How mobile device management works
In today’s world, everyone is one the go. Technology has certainly evolved in the past several decades to be able to accommodate this through the creation of tablets, mobile phones, and other devices that can be used away from the home or office. However, mobile device management capabilities have not really kept up in the business world. This is because many business owners don’ t understand the benefits of mobile device management capabilities, and how monitoring these devices can help their organization.
Mobile device management (MDM) is software that allows IT administrators to control, secure and enforce policies on smartphones, tablets and other endpoints. MDM is a core component of enterprise mobility management (EMM) which also includes mobile application management, identity and access management and enterprise file sync and share. The intent of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of mobile devices within the enterprise while simultaneously protecting the corporate network.
Mobile device management relies on endpoint software called an MDM agent and an MDM server that lives in a data center (either on premises or in the cloud).
Similarly, IT administrators can deploy applications to managed devices through the MDM server.
Modern MDM products support not only smartphones but also tablets, Windows 10 and MacOS computers and even some internet of things devices. The practice of using MDM to control PCs is known as unified endpoint management.
Mobile device management features
The developers of mobile operating systems and manufacturers of mobile devices control what MDM software can and can't do on their devices through their APIs. As a result, mobile device management has become a commodity, with most vendors offering a similar set of core capabilities. MDM vendor differentiation comes by integrating mobile device management servers with other enterprise software.
Common mobile device management features include:
- device inventory and tracking;
- app distribution and/or an enterprise app store;
- remote wipe;
- password enforcement;
- app whitelisting and blacklisting; and
- data encryption enforcement.