Mobile Device Management (MDM) is fast becoming the acronym of the moment as organizations struggle to deal with the ubiquity of mobile devices amongst their workforce. As workers are more and more vocal in their desire to utilize their own devices in the workplace, security management becomes crucial in protecting the organization’s data. Mobile Device Management (MDM) software monitors, manages and supports mobile devices deployed across mobile operators, service providers and enterprises.
“The era of fully supporting company-owned devices is giving way to an era of managed diversity in which tiered support for employee-owned, consumer-class devices is the norm. With the unabated growth of consumerization, IT leaders need to implement MDM to manage corporate and employee-owned devices, and assign employee-owned, consumer-class devices, and assign responsibilities inside IT departments for the service, application and security of all these devices.” – Terrence Cosgrove, Gartner
MDM functionality typically includes over-the-air distribution of applications, data and configuration settings for all types of mobile devices, including mobile phones, smartphones, tablet computers, etc., and apply to both company-owned and employee-owned (BYOD) devices across the enterprise or mobile devices owned by consumers. Let’s take a look at the specific benefits.
Implementing a well thought out MDM policy will far outweigh the costs of doing nothing. Without some sort of controlled MDM, companies will likely see reduced user productivity (if the IT standard does not suit the user’s needs), higher noncompliance costs incurred by users who circumvent IT standards, and the cost of users’ time and efforts in attempt to support themselves, increasing indirect costs. An organization must enforce a unified security policy that incorporates control and the ability to remotely manage all supported devices. The benefits of implementing MDM include:
- Remotely support all employee owned and company owned devices. Support and updates can be done over the air (OTA), thus enabling employees freedom with corporate backing.
- Ability to remotely wipe clean lost or stolen devices. The MDM platform will enable security teams to quickly remove confidential corporate information from lost devices, regardless of location.
- Control and direct what applications are allowed and which are restricted. Remote monitoring of mobile devices will continue to ensure corporate security is not jeopardized by unauthorized apps.
- Maintain detailed record of user device statistics. Employee usage statistics can be very beneficial when reviewing employees for performance, productivity, cost, or reprimand.
- Ability to automatically push software updates to devices remotely. Devices can be automatically and uniformly updated without impeding on employee’s time.
- Ensure employee devices are password protected. MDM enables security teams to remotely manage passwords to ensure that information is protected at all times.
- Employees can choose their own device of liking. Staffs utilizing their device of choice are more likely to enjoy working on it. Forcing a particular device, such as a BlackBerry, may hinder productivity.
- Reduce employee downtime and cost per user. Since security and updates are managed over the air, employees are not inconvenienced with schedule intrusions.
MDM does require a harmonization between enterprise operations, IT, and security teams to ensure that mobile device architectures match overall corporate security policies, but with BYOD becoming more of the norm within organizations, an effective optimization platform is vital to protect security while proliferating productivity.
 Wikipedia, 2012, Mobile Device Management-Definition
 Finneran, Michael, BYOD Requires Mobile Device Management, Information Weekly Mobility, May 7, 2011
 The Enterprise Innovator, Gartner Says Enterprise Mobility Management is Essential for IT Success, May 9, 2012
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net