Device Management

Everything You Need to Know About Mobile Device Management

Mobile devices usage has increased tremendously in the last couple of years. Today, there are over 5.29 billion unique mobile device users across the globe, and the number is growing at a rate of 1.9 percent each year. This trend, along with today’s mobile workforce, has enabled businesses to create, scale, and improve their device offerings while delivering faster, more efficient service to customers.

But while mobile devices can enhance overall productivity, when unmanaged, they can pose various risks to organizations. The lack of control and visibility over mobile endpoints and how these devices are managed can cause inefficiencies and security risks.

A Mobile Device Management (MDM) application or solution can help developers, security experts, and executives to utilize a unified control and manage the mobile devices used across the organization. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about MDM, including the challenges involved, and help you understand how you can implement it in your organization to reap the benefits.

What is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a software approach that lets organizations remotely monitor, manage, and secure their business apps used on different mobile devices within their network. It enables quicker troubleshooting diagnosis through remote control, powerful security measures, and enhanced monitoring of business’s device usage.

How MDM Has Changed Over Time

For years, mobile device management has continued to evolve from focusing on the hardware and operating system of a device to an even more data-focused model of enterprise mobility management (EMM). Modern MDM solutions can now identify new devices connected to the network instantly and apply immediate commands or settings to simplify the policy execution.

However, even with such notable transformation, MDM is bottlenecked by various factors, including:

Feature Parity: Mobile device management and hardware often come from different companies, which means that there’s a lack of feature parity between the hardware and the features available in the MDM software. This set of variable features based on the operating system and device itself can also be confusing to use.

Complete Control Over Devices: A core element of MDM is remote control and management of all devices. It provides visibility over all devices from any location to ensure your data is transmitted securely across networks. However, MDM is unable to offer complete control over consumer devices (which are made for consumer purposes and not businesses) and experience issues like software bloat, security risks, full network access control, restriction on lockdown, as well as management of the operating system and hardware updates. This can hinder the transmission of critical data security, making it difficult to manage security risks.

Complex and Time-Consuming Set Up: Things can get complicated when dealing with multiple devices, operating systems, tools, and applications. Manual provisioning in MDM, which is still common among businesses, is not only time-consuming but also tedious for the IT or operations teams who have to spend hours ensuring every device is up and running correctly. Also, a lot of resources are needed to ensure it is functioning properly.

Highly Regulated Industries: The number of regulations that businesses must be compliant with can easily become overwhelming. Failure to become compliant can become an organization’s worst nightmare and lead to lawsuits, non-compliance legal punishments, loss of market-share, fines, a plunge in stock prices, and more.

An MDM solution is effective at rapidly achieving surface-level compliance. However, highly regulated industries need more control, which traditional MDMs may fail to offer. Issues may arise, with risky issues such as getting text factor backup codes, encrypting SSH keys, or reducing the time data is stored on a particular device. Since these security objectives are not solved by MDM, they’re often ignored, which may pose a security risk to the company’s systems.

A Different Mindset to MDM

So, is there a solution to these problems?

Unlike traditional MDM offerings, Mason designs and owns its own hardware, and users can take advantage of custom enterprise Android OS and tooling to build Android-based products. They get complete end-to-end control over the device and manage the OS and all device capabilities via a single platform. You can complete setup within minutes, deploy your OS configurations, update on your terms, and streamline your workflows seamlessly.

Challenges of Mobile Device Management

While MDM solves an immense challenge for your mobile devices, it can pose serious risks if poorly implemented. Here are the most common MDM challenges organizations are likely to face.

Mobile Device and Data Security Risks

Introducing more devices and endpoints into your company means more ways for hackers to potentially exploit those endpoints and devices. And since anti-malware systems for mobile devices and tablets are less comprehensive than those for desktops and laptops, smartphones and similar devices are more likely to put your business data at risk. It’s no surprise that the exponential increase in cybersecurity contributed to a 12 percent CAGR in cybersecurity IT spending in 2021.

Implementing MDM solutions can help close vulnerable security gaps. A more comprehensive solution like Mason can help you secure your mobile devices by encrypting confidential information and separating company data and personal information on any devices. You can deploy the software to your dedicated devices and fully control apps and OS while updating security systems on your terms.

Absence of Scalable Models for Business Operations

Scalability becomes an issue when the mobile environment becomes home to many devices, all working, gathering, and processing data at the same time from remote locations globally.

A robust mobile infrastructure solution with unified security, connectivity, and management is the only solution to this problem. Whether you’re improving the workflows of existing teams or offloading everything onto Mason, to help you reach any scale. Offering efficiency in every step of the journey and enabling customers to grow fearlessly with services ranging from provisioning and kitting to warehousing and fulfillment.  

Creating a Reliable Infrastructure

The IT infrastructure, especially in MDM, is a broad field that contains different components including network and security structure, business apps, storage and servers, operating systems, and databases. Some of these core components need robust platform and tooling, and careful management, which is often a challenge for many organizations. Businesses require a more flexible and responsive system to bridge the gaps between business and operations.

The mobile solution must become more flexible to improve business mobile infrastructure. It should be easy to optimize all components in the infrastructure and have the capability to handle a variety of apps and the needs of the users. Mason offers reliable enterprise hardware and OS, that can be managed seamlessly via a platform or through over 500 API’s, to help you control everything and create a customized device for your app.  

System Integration

To successfully add remote devices to your business, you need to be able to connect with other systems. Integrating MDM with other applications can be a challenging task. The data transfer from one app to another might lead to errors and consume a lot of time. Also, during the system integration process, some fields might transfer flawlessly while others might not.

Mobile devices need to synchronize with other systems. Mason provides easy integration with other tools like inventory management software to maintain and improve existing workflows.

What You Need To Know When Choosing the Right Mobile Device Management Solution

MDM solutions provide security, management, and reporting for mobile devices that access your network. Unfortunately, it’s becoming a crowded market with many vendors that put their own spin on this critical security solution.

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the right MDM solution.

Understand What Endpoints You Need To Manage

The categories of mobile devices have multiplied over time. If you ensure you know what devices need to be managed, you’ll be in a better position to find the MDM solution that best fits your needs. An ongoing issue companies face is procuring the same hardware or OS when scaling their mobile solution. After picking hardware and OS versions, determine who will implement the solution and who will manage it in an ongoing manner. Alternatively, you can go for a mobile infrastructure solution that is capable of managing all kinds of mobile infrastructure needs from hardware lifecycle and procurement to fleet management, provisioning, connectivity and reverse logistics.

Device Security Management

The main reason why MDM services are important for companies is their security implications. When choosing the right MDM software, it’s important to get a product that simplifies your security efforts. Go for a solution that takes into consideration the sensitivity of the content stored, containment capabilities, and more. It should also give insights into the security posture of all your devices including passcodes, encryption status, biometrics, OS and browser versions, configuration, and authentication. Don’t forget to consider the security and privacy rules and regulations your software will have to comply with, including control over updates.

On-Premise or Cloud Hosting Provisioning and Capability

There are two main options when it comes to MDM; on-premise or cloud. While your organization’s needs and regulations greatly dictate the type of MDM solutions you’ll need, it’s common to see most organizations going the cloud-based way. 

Most MDM solutions are cloud-based, so you get things up and running without spending much on additional hardware, which is the case if you decide to host your infrastructure on-premise. With a cloud-based MDM solution, you get access to mobile security and the ability to focus on your core business instead of on mobile security. If you understand where your servers are located, how they’re provisioned, and the scalability options available, then you can have the system running in minutes after commands are issued.

Policy Compliance and Reporting

If your organization adheres to strict compliance regulations such as HIPAA, NIST, PCI DSS, or SOC 2, you need to ensure that all devices are in compliance. You should also ensure you have complete control over updates on the device and OS level including lock down capabilities. This helps to reduce the risk of data breaches and prevent unsecured and vulnerable devices from accessing sensitive data.

Compliance begins with strong access to device and security controls. To reduce the risk of data regulatory fines, ensure your corporate policies align with your system to ensure you have updated and compliance devices to access corporate applications. 

Budget and Scalability

Your budget is typically one of the critical factors to consider when choosing an MDM solution. Consider vendors that offer higher flexibility and scalability to any type of business, considering every organization’s future growth. Your ideal solution should offer great features and even greater control, while allowing business owners to purchase additional services as the business grows and scales. Depending on your current device management requests and additional features your organization may need, a scalable alternative is a must. Without the ability to scale, you’ll incur heavy long term costs.

Mason’s Mobile Infrastructure and How It Can Help Your Business

Figuring out all the bases to cover when it comes to MDM is not an easy process to navigate. This is made more complex when you consider the entire mobile infrastructure needs for your business. That’s why Mason is here to support your organization.

Here are some tasks you can achieve with Mason’s mobile infrastructure:

Secure Management of Your Devices

Using Mason’s fleet management and support suite, businesses can ensure their devices and data are secure. The system is easy to set up, deploys apps and OS configurations in real-time, and streamlines your workflows through the platform or APIs. It also allows you to manage everything remotely, from updates to remote actions on your device fleet.

Streamline Operations and Scale

With the help of Mason’s hardware capability, you can transform hardware operations efficiently and introduce cloud-based elasticity when deploying your devices. Grow your operations with handy services such as provisioning, kitting, and shipping while staying connected with Mason’s global cellular data plans. Reach the scale you need, efficiently.

Reliable Infrastructure (Enterprise Hardware and OS)

Mason features enterprise-grade hardware with an Android OS that is secure and customizable. You can control everything under one platform, from boot-up animation to the hardware functionality, to create perfect devices for your app and customer experiences. This reliable enterprise hardware is a secure and stable foundation to build your complete mobile solution.

Seamless Integration

Mason’s hardware and OS integrates seamlessly with tools such as inventory management solutions. You can leverage APIs to maintain and improve existing workflows and even support devices in the field from a centralized portal or through your CI/CD pipeline.

Organizations should be able to easily deploy, manage, and update their mobile devices continuously. Mason’s robust infrastructure and tools allow you to build smart and sustainable products that align with your business needs and can scale for you. Ready to get started? Request a demo today!