Mobile and digital technologies have made inroads in the world of SMBs. The profound usage of smartphones and other handheld devices have compelled them to rethink their device and data management strategies to ensure security from cyber-attacks, malware, hackers, ransomware and the entire threat landscape! Mobile Device Management software can be of immense help in a number of aspects.
With the insurgence of remote workforce, the reliance on enterprise mobility and software applications have tremendously increased. Today, most SMBs consider mobile and handheld devices as the backbone of their business. In order to remain round-the-clock productive, competitive and efficient, it is mandatory to stay informed, connected and well-communicated, which is practically not possible without accessing the right information at the right time for the right business purpose – of course with the help of mobile phones loaded with apt enterprise apps.
Although mobile devices have made their presence felt in small and medium business sectors, the fact that they are prone to get lost, stolen or misplaced, cannot be ignored. These portable, light-weight and handy mobile devices carrying valuable corporate information need to be secured to prevent any sort of data leakage or misuse. On top of that, the growing intensity of cyber-attacks and expansion of treat landscape sum up the immense risk factors associated with corporate data abuse. This is where Mobile Device Management makes an entrance as the best possible solution.
What is Mobile Device Management?
Mobile Device Management is a software that comes with multiple features and capabilities, which enable the company’s IT team to control and supervise a fleet of devices, enrolled under the MDM solution. It allows the IT admin to perform a multitude of tasks from a remote dashboard, without being physically present at the devices’ location.
Apart from managing, securing and monitoring devices, enterprise apps and company content, an MDM software also allows the IT admin to perform a multitude of tasks like enforcing security and usage policies, tracking device locations, locking down the devices in kiosk mode, wiping device data remotely, setting passcode and a lot more.
Irrespective of the device-ownership model (employee-owned or corporate-owned), an MDM software can prove to be super-beneficial for all kinds of business operating with different work environments.
Why should small and medium sized companies care more about an MDM solution?
MDM software is quickly becoming a necessity for businesses of all size. SMBs should definitely care more about it for a simple yet prominent reason. Cybersecurity threat landscape is affecting both the large organizations as well as the SMB world but the SMBs are more vulnerable and prone to the increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks and threats than their bigger counterparts for multiple reasons.
This is why. The IT teams in SMBs are overworked – their hands are generally full of responsibilities like deploying IT policies, providing IT support to in-house and offshore teams, resolving IT issues, ensuring network stability, server maintenance, enforcing security compliance and so on. Often in the midst of these everyday tasks, the most crucial aspects go unnoticed; like, ensuring corporate information security, setting data and device usage policies, network security, installing software and app updates and patches, establishing data security protocols and so on.
So, ideally speaking, these are the common challenges that SMBs face without an MDM software:
- Absence of robust data security framework
- Unchecked usage of multi-platform mobile devices
- Lack of data-sharing and communication policies
- Rampant usage of apps, data and websites
- Increased chances of data loss, abuse and hacking
- Unauthorized access to corporate data
- Unsupervised content-sharing practices
No matter how big or small the business is, implementing a robust and powerful MDM solution becomes indispensable to manage and secure company-owned devices as well as the data stored inside them.
Multiple business benefits that an MDM can offer to SMBs
According to experts and their reports, SMBs are the favourite target for cybercriminals and 60% of attacks are intended for them. But with an MDM in place, one can do away with the majority of risk factors. Check out how.
Define device usage and network accessibility: Company IT admins can seamlessly enroll the selected devices in a chosen MDM software, which will enable them to take total control of those devices from a remote MDM dashboard. This will allow the IT admin to decide if the enrolled devices should be used just for work purposes or some amount of flexibility can be allotted for personal usage. An MDM solution also allows the IT admin to choose what kinds of devices to enroll within the office network and operational framework, and it also helps the IT admin to set the device for a single work purpose while locking it down in a kiosk mode with work-related apps and features. Through MDM, IT admin can enforce device users to select and log into a secured Wi-Fi network and can also manage the network accessibility from a remote location. This proactively prevents data overages, improves employee productivity, secures network access, and drives work efficiency and precision at all levels.
Develop information access and sharing policy: Corporate data consists of sensitive and critical business, customer, employee and stakeholder information, which if compromised can lead to tremendous loss of a company. Employees working in an SMB might develop a tendency of abruptly sharing and accessing enterprise information through unsecured messaging platforms without anticipating the consequences. Having an MDM software in place will effectively restrict this precipitous practice by limiting and scrutinizing the information-sharing practices through functionalities like disabling camera, certain hardware buttons, screenshots and sharing option. An MDM can also offer a pre-defined and secured communication platform to drive a controlled and secure way of team collaboration and communication wherein only the necessary information can be shared within authorized people. This effectively stops any malpractice of rampant sharing business information and minimizes any threats from cyber attacks and hackers.
Centralized and unified device management: One of the biggest IT challenges faced by SMBs is the unchecked usage of various types of devices from different platforms and use cases. The deluge of devices used by employees, both in-house and remotely located, become difficult to be managed without an MDM software, which allows the IT admin to have a bird’s eye control over the entire device inventory. It offers a centralized way of managing all the enrolled devices from a unified dashboard that empowers the IT team to design a holistic IT and mobility strategy in sync with the company objectives and goals. Irrespective of the gamut of endpoints belonging to varying platforms that the company might be using, an MDM dashboard makes it easy for the company to manage, secure and monitor them all from a centralized console. This enables the IT team to gain complete transparency of device inventory as he/she can manage and oversee all the managed devices from a single dashboard, irrespective of the device locations.
Define and enforce security policies: The best business benefit of using an MDM software is the fact that it allows the company IT admin to enforce and deploy necessary security and usage policies across the managed devices at once. Dynamic security and device usage policies and enforced restrictions offered by an MDM solution prevent a multitude of situations like device and data misuse, unsupervised information-sharing practices, unauthorized data access and a variety of cyber-attacks. An MDM software allows the IT admin to push software and app updates and security patches remotely, enforce password policies, whitelisting apps and websites, restrict unsecured network connections, block app download from unrestricted sources, restrict browsing of malicious websites, leverage data encryption and so on. This enables the IT admins to perform all the necessary security practices required to fight cyber-attacks and mobile threats, without any additional security tools.
Take control of cost associated with data usage: Company IT admin can exercise a number of restrictions on data usage patterns through an MDM software that automatically help companies save on excessive data-usage costs. An MDM solution enables the IT admin to take full control over the company-owned devices, which allows hm/her to enforce dynamic usage policies like locking down the devices into single or multi-app mode, whitelisting work apps and specific websites and blocking access to internet and random app downloads. These enforced restrictions ultimately keep the employee’s device-usage pattern under control wherein the data-spend is monitored and restricted to only work purposes. This proves to be especially helpful with remote workers who tend to browse the internet, download apps and visit websites using corporate-owned devices, which gradually leads to skyrocketed data-usage costs. An MDM solution is designed to help the company minimize data-costs while improving device performance and increasing employee productivity and operational efficiency.
Manage business apps and enterprise content: Apart from enabling IT admins to restrict unchecked and unsecured access to data and devices, MDM also allows them to remotely publish and distribute the right set of business apps and company content through features such as Mobile Application Management and Mobile Content Management, within a secure and controlled environment. Availability of business resources, inventory details, reports and statements, presentations and other crucial information fosters improved decision-making, better team-collaboration, enhanced communication processes, faster time-to-market and reduced business frictions. Real-time access to company information via the right enterprise app and corporate content simply empowers the field force and the frontline workers to stay informed, engaged and updated, driving better productivity, transparency, precision and efficiency at all levels.
Leverage unique MDM features and capabilities: An all-rounder MDM solution does a lot more than just managing, securing and monitoring corporate-owned and employee-owned multi-OS endpoints, apps and content. It comes powered with some really meaningful and robust features and capabilities that allow the IT admin to tighten device and data security while promoting user productivity, precision, performance and overall business growth, and reducing device downtime, company data overage and process delays and inefficiencies. Best MDM solutions provide functionalities such as remote troubleshooting, remote data wipe, device lock, broadcast messaging, secure communication platform, location-tracking, geo-fencing, device analytics, bulk device enrollment, file transfer, device and data usage reports, BYOD support, kiosk lockdown mode, app and content management and so on.
Things to consider before selecting an MDM solution
Before implementing an MDM software, it is advisable to make sure that the product comes with the necessary capabilities that are going to be relevant in solving the business-specific challenges.
An MDM software should:
- Support multiple platforms
- Manage different types of endpoints
- Automatically push software patches and security updates on managed devices
- Detect jailbroken or rooted devices
- Provide kiosk lockdown solution with single or multi-app mode
- Come with strong security and management features
- Be able to integrate with the current enterprise systems
- Be cost-efficient, easy-to-use and deploy across company
- Have an excellent customer support system
- Provide with top-notch monitoring and reporting tools
To sum it up
In short, a well-chosen MDM solution can do wonders for a small or medium sized business by helping it in 2 core areas:
- Mitigate all risks and threats from compromised mobile devices, data theft, unauthorised data access and sabotage, data loss, malware, spyware, virus and other types of cyber-attacks. All of these can irreversibly damage the company’s reputation and can cause loss worth millions.
- Facilitate processes that promote employee productivity, device performance, operational efficiency, improved decision-making, effective communication, enhanced collaboration, real-time and flawless data management, improved customer experience and increased business returns.
All these make Mobile Device Management a must-implement software for small and medium sized businesses.
Sonali Datta is a Lead Market Analyst. Sonali brings over 10 years of practical experience in analyzing, exploring and writing for IT, enterprise software, IT security, startup tips, business strategy, technological innovations, enterprise mobility, digital technologies, and business sustainability. With an extensive background of working with global IT and software companies, she maintains a customer-centric, value-driven and problem-solving approach in her write-ups and she is currently working for Scalefusion.