10 Things to Consider As You Choose Your Mobile Device Management (MDM) SolutionApril 5, 2017 No Comments
Featured article by Nikhil Nayak, Product Analyst, ManageEngine
The past decade has seen an increasing trend in employees using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to aid in their work. This trend has fostered organizations to adopt practices like bring-your-own-device (BYOD) with hopes of improving employee productivity and efficiency. There is, however, a downside to this because such practices pose major risks concerning corporate data security and data management. In order to ward off these risks, enterprises seek out reliable mobile device management (MDM) solutions.
There are many solutions out there, but selecting the right solution for your enterprise may seem challenging — especially if you’re not aware of what to look out for. Here is a list of 10 things to consider as you choose your MDM solution.
1. Understand your business needs and security standards
Every industry is different in its functioning. Defense, health care, IT, retail and others each have their own security requirements. For example, a nation’s defense sector will have far more protocols and security clearance requirements when compared with its logistics industry. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of your industry’s standards to ensure that there is no ambiguity while performing research on the available features of an MDM solution.
2. Know what’s in store while embracing mobility
An enterprise that decides to go mobile should be aware of the associated pros and cons. Let’s say that your organization supports BYOD, which allows employees to use their personal mobile devices to perform company-related tasks such as accessing work-related content. Employees would want the ability to complete routine tasks from their smartphones during their downtime so they can focus on mission-critical work while at their desks. This invariably poses a risk in the form of data leakage due to factors such as malware or device theft.
3. Understand app management and security
Managing mobility in organizations involves combating security risks concerning devices and apps. Existing security awareness programs are targeted toward desktop users. If an enterprise is looking to adapt to a mobile environment, these programs have to be revisited to focus on the usage and risks involved with mobile devices. An enterprise should educate its employees to use trusted sources and avoid suspicious third-party sites for app downloads. It should discourage the habit of tapping “Continue” during app installations. An ideal MDM solution has features that prevent suspicious apps from being installed.
4. Segment your organization based on level of trust
Segments in an enterprise can be either hierarchical or departmental. Regardless, certain employees might have access to data that won’t be available to others, such as a taxi service provider whose drivers require passengers’ pickup and drop-off locations. Their mobile devices can be provisioned to show only this data on an app. However, their superiors can access further details such as passenger email ID and age, which they can use to make data-driven decisions. To maintain tiered protection, top-level employees require stronger encryption and more flexibility.
5. Set policies and restrictions for devices and apps
An ideal MDM solution would let you push policies onto mobile devices. By setting up policies, you can restrict certain device functions. Consider the following situation: Your company has come up with a breakthrough product idea in a market with no other offering that is even remotely similar to yours. Your R&D team is working on materializing this product. To ensure that there is not even the slightest data leak, you need to disable data distribution by preventing local printing or data storage.
6. Identify non-compliant devices
Jailbroken and rooted devices always pose a greater risk because they’re an easy target for malware and cyberattacks. You need a system that can quarantine devices so threats cannot spread after detecting malware, app risks, network attacks and other threats. Enterprise data is regularly compromised simply because employees’ devices aren’t compliant with the enterprise’s security policies. An ideal MDM solution should detect whether a device is compliant. It should also let you device lock or remote wipe non-compliant devices and bar them from your organization’s network.
7. Create awareness among users
Employees might find an MDM solution to be an invasion of their privacy. While this isn’t true, you must take steps to ensure that there are no misconceptions regarding user privacy invasion. An enterprise has to educate its employees on the need for securing mobile devices, while also making them feel comfortable about the MDM setup. This can be done either by developing an end-user license agreement (EULA) or a general acceptance agreement that is shared and signed by the employees.
8. Audit regularly for compliance
Reporting and auditing are common approaches for guaranteeing compliance with regulations and organizational policies. In order to prove compliance, you would have to run regular audits. Along with running regular audits, an ideal MDM solution should be able to push secure apps and enable patching and updates for both devices and apps to ensure that the devices are compliant.
9. Embrace new technology with a bit of caution
There are plenty of device manufacturers out there, each running its own flavor of operating system — be it Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry, Symbian and others. And the variety doesn’t stop there. Every day, enhancements are made to devices to make them faster, increase their storage space and more. To make sure that your employees have what they need to be effective, you would have to survey and study every new device enhancement and app technology. Ideally, the bugs have been worked out before spending your money.
10. Deploy a good MDM solution
In mobile device management, no single solution is one-size-fits-all. An MDM solution is customizable to match an individual organization’s requirements. Many industries such as health care, retail and IT can use MDM to their advantage through its ability to cater to their unique needs. Ask your vendor to help you adopt and establish effective day‐to‐day MDM practices.
Nikhil Nayak is a product analyst at ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company and division of Zoho Corporation. For more information on ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, please visit www.manageengine.com; follow the company blog at http://blogs.manageengine.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ManageEngine and on Twitter @ManageEngine.
APPLICATION INTEGRATION, DATA and ANALYTICS , MOBILE