Most organisations have invested significantly in business-critical mobile technology and managing this estate has never been more important.

"80% of worker tasks will take place on a mobile device in 2021."

Gartner

So with that ever-increasing use of mobile technology and the unprecedented surge in home working, IT departments must do all they can to protect corporate data from what is now a ‘perimeter-less’ organisation.

Mobile Device Management is used primarily by IT administrators to give them one system that connects to every mobile device across their company.

It therefore enables them to oversee, control and secure all these devices. MDM is often the term associated with this software, but more recently the scope of MDM has broadened and terms such as EMM – Enterprise Mobility Management and UEM – Unified Endpoint Management are also used.

The purpose of MDM is to make mobile devices as secure as possible and to maximise the device uptime.

It is also essential in the unforeseen issues that can arise from ex-employees, access to sensitive / corporate data, lost or stolen devices and end user support needs.

Managed Service Providers also see MDM as a critical component in providing their service as it is used to create the desired configuration of each device, to set the appropriate policies that enable devices to connect to secure networks, access updated applications and enforce a range of security settings.

It is the only way an MSP to monitor, manage and maintain their customers mobile devices without incurring significant cost.

Ignoring the need for MDM on devices is a big gamble. Devices are unsecure – some may not even have a PIN code enabled, sensitive information is vulnerable, individual devices will need time setting each one up, enforcing any updates is time consuming and lost devices could potentially enable unauthorised access to sensitive company documents.

“Over 1 in 10 UK companies will face a data breach in the coming 12 months."

2020 CSO report

Our top 10 essential benefits of MDM are as follows:

1. Ease of deploying new and additional mobile devices

You need to get devices set up and running as quickly as possible and with MDM you have a range of methods to rapidly configure a mobile device with all the required settings, applications and security needed by your business.

Enrolment of devices can be as simple as scanning a barcode, tapping an NFC tag or even just switching it on – and downloading a profile from Android’s Zero Touch portal for example.

2. Remote Management

Another major benefit of MDM is that it allows either the IT administrator or the MSP to monitor and manage the remote device from anywhere.

Any mobile user can get support from their IT team who can access the device to check configurations, settings and troubleshoot.

This is huge benefit in lowering support costs and reducing returns of devices to repair that may have no hardware faults (often referred to as No Fault Found / NFF).

3. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

With the unprecedented growth in remote working and lower cost of airtime agreements, just about everyone has their own personal smartphone.

It may seem unimportant to address this – but any employee who connects their own device to your Wi-Fi network, uses it for company email or to access work documents all pose a major security threat.

With MDM you can set a partition on the device that enables the separation of everything personal with everything business – that way all business data is 100% safe and secure and user does not allow their employer access to anything else on their personal device.

This approach can also work well in mobile devices that are given to the employee in what is know as a COPE strategy – Corporately Owned, Personally Enabled.

Again the separation of work and personal data can be made with personal information remaining out of reach of the IT administrators.

4. Device Security

With MDM it is possible to automatically enforce and update security settings on all devices with a click of a button.

You may have 10 or 10,000 devices and either way enforcing these settings on-mass is a major time saver.

With MDM any device can be remotely locked, or all data completely wiped, and this gives major peace of mind to businesses of any size.

5. Managing and Controlling Device updates

Although many applications can be updated via Google Play Store or Apples App Store, they do not enforce these updated and some may be critical. It can also work the other way and you do not want these updates as they have not been fully tested.

It is essential you have some control over this process.

Updates outside of applications can include network settings, email configurations, limiting or restricting access as well as security updates. All of which need an MDM to simplify the process.

6. Reducing IT Costs

If all work on mobile devices is done manually than the overall time over the cause of a year can mount up. Given MDM automates many of the time-consuming and labour-intensive processes involved in managing an estate of mobile devices, it means resources and manpower are free to work on other projects.

It may take anything up to 15 minutes to configure a new device and this might not sound like much, but over many devices within the business this can amount to a significant amount of time over the year.

7. Compliance

Operating within certain IT standards or a set of regulatory requirements becomes extremely difficult if there are many mobile devices within the business. With MDM these compliance needs can be easily managed from one central console. This gives a much easier process to enforce, update and give audit compliance.

It also ensures can prevent hefty fines should any breach be identified.

8. Enforcing Policy

It is highly likely you will have some terms by which you want your mobile users to operate, these could be as strict as restricting access to certain applications, web content or enabling access to specific data based on location only. All of this is only possible if you have a suitable administration platform from which to control the permissions of individuals or groups of users.

9. Device Reporting or Alerting

If a mobile device isn’t working then the impact and cost in lost productivity can be huge. Access to reports allow you to monitor the health and activity of mobile device users more effectively and proactively.

It is also possible with some MDM to link specialist software to enhance insights and automated alerts. This can provide significant ROI by helping to reduce lost or missing devices and to maximising uptime by preventing issues before they happen.  

10. Leverage OEM Configurations

Some MDM solutions will have additional capability to take advantage of certain device manufactures settings – such as barcode scanner, specific firmware, O/S updates and device drivers. This can save significant time from navigating the OEM web site for updates and manually configuring advanced settings on the actual device itself.

So a wide range of benefits from a small investment can give huge return and with the every expanding data available to mobile workers MDM can no longer be an afterthought.