What is mobile device management (MDM)?

Mobile device management refers to any tool or software designed to help IT administrators control and secure mobile devices like smartphones and tablets across an organization. Mobile device management is an important part of enterprise mobility management and endpoint management, especially as more companies adopt Bring Your Own Device policies that allow employees to access company data, files, and applications on their personal devices.

How does mobile device management work?

The two key elements of mobile device management are an MDM server that resides in a data center and an MDM agent that resides on a mobile device. When an IT admin needs to configure a mobile device on a company network, the admin inputs the new policy on the MDM server’s management console. The server than pushes the change to the MDM agent, which applies the changed policy to the mobile device via that device’s built-in APIs. IT departments can also use this MDM server-agent connection to deploy and control apps on managed devices.

What are the benefits of mobile device management?

The most important benefit of mobile device management is information security. Mobile device management protects company data through device-level policies provided by the device manufacturer or platform provider. With the help of these policies, IT administrators can control, secure, and disconnect mobile devices from company networks. For example, MDM allows IT to enable device-wide encryption and automatically lock or wipe a device if it is lost or stolen.

Mobile device management can also facilitate mobile application management by making it easier for IT administrators to deploy, configure, and update mobile apps on company devices or personal employee devices. This simplifies IT management of every mobile device with access to an organization’s network. Other popular features of MDM include mobile device inventory and tracking, password enforcement, whitelisting and blacklisting certain apps, and data encryption enforcement.

How does mobile device management fit into my IT strategy?

If your employees use laptops, smartphones, tablets, or any other mobile device that has access to your company’s files or data, mobile device management is essential. Without MDM in place, a single lost mobile device with access to your network can become a major security issue. If this device has access to private customer information (like personal medical information or credit card numbers) you could be facing costly fees and lawsuits related to compliance violations.

MDM protects you by allowing your IT admin to remotely lock down or wipe a missing mobile device from your office. MDM also makes it easier to implement company-wide updates to business applications or device policies by pushing them from the MDM server.

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