Surprisingly, if you use Apple’s iCloud to add/remove devices from your account, share family iTunes/App Store purchases, calendars, photos, restrict a kid’s device access/usage, or ever needed to locate or remote wipe a device, you’ve already had a very basic introduction on how Mobile Device Management (MDM) works.
The same basic features iCloud employs to manage personal/family devices, applications, and data, are some of the same features that would benefit a team or small business that is concerned about how to best centrally manage devices, applications, and data.
Here is a breakdown of the foundational features of Mobile Device Management (or Enterprise Mobility Management for you purists) and how your business can benefit from adding Mobile Device Management to your IT strategy.
Here is a basic definition of Mobile Device Management
The administration of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers, laptops and desktop computers. MDM is usually implemented with the use of a third party product that has management features for particular vendors of mobile devices.
Like I mentioned before, services like iCloud can do very basic Mobile Device Management, but there are many business-level 3rd-Party applications that specialize is making sure devices are configured and users operation devices in accordance with company IT policy. In other words, if small business owners take the time to outline their IT policy (What applications team members can download, what files members have access to, how members work on secure files, and how to protect data on devices), MDM applications can make sure users and devices stay in compliance.
At the core of any MDM strategy is the people who will be using the devices. Setting up new users with a device that already has email loaded, approved applications installed, the files they have access to loaded, and device security in place, can reduce to time it takes a new user to get up to speed, as well as reduce the manpower it takes to manually setup each and every device.
If your team/business utilizes a core set of applications and tools, you can use MDM applications to manage application licenses, as well as remotely install, manage, and withdraw applications without end-user interaction. You can also prohibit users from installing non-approved applications or visiting restricted sites that don’t comply with company policy (rhymes with Facebook).
Doesn’t matter if the company owns the device or users BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), you can manage devices so that they secure. MDM applications can monitor the health and overall device lifecycle to better strategize when devices need to be replaced or upgraded. You can manage software updates so all users are on the same operating system.
You can identify security threats (hackers, viruses and malware/adware), as well as enforce security polices (stronger passwords, device backup and encryption). If a device is lost or stolen, MDM applications allow for remote locating as well as removing sensitive and secure data. If you aren’t sure about how to do then there are plenty of companies that can offer you their services to help protect you against malware. You can read more here.
Instead of users managing their own files, documents and file structure, which can wreak havoc on managing document versioning, and file clutter, MDM applications and give users secure access to the team’s already standardized file structure so team members are on the same Pages (pun intended) when collaborating. Again, if a computer is ever compromised, MDM applications include the ability to remove sensitive data to keep company files out of the wrong hands.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “With all those features, my small business or tiny team of one can’t possibly afford to deploy a MDM solution”. Think again, there are some pretty solid solutions like Jamf Now that cater to small businesses (like mine #AskMeHowIKnow) and start at around $2/device/month.
In the end, Mobile Device Management applications can be very robust and offer business owners the ability to quickly onboard new users and deploy devices without the help of an entire IT team, but at the same time, keep users and devices secure like an IT team worked its magic.
Can your small business/team take advantage of a Mobile Device Management platform?