Mobile Device Management, or MDM, is the term used in reference to managing your fleet of devices corporate-owned devices, from both hardware and software perspectives. An MDM allows your team or IT department to do a multitude of things. As an MDM admin, you have the ability to conduct inventory on all devices, like laptops or mobile devices purchased. You’re also able to push updates remotely, wipe/lock devices in the event they’re stolen, and much more. Whether you’re a school district deploying hundreds of tablets or a workforce with 100+ laptops deployed to employees, an MDM can be the perfect solution for your organization.
The reason that this is important above all is it gives you visibility and management over your companies’ fleet of devices, effortlessly. It ensures all assets are in one place, while also giving you practical control over how you want your IT environment to be set up. MDM helps roll out policies that make companies, and in turn, their employees, more secure and efficient. To better understand why you would want an MDM implemented, we must dive more in-depth as to what they can do. While there are many MDM solutions out there, they all tend to offer these basic arrays of features and capabilities.
What can an MDM do?
- Inventory all asset information, like device serial numbers, models, the user it’s associated with, thus making inventory management much easier. Additionally, this can be set up to occur out of the box. From IT purchasing a laptop to getting delivered to a new hire and greeting the new hire by their name. As crazy as it sounds, it is possible!
- Redefines the onboarding experience with zero-touch deployment. MDM allows you to set up a base configuration on how laptops or mobile devices should be set up out of the box. This includes what apps should be pre-installed, what security features should be turned on or off, restrictions, and much more. This saves your IT/HR team hours.
- Offboarding is equally just as smooth with MDM. Admins can wipe/lock a laptop in the event of a termination or, even more critical, the asset is lost or stolen.
- Enforces IT policies, such as: ensuring user drives are encrypted, and firewalls are on, and password strengths are met. This helps companies meet compliance, like SOC2 or HIPAA, when the policy is set at the device level.
- Push out an important app, app update, or OS updates across a series of machines.
- Allow IT insight into user devices so they can easily troubleshoot or see the current status of a machine within the fleet.
- Generate reports & audits to get a scope of how many devices are on old operating systems, have a certain app installed, etc.
This, among many other things, are just a small part of what MDM’s are capable of. Above all, they help streamline processes, and in turn, save time, money, and hassle across the board from your HR to finance and IT teams.
How does an MDM work?
With how robust and powerful an MDM can be, it’s important to also understand how they work to provide peace of mind to both the users and teams’. While every MDM varies at the technical level, a majority are based on the same foundation. The MDM provider installs an agent and/or a device profile on the device. That agent can be manually installed by your admin, enforced during users’ enrollment, or automated from the purchase point. Once that agent is installed. it adopts a profile set by your admin, which then periodically checks into the MDM software to ensure policies are deployed properly and the profile is up to date. So, for example, if your company decides they need to roll out Zoom company-wide, your MDM admin can simply add that app to the company-wide profile on the MDM and push it out to remotely install as soon as a connection to the internet has been made on each device.
On top of that, it can do this via a secure connection to ensure all data is protected along the way. The device and profile information is then stored on your MDM provider’s servers for you to access and whomever else you grant access to. The users don’t see anyone else’s device or have access to the MDM’s dashboard.
How much does an MDM cost?
Like most software, MDM prices will vary depending on what is needed and features are being requested. Most usually charge you at per device rate either monthly or annually.
At the end of the day, it’s worth asking yourself:
-What features do I need out of an MDM?
-How many devices do we have?
-Will the time saved from an MDM make up for the cost of it in itself?
Does it matter what MDM provider I choose?
Definitely! It’s important to know what platforms they support, what their technical support is like, and if will do all the things you need it to do. All in all, an MDM can be a solution to multiple problems that many organizations face. Problems such as inventory management, security updates, compliance, onboarding, offboarding, and more. With that being said, here’s a preview of some of the top MDM providers Network Right recommends.
Apple Based MDM Providers
- JAMF PRO
- Fleetsmith (Owned by Apple)
Cross-Platform MDM Providers
- Microsoft InTune
- IBM Maas360
- Meraki Systems Manager
If you or your company is interested in implementing an MDM solution, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help!