So here’s my two-cent: Agility is more important to businesses now than ever before. Do you agree?
I mean, think about it. More employees are now being scattered across the globe, using corporate and non-corporate devices to access critical data.
While yes they are agile, remote work has undoubtedly also greatly complicated companies’ IT infrastructures, from hardware to software to cybersecurity. For starters, computers and mobile devices used for business now encompass multiple brands that use different operating systems and software. OS diversity can also make it difficult to manage devices equitably. Additionally, the physical distance between employees and their jobs creates logistical issues.
Of course, mobile devices that access critical business data open massive risk if lost or stolen. With more complex cyber-attacks and more opportunities to exploit mobile workers and their unprotected networks, organizations must reinforce all devices.
So with all this headaches in mind, this is where MDM comes in!
Mobile Device Management (or MDM) seeks to remedy all these problems, allowing a company’s IT department to procure, provision, secure, and manage devices well beyond their walls. The “mobile” part of MDM is a bit of a misnomer, as MDM solutions can also manage desktops and laptops.
With the correct MDM setup, your IT team can manage every device that can access your network, no matter what operating system it uses. When implemented, functionality, security, and flexibility should be retained across your organization.
But first, what is Mobile Device Management (MDM)?
Mobile Device Management, or MDM, allows companies to organize their fleet of devices and manage them. Managing an entire fleet of devices demands the correct software, servers, policies, and processes.
Ultimately, MDM must be a mindset that is cultivated through a culture. MDM runs on hardware and is run through software, but true MDM happens when the correct ideas and decisions are executed.
So why Mobile Device Management (MDM)?
So now that you know what it is, the next question is definitely why and how – why use MDM for my business; how does MDM add security and agility to my organisation; how do its key features function?
Well, read on to find out more!
#1: Procurement and Deployment
The right hardware is key to a productive team, but so is the right fit. Have you ever watched a lifetime Windows user try and operate MAC iOS? Worse yet, have you watched an Apple user try and operate Windows OS? It can be like speaking a different language for some people.
Naturally, your workforce will prefer to work on different hardware (desktop or laptop) and on different operating systems (Windows, Apple, or even Linux). We’ll cover the ability to deploy and manage these devices coming up, but what about just setting up these devices?
MDM platforms allow you to purchase devices from your (IT partner’s) trusted vendors and have them shipped directly to any destination you choose.
If your admin has set up a standard deployment setting for the piece of hardware and its operating system, MDM allows you to apply the setting while the hardware is in transit. This eliminates the need to ship hardware to one location where it can be configured, only to be shipped out to its user later.
With a fully functioning device right when you need it, employees will experience almost zero downtime, with no productivity lost.
#2: Device Tracking
Ideally, your entire workforce will be working off corporate-owned devices. You always want to know where those devices are, don’t you? Even if employees are accessing your network via a personal device, you should be able to know where it is.
The point is not to spy on your employees – rather know if a device with access to your data is in their possession. If a device turns up or is logged into from a foreign country or even two different states in an unreasonable amount of time, this could be a sign of a breach.
You can set a geographical perimeter for devices that prohibit access from outside its borders. Some MDM consoles will also show you a unified map of all your devices.
And if a device is lost, misplaced, or stolen, your data becomes vulnerable.
#3: Remote Wiping
In the case that a corporate device finds itself in the hands of non-authorized personnel, MDM consoles give you the option to lock and/or wipe data off the device completely.
This may sound like a drastic measure. Know that with the right combination of data backup and an MDM, the critical data and settings on your device can easily be restored.
Your data is what is important. With the right setup, the device is simply a vessel for the data itself.
#4: Identity and Access Controls
Identity Management and Access Controls are imperative measures for cybersecurity whether your devices are remote or on-premises. Even if you are not yet using an MDM, leveraging conditional access policies is key to security right away.
In short, Identity Management is the process of assigning profiles to each user in your organization. Access Controls are role-based if-then statements that govern who has access to what places and data.
These two facets of security are to protect your most sensitive data from those who do not need access to it. If someone’s daily role does not demand access to financial, personal, or any other data, they should not have express access to it. The same goes for locations within a physical location.
An MDM can help pre-configure these user profiles and their given access before their device even arrives. This protects you and your data on Day 1 of onboarding a new employee, with no added downtime.
#5: Endpoint Security
MDM enhances your security through its ability to enforce security standards on every connected device, as well as to serve out a uniform set of apps and settings to any new device.
Again, this makes onboarding new hires a simple, efficient process. Once role-based conditional access policies are set, you can simply choose your new hire’s default setting and send their device to them with the same security as the rest of your team. Consider these cybersecurity best practices:
Set company-wide password strength requirements
Enforce multi-factor authentication and single sign-on (SSO) settings
Configure automatic security update installation
Install antivirus software
Filter out access to unapproved URLs and applications
All these actions and more can be taken in your MDM console and served out to every device on your network, new or old.
So now that you have read the 5 reasons why MDM is advantageous to your business, you can clearly see how MDM can unify your workforce despite differing hardware and operating systems. It can push a standard group of security settings to every device that has access to your data. It can lock a lost device from afar.
Best of all, it can do all these things and more – immediately or in transit – so that you never lose a second of productivity.