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Why is Mobile Device Management Important?

Woman looking at a mobile device

Improving security and preventing misuse are two of the more important reasons why organizations use mobile device management.

- Most of us take our mobile devices for granted these days. But, odds are, your IT department doesn’t take them for granted.

That’s because mobile devices can represent a unique type of cyber threat for companies operating in today’s global economy. If the mobile device ends up in the hands of a cybercriminal, their ability to tap into company emails and files may only be limited by the device’s internal defenses. If there’s no protection (i.e. no passwords required), there’s no stopping the thief from taking what they want.

But, if the IT department implements a mobile device management plan, there’s less to worry about. In that case, the IT team members should be able to remotely shut down and in some cases even track the device. This can help stop any theft of company assets.

Mobile device management, or MDM for short, is a program, often powered by software, that allows an IT department to manage the devices and not just prevent security lapses but keep devices running properly.

Still not sure why this is important? Here are some of the most common reasons why companies use MDM software:

Improve security

As mentioned above, mobile device management is used to improve security for company assets. This often pertains to smartphones that employees bring to work but it can also include tablets, laptops and any other devices used by employees. The software typically monitors device usage (although it can be configured to prevent spying on employees’ personal lives) and it can ensure that any breaches of the device don’t lead to exposure of company assets and files. This means securing email, documents, the browser and the application catalog on the device.

Contain theft issues

If an employee misplaces their phone or it’s stolen, the IT department immediately starts thinking about the potential issues arising from the theft. Can the person with the phone access important emails? Files? Server information?

The MDM software can be used to block access and even wipe the device remotely. At the very least, it should allow an IT administrator to wipe corporate data remotely. Many times, the MDM software can also be used to track the device location (although that’s a feature of many phones these days) if the company or employee wants to attempt to recover it.

Stop unauthorized installs

Sometimes, it’s not a matter of theft but a matter of misuse by the employees themselves. As a case in point, there are times when employees may attempt to install applications that are not permitted (think video games or social media). In an extreme case, the employee may unknowingly install malware on the device if they’re not careful about what it is that they’re installing.

Again, this is part of why MDM software is important. With many MDM programs, it’s possible to prevent employees from installing anything unless it’s a white-listed application. That’s especially important when employees are using company-owned devices such as tablet computers to take customer orders as part of a point of sale system. In that instance, an MDM program could prevent employees from playing Angry Birds during downtime.

Push software updates

For an MDM program to be considered worthwhile, it’s not just about security and preventing abuse. It’s important in the day-to-day use of the device as well. In particular, the IT department can use MDM software to monitor company devices for any operational problems. If a reboot is needed, they can do it remotely.

Also, IT administrators can use MDM programs to push out software updates when appropriate. For instance, the updates may need to be scheduled for the middle of the night so they don’t disturb users during the day. On top of that, IT admins can apply different update ‘policies’ to the devices in case they want some devices to install updates automatically while others should wait until they receive an approval to update.

Want to learn more about the benefits of using MDM software at your organization? Contact us today for a demo and to have any questions answered.

Related: Case Study: MDM Solution Helps Revel Systems Support Its Customers


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