Why Mobile Device Management is a Critical Tool for Modern IT Operations
- The history of personal computing is really the story of devices getting smaller, more personal, and more mobile.
Even as desktop computers first began to morph into large and clumsy laptops in the mid-1990s, PDAs – personal digital assistants – appeared as well, offering business professionals an almost irresistible device that put the most important parts of a personal computer in their pocket.
When workers first began to adopt a BYOD – bring your own device – culture – many IT departments were virtually apoplectic, concerned about the ability to manage all those devices.
Taming the wild west
As time went on, PDAs evolved into smartphones, and today, IT departments have to contend with employees using a cacophony of devices that include phones, tablets laptops, point-of-sale terminals, portable printers and more.
But mobile devices have been a part of the business landscape for a couple of decades now, and there are many dependable, scalable mobile device management solutions to choose from.
The wild west of mobile devices has been tamed.
Preventing security problems
Mobile device management solutions serve a number of important purposes, probably none more critical than security.
Mobile devices contain business critical data including email, access to secure servers, personal employee info, and more, and unlike a desktop PC, it lacks the physical security of being maintained on campus. A lost or stolen phone can be a serious security risk. Same for a tablet that goes missing.
MDM solutions can impose mandatory passwords and two factor authentication, so lost devices can’t be easily unlocked. They can also enforce data encryption, malware protection, and other precautions.
Secure communications can be implemented and lost or stolen devices can be swiftly wiped remotely – sacrificing the hardware but protecting corporate data. In other words, MDM is very important to corporate IT departments.
Software updates at scale
But more generally, mobile device management also gives IT managers a single, consolidated overview of their device landscape. Through a dashboard, it’s possible to see the status of all devices operating within an organization.
This can help managers ensure all devices have the latest operating system and other software installed. If, for example, a hospitality business uses a network of tablets as mobile point-of-sale devices, the IT team can push out software updates from afar to keep all of those tablets on the same operating system.
In addition, an MDM solution allows IT managers to lock down devices in order to prevent users from installing unwanted, untested, or unvetted third-party software.
Two primary components
Mobile Device management software has two primary components – a server side, which is what IT managers directly interact with to monitor the devices and send commands into the field – and client apps, which need to be installed on each mobile device in the organization.
The server side can be installed locally within the organization, or live in the cloud, managed as a service by the MDM provider.
Either way, this is where IT managers can perform a variety of tasks:
- push updates or applications to mobile devices
- lock and wipe lost and stolen units remotely
- apply policies to devices en-masse, such as forcing the use of two-factor authentication
- prohibit the installation of third party apps
- review the action history of an iOS device
The client side can determine which MDM service provider an organization chooses – which brands, models and devices will the MDM solution support?
Case in point: iOS devices have been well-regulated for years, but the proliferation of BYO-Android-D initially gave organizations pause, since Android’s notorious operating system fragmentation problems and poorly policed app store was a recipe for disaster in the corporate environment.
But in the last few years, a number of MDM solutions now fully support Android devices, allowing them to be good digital team players in the corporate environment.
Want to learn about a flexible MDM solution that can help provide insights into not just your devices but your whole organization? Contact Banyan Hills Technologies today.
Related: Case Study: MDM Solution Helps Revel Systems Support Its Customers