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Symantec Enterprise Cloud
Companies are increasingly using mobile devices due to the ease of access they offer. The adoption of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies has also contributed to the rising use of mobile devices. However, enterprise mobility has its own challenges. Organizations have to ensure the security of corporate data while allowing employees to access business resources on company or personal mobile devices.
Mobile device management (MDM) software monitors, manages, and secures all mobile devices connecting to an organization’s enterprise network. It also helps safeguard business data in case any device is lost, stolen, or misused by employees.
A wide range of MDM tools is available on the market, and choosing the one that best meets your needs and budget is important. This guide will help you understand the different factors you must keep in mind when shortlisting a software solution.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What is MDM software?
MDM software is a software solution that helps organizations prevent the misuse of business data and resources by implementing security policies that all devices connecting to the enterprise network must comply with. These compliance checks ensure that only devices registered on the enterprise network can access business data.
The software allows IT administrators to control and manage the policy and configuration settings of network-connected mobile devices, thus preventing the download or use of any unauthorized apps.
Common features of MDM software
Different vendors offer different features in their MDM solutions. Selecting software with the right features is easier when you know what the most common features are and what they do. Here’s a look at some of the common features of these tools.
Allows IT administrators to enroll employees’ mobile devices in the company network. It also lets employees self-enroll their devices via two-factor authentication.
Lets IT administrators remotely install and manage apps for all network-registered mobile devices. It also restricts the use of blacklisted apps.
Helps create user profiles, including name, role, location, and other details, as well as manage policies, such as file sharing and content filtering, for employees in different roles and departments.
Allows IT administrators to remotely access and troubleshoot mobile devices connected to the enterprise network. Admins can also remotely wipe all the data from a mobile device in case it’s lost, stolen, or misused.
Assists users in scanning all network-registered mobile devices to fetch details related to installed apps, hardware, and security certificates.
Lets users configure security policies, such as device lock and passcodes, to protect the data in mobile devices from external threats.
Helps users set access rights to ensure only authorized employees can access sensitive documents. Documents can also be shared with employees, who can view or save them on their mobile devices.
Allows users to encrypt the data stored in all network-registered mobile devices. This ensures that data is shared securely between users connected to the company’s virtual private network (VPN).
Assists users in integrating the software with other IT applications. This provides a single endpoint management console for mobile devices used across the organization.
What type of buyer are you?
Before you start evaluating MDM software options, you'll want to know which buyer category you belong to. Most buyers belong to one of the below categories.
Businesses with low IT security maturity: These buyers don’t have a dedicated in-house IT security team and haven’t made any investments in security systems. They mostly include small businesses (up to 50 employees) that require an MDM solution that’s affordable, easy to set up, and intuitive. They require basic features such as device enrollment, app management, and profile management to secure their employees’ mobile devices.
Businesses with moderate IT security maturity: These buyers are businesses that have made occasional investments in security systems and may also have a small team of in-house IT experts. They are usually midsize businesses (50-250 employees) looking to scale their existing IT infrastructure and security capabilities. They would require additional MDM features such as remote troubleshooting, asset management, security management, content management, and data encryption. These buyers should also ensure that the MDM software they select integrates seamlessly with their existing security systems.
Businesses with high IT security maturity: These buyers have a fully functional in-house team of IT security experts and have made significant investments in security systems. They are usually large enterprises (more than 250 employees) with higher security needs. These buyers could do well with an endpoint security software suite that also covers MDM. They can also look for specific MDM-related features that they want to focus on to bridge the gaps in their current capabilities.
Benefits of MDM software
While some of the benefits of MDM software may be clear from our discussion above, we've listed the most notable ones in this section.
Provides control over mobile devices that use corporate data: MDM software offers enhanced IT control, including configuration, app management, and remote monitoring, over all company- and employee-owned mobile devices using sensitive corporate data. This allows organizations to have complete visibility into the use of corporate data on mobile devices.
Protection against data breaches: MDM software encrypts the sensitive corporate data stored in mobile devices to protect it from external breaches by hackers. It can also remotely wipe the data from any stolen or lost devices, thereby ensuring data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Key considerations when selecting MDM software
Listed below are some important points to consider when purchasing an MDM tool.
Integration with existing IT security systems: Software integration is one of the most crucial factors to consider when purchasing software. Check if the MDM tool you’ve selected can integrate with your existing IT security systems. Integration functionality will ensure seamless data sharing among applications as well as allow you to monitor the security of all systems from a unified MDM console.
Mobile app availability: Check if the MDM system you’re planning to purchase offers mobile apps for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Mobile-ready software will allow you to perform tasks, such as enroll new devices and manage user profiles, even when you’re on the move.
Customer support: Check out the type of support offered by your shortlisted vendors: 24/7, 24/5, or only during business hours. Also, ask about the available support channels, such as email, phone, or live chat. Support services will help you quickly fix any software issues that could lead to data security concerns.
Market trends to understand
Here’s a recent trend in the MDM software market that you should be aware of.
BYOD driving the MDM software market: The growing popularity of BYOD policies is driving the adoption of MDM software among enterprises. BYOD policies allow employees to use their personal laptops, smartphones, or other devices at the workplace, thus improving employee satisfaction and reducing hardware costs for businesses.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and isn’t intended as an endorsement or a recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.