Mobile device management, or MDM, seems like the latest buzzword to hit the enterprise. But what does it mean – and why is it important?
It’s no surprise that personally-owned devices have become an important part of business. Many companies are shifting their perspective, not only allowing but encouraging employees to use their own laptops, smartphones or tablets to carry out work tasks.
The Telecom Environment Management Standards, 78 percent of organizations allow employee-owned mobile devices in the business environment1 and according to a survey conducted by Citrix, more than three-quarters of organizations will deploy mobile apps for line-of-business use this year – and more than half of those will be mission critical.
Of course, with the freedom to choose any device for work comes a number of security and compliance concerns. That’s where enterprise MDM comes into play – how can an organization embrace the future of enterprise mobility without endangering its most important corporate assets and confidential data?
Following just six steps to enterprise mobile device management can ensure security and compliance while still giving organizations the cost and performance benefits of a mobile workstyle, such as bring-your-own device (BYOD). MDM is a foundational element of an enterprise mobility strategy and provides management and security of mobile devices through their lifecycle.
Administrators should configure device settings and integrate with IT resources in a centralized, role-based way. This can mean anything from specifying OS and device ownership, setting security parameters such as passcodes and encryption or creating a whitelist/blacklist for apps. By setting these configurations, IT can rapidly configure a large number of devices in way that complies with enterprise policy.
A solid MDM solution will empower users to self-select apps from a centralized app store, self-enroll or even carry out simple support tasks on their own, all while letting administrators provision policies and apps automatically over-the-air to users. This keeps things simple and straightforward, leaving little room for error.
Besides setting device and app security settings during the configuration process, administrators should be able to take immediate security action in the event of loss, theft or user departure. One preferred security measure is geo-fencing, which enables admins to locate and track devices, creating an “electronic fence” around its facility and wiping the device clean if it gets too far away.
Admin should provide help desk functions, remote support, and troubleshooting for mobile users. This can include remote support via Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) or chat for some devices. In an ideal scenario, support admins could respond to system alerts with one click from a centralized dashboard.
In an optimal MDM strategy, administrators should be able to monitor device and app inventory, status, and statistics. Admins should see usage details such as roaming, location or inactivity and take action on system notifications and alerts when necessary. This allows admins to quickly identify and report on any security and compliance issues.
A successful enterprise MDM solution takes the mobile device through its entire lifecycle. This means that admins must be able to decommission devices when they are lost, stolen or replaced. It’s also vital for admins to secure and audit devices in the case of user departure, including fully or selectively wiping devices.
Mobile device management is not just a buzzword – it’s becoming a necessity for the mobile enterprise. The benefits of mobile device adoption are high, but so are the concerns and complexity of such a shift. Organizations must find an MDM solution to take their enterprise to the next level.
As a leader in mobile workstyles, Citrix offers a complete MDM solution in XenMobile, which provides management and security of mobile devices through their lifecycle. Available both on-premise and in the cloud, XenMobile offers a scalable architecture that can support a large mobile deployment without impeding performance or security.
1. “AOTMP: CTEMS Research Finds 78% of Enterprises Allow Bring Your Own Device”, TMCnet, August 1, 2012