Mobile Device Management: An Opportunity worth Exploring
Since the emergence of smartphones and tablets, the concept of personal computers or desktops is not so relevant anymore. These devices are powerful enough to handle almost all of the functions a normal desktop can do. And with 3G and 4G internet capabilities, and cloud space, these mobile devices are now customers’ pride. With this came the idea of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) to work. More and more employees are now keen on BYOD and many companies are adopting this since it provides more flexibility and mobility to their workforce. Even the Department of Defence (DOD) is increasing its mobile options by adding more IOS, Blackberry and Android devices into its pool. But, the widespread corporate adaptation of mobile devices is not without its issues, the major one being security. With so many different devices being used, the security protocol of the company can potentially be compromised, majorly. According to Yankee Group’s IT Decision-Maker Marchsurvey,at least 33 percent of companies have their sensitive data compromised on lost or stolen devices.Now this is a major dilemmathat screams to be addressed, and this is where Mobile Device Management (MDM) kicks in.
While keeping the device secure is a major factor in MDM, it is not the beginning and end of it. MDM is the software that secures, monitors, manages, and supports mobile devices deployed across yourcompany. In a nutshell, it is for mobile what PC management solutions are for PC. Since this is a rather new market, there is a severe shortage of people with apt skill and knowledge in mobile programming, and so it will be much easier for enterprises to adapt one of the existing MDM solutions.
Gartner analyst Phillip Redman, in his presentation on the impact of the cloud on mobility at the Gartner IT Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit (2012), said that about 85 percent MDM product adoptionshave components retained on premises. This is now starting to change as more and more companies are going for cloud based solutions. Due to the financial constraints that most small and medium enterprises have,a cloud based on-demand model seems to be the right option. Cloud based MDM solutions, unlike the on premise solutions, do not require a huge initial investment,are equally efficient, offer regular update, regular support, and offer the option of paying for only what is being used. Also, this helps the company to focus on its core business while leaving the MDM part to the experts. Then again, if you are so particularabout an on premise MDM, you can always build it while using a cloud based MDM and then migrate to itwith ease.
Key Attributes of a Solid MDM Solution
Security Management: Permitting, controlling and governing the security of the devices allowed inside the company are very important aspects of a good MDM. It should also be capable of removing access to the company networks and “selectively” wipe company data on them if they are lost or stolen. Ability to enforce company’s security policies (e.g. password policies, privacy policies etc.) and data encryption are some of the key required attributes.
Software Management: MDM solution should be able to provide, support and monitor the applications and software being used in the devices that are permitted in the company. All the relevant applications, software like antivirus and more should be available to employees with ease.
Speed and Ease Integration/ Deployment: MDM solutions should have the capability to be deployed in a matter of hours. The deployment of the solution should never disrupt the functioning of the existing IT infrastructure of the company and integrate seamlessly with Microsoft ActiveSync, Blackberry BES servers, Microsoft Active Directory etc.
End User Friendly: MDM solutions should not make the employees, who are being managed by them, jump through loops one after another. It should be user friendly so the employees would easily forget its existence rather than getting annoyed by it.
Service and Support: MDM solutions are not ‘set it up and forget about it’ solutions; they require constant monitoring, up-gradation and support. So it is essential to select a solution provider with good service and support track record.
Some MDM Solutions in the Market
- Citrix (Acquired Zenprise)
- SAP (Afaria)
- Cisco Meraki
- LANDesk Mobility Manager
- MobileIron MDM
- IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices
- Symantec MDM
Future of MDM Market
According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report from the D11conference this year, the mobile market, especially the connected market,is growing at aggressive momentum. The smartphone market is experiencing a year on year growth of up to 31 percent globally. According to Meeker, there are now 5 Billion plus mobile users and 1.5 billion smart phone users, and this is only increasing rapidly. It is also fair to say that only a small margin of the companies in the industry has already adopted MDM solutions, majority are yet to embrace it. So, you do the math! How does the prospect look like in the MDM Space?