Particularly since 2020 and the global pandemic, mobile devices have become a standard for employees at many organizations.  While these are often thought about as phones and tablets, laptop computers are becoming the norm for user devices so they have the ability to work from home or at the office with the same experience.  It can be challenging to manage these devices roaming all over the globe to ensure that data is safe, and still protected in the event of a lost device.  Enter mobile device management (MDM)

MDM is a type of security software used by IT professionals to monitor, manage, and secure employees’ mobile devices that are deployed across multiple mobile service providers and across multiple mobile operating systems being used in the organization. The goal of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of a mobile communications network while minimizing cost and downtime.

Here are some key features and functions of mobile device management (MDM):

  1. Device Enrollment: Simplifies the process of getting devices registered with the MDM service, often through an automated process that can incorporate company policies. This is critical to ensure that mobile devices have the same level of security that in-office computers do.
  2. Configuration and Control: Allows IT administrators to configure settings on devices remotely, including email, Wi-Fi, VPN, and other necessary enterprise settings that maintain security and connectivity.
  3. Application Management: Helps manage the installation, update, and removal of apps from devices. It can also include the ability to whitelist or blacklist certain apps to ensure only approved applications are used. When devices are taken home, they are often used for multiple purposes.  Having this control can reduce the risk of adding malicious software to a device
  4. Security Management: Provides tools to enforce security policies such as passcodes, device encryption, or the ability to remotely wipe data from devices that are lost or stolen. This is critical if there is any company data or email on the device.
  5. Support and Troubleshooting: Includes remote diagnostics tools to help troubleshoot issues on devices without needing physical access.

Overall, MDM helps protect the organization’s data and maintain user productivity by ensuring that the mobile devices are used in a safe and controlled manner. It’s particularly crucial in environments where employees are using their personal devices for work purposes (a practice known as BYOD – Bring Your Own Device).  In these cases, devices can be segmented so they the personal and business information is not intertwined and in the event you need to remotely wipe a lost or stolen device, you can do so for the company information, and leave the personal information intact.