Mobile Device Management: What Companies Need to Know

Despite the gradual rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, many businesses and industry experts expect another heavily remote year.  Workers across various industries have proven their ability to complete their work with little onsite supervision, and as a result, many businesses have created permanent policies to accommodate working from home either part-time or full-time. Considering businesses in more “traditional” industries like banking are cutting office space, there’s a high likelihood that remote work policies will impact hiring trends. 

Whether your business returns to the office, stays fully remote, or offers a healthy mix of the two, it is always crucial to maintain secure access to your company’s data. To accommodate remote work and stay competitive in the global market, organizations often issue laptops or smartphones to employees. However, with any type of off-site access to your corporate servers or data, you need to protect your business with an enterprise mobility management (EMM) program, which encompasses mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). 

MDM and MAM are two different approaches to remote access security. MDM manages and controls all data and the hardware on a device, enabling forced wipes and pushing updates, while MAM controls and secures a smaller environment, such as select applications. 

In this article, we will cover the very basics of EMM, why businesses should have a program, and key considerations when choosing between MDM and MAM solutions. 

Why Use Mobile Device Management?

MDM allows IT administrators to remotely control every aspect of an enrolled device, including conditional access, virtual private network (VPN), installed software, user accounts, local storage, security, and app updates. If needed, they can even remotely wipe a machine. MDM can be utilized on laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more, and it’s an excellent tool for end-threat protection when managing a fleet of company-issued devices. Because the devices are company property, the company reserves full rights to make any changes or modifications to the devices based on the needs of the business.

Mobile device management offers nearly endless benefits to organizations. In addition to simplifying VPN access for approved users, MDM helps protects company data from bad actors via personal and public WiFi connections, and in events of physical theft or loss. 

Some companies allow employees their choice of operating system for their work-issued machines. A MDM platform allows IT to easily manage an OS-diverse fleet of distributed machines, cutting back on labor while increasing employee satisfaction. 

Mobile device management not only increases security, but also may be required for compliance within certain industries or programs. The cost of non-compliance is often far higher than the cost of compliance, so don’t overlook it in your remote IT strategy. 

What about Mobile Application Management?

With MAM, IT can manage certain applications on a device, as well as any company data on the device, but not the entire device or hardware. This solution works particularly well on BYOD (bring-your-own device) environments, where IT admins and business owners may not want exposure to the liability of complete remote access to devices that are personal property of employees. Remotely wiping an employee’s personal device could have legal or financial repercussions for a company. 

Schools often use MAM tools to offer students or teachers a suite of selected apps to download on their personal devices. These apps could include Blackboard programs for course management, Microsoft Teams for lecture meetings, periodical and reference databases, remote testing environments, and more. 

While MDM is a great solution for company-issued devices, many businesses opt for MAM to provide employees with secure access and use of their personal devices for certain purposes. On company-issued devices, you can deploy Outlook and Teams, and control all device settings, including password and PIN requirements. Companies don’t have that level of control over personal devices, but nonetheless can still benefit from employees having the flexibility to monitor company communications on the go. Furthermore, application management tools make it easy to give your users secure access to organization-wide tools, such as email and Teams in a non-obtrusive way. Remember, simplicity is the key to widespread adoption.  

Ready to Secure Your Company’s Remote Devices?

In 2021, configuring a secure remote work environment is more important than ever. Windows Management Experts has been committed to serving the business community since 2008. We offer IT resources for employees at every level of your organization through world-class managed services, project management and staff augmentation, free training webinars, and weekly blog content covering news in the Microsoft world as well as helpful explanations of complex technical topics. 

Check back next week for a further examination of enterprise mobility options, what MDM solutions are on the market, and the powerful MDM tools you may already have access to. If you simply can’t wait, give us a call today at 888-307-0133 to discuss our Enterprise Mobility Services program!

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