’t have an MDM strategy, now is a great time to consider developing one.
The purpose of this blog is to discuss:
Mobile device management is a combination of policies and technology that oversee the use of mobile devices within a business.
Common MDM solution features include the following:
In addition to simply being lost or stolen, mobile devices are vulnerable to many kinds of threats including:
MDM allows you to mitigate those threats by allowing you to configure policies and push them to multiple endpoints remotely. You can also manage and deploy company-approved applications in the same manner.
Developing an MDM policy begins with assessing your organization’s current device landscape and deciding if you want to change it. The following are common structures:
Mobile devices are not limited to just smartphones and tablets. Smartwatches, fitness trackers, e-readers, IoT devices, and even video gaming devices fall under this umbrella. Many of these, however, are not appropriate for business use.
Even if your organization has a BYOD policy, you will need to be explicit with employees about which personal devices they can use to access corporate information.
In the case of corporate-owned or purchased devices, you can create lists of acceptable and non-acceptable applications. You can even block non-acceptable applications from being downloaded on devices.
In the BYOD model, you can’t enact such restrictions, but it is possible to maintain separation. Most MDM solutions offer a way to contain business data and keep it separate from the rest of the device. In the event that an employee’s persona device is lost or stolen, IT can remotely wipe enterprise data, while leaving personal data intact. This separation also ensures that an employee’s personal information is protected from their employer.
If you are considering using MDM software as a part of your device management policy, be sure that it has the following key features:
Before committing to any tool, you’ll need to test it out in the most realistic way possible. This means that your trial should offer all of the functionality that you would receive in the full paid version. You want to ensure that the product fits the unique needs of your organization and prevent needing to use multiple MDMs.
An MDM solution should be accessible from anywhere, especially in a time when there are limits on how many people can safely be in an office at the same time. In addition, a cloud solution can prevent you from dealing with on-premises network issues. However, it's important to check the vulnerability of your cloud to make sure your security is as strong as possible.
Employees will continue to access company data from new personal devices, especially if you have a BYOD policy. Your MDM solution needs to be able to keep up with this growing number of devices.
It’s likely that employees are using devices from multiple platforms (iOS, Android, etc.). A good MDM vendor will be compatible with a large number of common platforms. You can find out the types of devices that employees are using by performing a comprehensive audit.
With so much work being done outside of the office on mobile devices, MDM is vital to ensure security for your organization. Figuring out all your bases to cover pertaining to MDM is not an easy process to navigate, especially in times like these— and that’s why Electric is here to support your organization.