What Is Mobile Device Management ( MDM )?

Mobile Device Management, also referred to as MDM is basically, a type of security software that is used by an IT department to monitor, manage and secure employees mobile devices. MDM is to secure all the mobile devices that are deployed across multiple mobile service providers and across multiple mobile operating systems being used in the organization. It is about the management of all sorts of mobile devices that include smart phones, tablets as well as laptops, within the workplace.

The Core Purpose of MDM

MDM intends to optimize the functionality and security of all mobile devices within any organization or enterprise. And also protect the corporate network simultaneously. It allows you to distribute applications, data and configuration settings and patches for mobile devices.

The Workflow of Mobile Device Management

Mobile device management is mainly dependent on an endpoint software agent known as an MDM agent. It also relies on an MDM server that resides either on the cloud or inside the business premises.

For the starters, the IT personnel configure device management policies through the server's device management console. The server later pushes these device management policies to the MDM agent on the mobile devices. The built-in APIs of the device's operating system communicate with the MDM agent and those policies are applied. Apart from these management policies, even applications can be deployed to the devices using the MDM server.

What you need in an ideal MDM?

An ideal mobile device management tool:

  • Includes application management, file synchronization and sharing, data security tools and support for either a corporate owned or personally owned device.
  • Is compatible with all the common handheld device operating platforms and applications.
  • Is capable of functioning through multiple service providers.
  • Can be implemented directly over the air.
  • Allows you to deploy next-generation hardware, operating platforms and applications, in quick time.
  • Allows easy addition or removal of mobile devices from the system so as to ensure optimum network efficiency and security.

Features of Mobile Device Management

Through the built-in APIs, mobile operating system developers and device manufacturers can control what a mobile device management software can or can not do on the device. As vendors have started to realize its potential, they now configure their devices to observe almost similar functionalities with MDMs. Some of the common features of mobile device management include:

  • Device tracking and inventory
  • Establishing an enterprise app store and app distribution:
  • Enforcement of passwords and data encryption
  • Blacklisting and whitelisting of apps
  • Remote wipe

MDM Solutions

Most mobile device management solutions offer end-to-end security to organizations. Most of the MDM software can be expected to have the below listed features:

  • Management and support of mobile applications
  • Mobile policy management
  • Inventory management
  • Security management
  • Telecom service management

Need for Mobile Device Management

Along with employees, most businesses are also finding that it is promising to let employees work remotely on their own devices without losing any productivity. And this concept of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or work remotely is one reason why there is a need for safe and secure mobile device management software.

No doubt BYOD has its own benefits like reduced equipment costs, increased employee satisfaction, and efficiency, decreased IT staff burden with employees who maintain their own equipment and reduced office space square footage since workers can be off-site with their own device. The risk in BYOD is that of data being exposed to security threats or threats from malicious programs. And this is where the role of mobile device management begins.

Check this out: [Infographic] All You Need To Know About BYOD

Big Names utilizing MDM

Big names in the corporate industry like Apple, Spiceworks, etc. are making good use of the mobile device management system. Apple has made it easier to manage iOS devices on corporate networks so that the IT department of the organization can lay its focus on transforming the way employees work. iOS provides tools that make it easy for the IT department to manage and secure corporate data, App Store and in-house enterprise apps; still allowing the employees with freedom and flexibility of using their iOS devices the way they always have. MDM enables productivity for all; both the employees and the organization.

Published on May 19, 2018
Harshit Agarwal
Written by Harshit Agarwal
Harshit Agarwal is a serial entrepreneur, passionate about end-to-end mobile app security. As a Microsoft Venture Accelerator alumni and CEO of Appknox, he works with enterprises globally ranging from some of the top Fintech companies to Fortune 100 businesses in setting up continuous mobile application security processes.


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