As the demand for corporate and enterprise devices increases, effective management of assets, which can number in the tens of thousands, is crucial for organizations. This includes protecting sensitive corporate data on employee devices and accessing important tracking and telemetry data. To assist with this, mobile device management (MDM) software is the ideal tool.
What is MDM? MDM, or mobile device management, is the process of adopting, implementing and managing digital devices within organizations. While originally focused on smartphones, MDM has expanded to include laptops, tablets and more. It’s used to manage company assets like corporate-owned laptops as well as employee-owned devices for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios. The evolution of MDM has been dramatic in recent years, as more businesses expand their digital footprints.
Common MDM features include onboarding of devices, which is required to manage them effectively, and use of internal policies to protect corporate data. MDM services track devices, install and update remote configuration and compliance policies and offer some form of content management system including applications. As more organizations manage multiple devices, more tools have been developed. While MDM is sometimes used as a blanket term for all such tools, EMM, UEM and MAM commonly describe similar services.
Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is an all-encompassing approach to securing and enabling employee use of smartphones and mobile devices. It’s typically used in BYOD and company-owned/personally enabled (COPE) scenarios. Unified endpoint management (UEM) is designed specifically to manage computers and computer operating systems, like Windows, macOS and Linux. Mobile application management (MAM) is used for application control on digital devices. Its primary function is installing, updating and securing applications, though some MAM solutions also offer content management capabilities.
As operating systems become more versatile and form factor agnostic, the need for MDM and MDM-like services to ebb and flow with the needs of organizations becomes essential. MDM is often about the operating system it supports, not the specific device type or form factor. For example, Android is open source and can be built for nearly any device type. The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to hardware compatibility.
Benefits of using MDM include centralized management, improved security compliance, remote monitoring and configuration, and app and content management. MDM helps to increase efficiency, save time and reduce the need to manually support, optimize, secure and manage company assets.
However, choosing the wrong MDM solution can be a challenge, along with implementation, scalability and adding new device types, and migrating to a different MDM. Additionally, employees may resist change and search for ways to bypass or disable MDM restrictions.
Overall, MDM is a vital tool for organizations dealing with corporate and enterprise devices. With the right MDM solution, managing these devices can become more streamlined, efficient, and secure.