It’s 5 O’clock – Do You Know Where Your Company Phone Is?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is no longer a “nice-to-have” for businesses. As the world has gone increasingly mobile, businesses have been faced with the challenge of implementing and managing a mobile workforce. According to a Forbes survey from 2015, 81% of CEOs see mobile technologies as being strategically important for their enterprises.

A strong MDM system will allow for easy device onboarding, configuration, asset inventory and management, remote support and troubleshooting, while of course keeping both the device and the data secure. As the world of mobile technology has evolved and mobile devices have become ever more critical, most companies have established a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for their employees. The adoption of BYOD policies requires a MDM system flexible enough to cover a wide array of devices and software platforms. Most good MDM systems will include support for the “Big Three”, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone and although Microsoft is no longer a significant player in the world of smartphone operating systems, there are still some legacy Windows Phone devices and even some newer devices that are being targeted exclusively at the enterprise market.

What to Look for in a MDM System

Device Onboarding – One core component of any successful business is to increase efficiency and the same should be true of any strong MDM system. With so many unique devices on the market, users need to be able to enroll and activate their devices without the help of a dedicated IT resource. This activation process should include users being able to access their enterprise email, required VPNs, Wi-Fi networks, and other content they would need to access remotely. This same MDM system should be able to load devices in bulk if, for instance, the company is upgrading employees to a new iPhone model. Mass rollouts of updates and core applications in bulk to the company’s mobile devices is also a key component of a strong MDM.

Asset Management – A goal of any good IT department is to make technology easier to use for the end user and as such, any tools to make their jobs easier will naturally translate into a better experience for everyone. The ability to view and manage all endpoints from a single admin dashboard is a feature to look for when considering MDM solutions. The IT Administrator should be able to delegate device management out to different departments or regions. Lastly, the system should provide detailed analytics and reports concerning the devices and apps installed.

Troubleshooting – Devices and users will always require troubleshooting and a good MDM system will allow your company’s IT resource to remotely support and troubleshoot mobile devices. Requesting information from the device, sending messages, locking the device, and wiping the device should all be available. One great feature to keep an eye out for is a self-service solution for the more mundane tasks such as password resets.

Security – By far the most important feature of any MDM platform is security. You need to ensure that both the device itself and any sensitive data on it is secured as well as having a strong Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy in place. Enforcing complex device and app-level passcodes is also essential. The admin dashboard should be able to configure security policies including app blacklists, device pairing, Wi-Fi security and others. As phishing and malware attacks grow more advanced, the system should be able to monitor each device for threats and perform a remote lock or device wipe if needed.

Ok, so Which MDM is Best?

There are many strong MDM options available, but one of our favorites is AirWatch. AirWatch began in 2003 managing wireless endpoints and rugged devices. As mobile devices began to proliferate through the corporate world, AirWatch realized the impact this would have on enterprises and shifted their focus to Mobile Device Management. In 2014, after completing one of the largest Series A funding rounds in history, they were acquired by VMware, a global leader in cloud infrastructure and digital workspace technology for $1.54 billion. AirWatch is a market leader in Mobile Device Management and their solutions not only excel at the four key features discussed, but they also offer a wide range of other features, products, and services that make them one of the best.