MDM: The Wave of the Future for Businesses

10/18/2013 By
The business world’s adoption of mobile technology is what Forbes calls unprecedented. By 2015, they estimate there will be 7.4 billion wireless devices out there. This creates an interesting conundrum for companies looking to utilize employee-owned equipment to create a digital workplace. How do they go about synchronizing devices safely to get everyone on the same page?

Mobile device management allows businesses to create and manage a network regardless of the user-side device. The goal is to establish company connectivity that is both productive and cost-effective.

MDM: The Wave of the Future for Businesses

How MDM Works

The typical mobile device management system utilizes a server to send out commands. Mobile devices contain a client-side element that receives and implements these commands based on the operating system of the mobile device. Each device goes through a network enrollment process, according to Microsoft. The core software platform detects the device in the network and sends out settings to keep them connected.

Bring Your Own Device?

When you look at the base concept behind MDM, the challenges seem overwhelming. With smartphones, tablets and laptops, how can a system create a cohesive platform that allows network users to choose the tool they want, and secure it enough for the transmission and storage of sensitive data?

The functioning of a mobile device management system is reliant on the platform, not the specific device. That is why the software works with many different formats. Not all mobile products are MDM compatible either, but as the popularity of BYOD grows, modern smartphones and tablets are including this feature. Operating systems like iOS have a MDM framework built-in to allow for seamless communication with third-party vendors, according to Apple.

Security is a concern no matter what network a business uses. The steps to protect data are the same with MDM as they are with most multiuser platforms. Companies require employees to create unique passwords. The network administrator has access to the device should it go missing and can remove any sensitive information. This works in favor of the user, as well, because removal wipes all information from the device, protecting personal data.

Privacy is the biggest issue that comes up with employees. MDM systems work on device location – 24/7, so an employer always knows where that person is whether working or not. Designers are looking to improve options and allow locating to turn off when the employee is off duty.

Why MDM is the Way of the Future

Versatility makes this option appealing for businesses. Blackberry's MDM functionality is described as one platform capable of managing both corporate-owned and BYOD devices together, for example.

Ultimately, cost-efficiency pulls companies in this direction. The BYOD approach has the potential to save a lot of money for corporations that don’t have to supply employees with mobile devices. Between loss management and equipment upgrades, the implementation of MDM is a cost-saving tool that requires just the initial system investment.

Currently, 74 percent of companies allow some type of BYOD practice, explains Forbes. That means the business world is already in the game. With a little tweaking to improve employee privacy issues, MDM is looking like the best option for businesses in the future.

Author Bio:
Hannah Collins is a PR specialist with a knack for helping small businesses see the bigger picture. She enjoys being a freelance writer as well as reading about the newest gadgets and tech news.
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