For many businesses, figuring out when to adopt a new technology can seem more like guesswork than calculation. This is especially true for the small- to medium-sized business (SMB), where such decisions can be time-consuming and a strain on the budget.
While many think of MDMs as being a way to control smartphones and tablets, it’s also imperative for monitoring and managing laptops and systems, especially for today’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplace.
All of these devices give employees the ability to get work done when and where they need to, and not having to provide them yourself saves on time and money. So how are today’s SMBs supposed to weigh the benefits of MDMs against the cost? First we’re going to get into what MDMs are and how they work, before finally addressing their benefits and when it’s time to implement your own.
What an MDM Is and What It Does
The idea of mobile device management began with the need to control company information housed on smartphones in the workplace, then later grew to encompass tablets and laptops. With MDMs, admins can manage, control, and secure those devices.
This can include a number of commands such as controlling screen lock, adding security requirements for passwords, or determining what applications can and can’t be installed on a device. And they don’t just secure data; just as importantly, they also restrict access to it with functions like remote wipe — a feature especially handy for lost or stolen devices.
To do all of this, an agent is first installed on an employee’s device. Devices can be identified based on their serial number, associated user, or device name, depending on the MDM and the needs of the organization. IT admins then use MDMs to deploy configuration settings and execute other commands.
The extent of this control typically depends on either the vendor you purchase the solution from or what kind of package you elect from them. These controls can vary from the basics listed above to more advanced ones, such as tracking a device’s location, forcing updates, or encrypting (Read more…)