What is Mobile Device Management (MDM)?
Mobile device management (MDM) helps organizations locate, secure, and control company-owned devices. MDM tracks company-owned barcode scanners, smartphones, and laptops with ease. The more devices deployed, the more organizations rely on mobile device management.
Think of MDM software as a remote control hub for IT managers. Every employee-owned device is on screen. Owner name, location data, battery life, and installed apps are visible in one place. With MDM, large scale security and proactive problem solving is much easier.
While you can purchase MDM software licenses as a standalone product, it’s commonly offered as part of a larger, cloud-based enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution – including application management, mobile content management, support of mobile applications, policy enforcement, asset and inventory tracking, and network security. It’s amazing how much data you can track. Let’s dive in with Mobile Device Management 101.
What Does Mobile Device Management Track and Control?
- Device Owner Name
- Real-Time Location Data via GPS
- Serial Number and Model of Device
- Device Operating System
- Applications Installed
- Applications in Use
- Application Distribution
- Whitelisting and Blacklisting Applications
- Total Remaining Storage
- Remaining Battery Charge
- Battery Health
- Network Connectivity Strength
- Employee Authentication
- Ticket Management
- Remote File Sync
- Screen and Video Capture
- Remote Wipe
- Data Encryption
A better question might be what doesn’t MDM track? With this level of remote control, it’s never been easier to keep enterprise devices organized – especially when the number of devices and users gets downright chaotic.
Remote support is critical to business mobility. IT leaders can identify, troubleshoot, and fix device issues quickly, no matter where the device owner is based. Full control of devices and apps helps improve worker productivity, serving up huge cost savings for mobilized businesses.
As the internet of things (IoT) continues to revolutionize both B2B and B2C supply chain models, mobile device management will be a part of that evolution as well. It’s a booming industry, so responsible IT and operational leaders should be paying very close attention.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) Solutions
With many enterprises operating on a single network, mobile device management solutions bundle mobile security and device management in one product. In addition to remote support capabilities, an MDM platform can improve team collaboration, training, and monitor employee app usage.
Is it a one-size-fits-all solution? How MDM is implemented depends on the individual company’s device ownership structure, size, and budget.
One License per Device
Associating one mobile device with each user? One license per device works very well. If a business is only deploying MDM on smartphones and not introducing other devices into the mix, this is the best choice (especially for SMBs and growing operations).
Single User License
When more than one device is in play per user, it’s better to protect them under a single user license. This saves businesses from the inconveniences that one license per device can create in large scale enterprises with hundreds and thousands of devices. This option will cost more up front, but the long-term cost savings as more and more devices are adopted are substantial.
BYOD and Mobile Device Management
You’re likely familiar with the term “bring your own device” (BYOD). Personal computer devices are being used more and more at work. A LOT more in fact. According to Global Market Insights, the BYOD marketplace is on pace to hit $366 billion by 2022.
The widespread use of personal smartphones, laptops, and tablets on a corporate network has shown positive results overall. BYOD eliminates the cost of acquiring “work-only” devices. It’s easier for employees to use the devices they already know. Theft and loss are also greatly reduced with BYOD.
How does MDM for BYOD work? It’s a natural fit. Companies secure, track, and deploy apps to personal devices – and employees are happier and more productive using a familiar device. If this sounds a little “Big Brother” to you, MDM technology can create a work profile on each device to keep apps, accounts, and content for work separate from a personal profile.
Is BYOD for everyone? Of course not. Significant risks related to data loss and users installing apps with security flaws are still prevalent. There is a ton of room for growth and education before BYOD is adopted everywhere. The bottom line is that MDM makes BYOD much easier.
Mobile Device Management: Android OS Migration
Windows OS support is ending in 2020 for enterprise networks. In the interest of uptime, security, and efficiency, mobile devices that are critical to businesses (such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, and printers) will need to upgrade to Android-capable devices. It’s the fastest growing enterprise operating system, with good reason. Android is regularly updated and optimized for speed and security. And without any major alternative operating systems to Google’s, the reality is that businesses need to migrate to Android or risk falling behind.
Mobile Device Management software makes deployment of the latest Android OS a breeze. You can:
- Stage How You Want: Configure the network via manual barcode scanning, automatic enrollment over the cloud, or zero-touch staging.
- Limit Disruptions to Your Business: Email, contacts, calendar, applications, and security tools can be rolled out in bulk without user intervention.
- Automated OS Upgrade Deployment: Whether you have corporate-owned or BYOD Android devices, MDM can automate OS updates in seconds.
How Much Does MDM Deployment Cost?
To absolutely no one’s surprise, a full-scale MDM deployment costs a fortune – it’s a massive undertaking. MDM deployment prices have a very wide range, as it is a complex technology solution with hard and soft costs. Depending on the license scenario and size of the organization, the range can stretch from $4 per device per year all the way to several hundred per device with perpetual licensing.
In addition to the deployment costs, the hard costs of implementing mobile device management include the costs of potential new hardware to run it (Android friendly), initial support expenditures, testing, and outsourced MDM services.
Lastly, MDM has hidden costs with extended troubleshooting/support, future installations, and additional resources (employees, training) to support the product.
The expenses add up quick. But the long-term cost savings from increased uptime, security, employee productivity, and loss prevention have even greater potential.
Best Mobile Device Management Tools and Vendors
So we’ve established the importance, use cases, and cost of mobile device management. What about vendors?
It’s a safe prediction that MDM software is not going to be developed in-house for most companies in the near future. Evaluation and research time!
A massive number of vendors do MDM. The number of vendors that do MDM extremely well is much smaller. Sophos, VMware Airwatch, BlackBerry, Citrix, XenMobile, Codeproof, IBM MaaS360, Jamf, and MobileIron are on many best-of lists.
At Carlton, we have strategic MDM partnerships with SOTI and Ivanti (formerly Wavelink). Both are excellent, global MDM companies with many overlapping strengths, so we tailor our recommendation based on individual customer needs.
We facilitate technology solutions for companies in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, retail, and transportation and logistics. The customers with MDM in play are in a different league.
Mobility management is here to stay, whether you’re ready to accept that reality or not. You can research EMM and MDM solutions all day, but the final piece of the puzzle is your business needs. We can certainly help get you pointed in the right direction on a quick call.
Get in touch – we’ve learned a thing or two about MDM after 20+ years.