The world of IT and business services is always alight with buzzwords and sometimes it can be difficult to wade through the fluff you don't need to know in order to get to the good stuff.
This week we want to introduce to you the topic of Mobile Device Management (also known as MDM).
We'll go through the good bits, the not-so-good bits, and the big questions you need to consider when deciding how to manage your mobile estate.
The main thing to remember is: mobile devices aren't going away anytime soon, so an MDM policy isn't so much of a luxury as a necessity for the modern workforce.
Why does your business need Mobile Device Management?
Next time all of your employees are together, do a quick straw poll:
How many own a smartphone?
Chances are it'll be hovering around 90%. Next question:
How many have used their smartphone to do something work-related?
That could be checking or sending an email, making a phone call or sharing a document with a colleague. It's likely that more than half have done it (even if they don't admit it to your face). Last one:
Who has a company mobile, laptop, tablet or other portable device used for work?
Any takers? I can't think of a single type of business who would have zero positive responses to all three of those questions.
Given the prevalence and damage caused by data losses and security breaches, whether malicious or accidental, the responses to those questions you've just asked are exactly why you need a Mobile Device Management system and policy in place.
If I need MDM, what exactly does it do?
Many companies have home workers or sales teams on the road, and it's expected that employees will need to take information away from their normal place of work and be contactable while they're out. Mobile devices really are a central and unavoidable part of small and medium sized businesses right through to enterprise, so it's important to start addressing it now as the situation is only going to become more complex as time goes on.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) allows you, the employer, to control what happens to your digital possessions – your data, documents, mobile phones, laptops and tablets - wherever they happen to be.
At AAG, we use an MDM system that can be installed onsite by our engineers, or remotely via email or a web link. With this system we balance cost versus value with its affordability and features that pack a significant punch.
What kind of features?
To help you understand what MDM can offer and the potential security and HR risks it can address, we've put together a useful breakdown of the support our engineers offer. This covers all the basics – plus some pretty useful extras – you need in a Mobile Device Management system, to help you choose a setup that's right for you.
Key Feature #1 – Track, Lock, Wipe
Perhaps the most useful feature of a Mobile Device Management system is the ability to track any and all devices with GPS and internet access whilst managing the security of your data. In reality this means you can geolocate your devices at any time (BYOD during an employee's working hours and in accordance with HR laws and policies) and even look at the location history of a device plotted onto a map. If you need to lock a device that's been lost or stolen, it's easy to do with a MDM system. And, if you think a device has been compromised or an employee no longer needs access, you can simply wipe the device clean of all company data.
Key Feature #2 – Backpack
Backpack is an incredible feature secured with 256-bit encryption that helps you closely control your company data. You can use this on personal mobiles (location-dependent – please refer to your region's HR laws in the first instance) as well as company owned iOS and Android devices to manage distribution and access to certain details or documents. Especially useful for sensitive data, commercial intelligence or departments such as HR and Finance, Backpack employs a native viewer and editor so documents remain within the app even when being edited or shared. This means you have total control and information cannot be shared without your express permission – with Backpack, you can even recall documents securely from a device at any time. If an employee leaves or a device is lost, simply wipe the data and you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing it won't crop up somewhere it shouldn't.
Key Feature #3 – Manage Corporate Data on Personal Devices
When we advise on mobile device policies we typically recommend against Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Limiting corporate data to company-owned devices is a more secure and controlled option as the device remains company property.
However if you already have BYOD, Mobile Device Management should be a top priority. Good MDM systems such as AAG's will offer the ability to closely monitor and control your data even on personal mobiles and laptops, for example installing a separate mail client to send and receive work emails which can be wiped remotely in an emergency (as explained in Key Feature #1).
Another reason why AAG's platform is so popular is its compatibility and legacy support. If your employees have devices ranging from Android to Windows, iOS to Linux – and all of varying ages – you need a system that can cope with all of them. AAG's MDM system is compatible as far back as iOS 5.0.0 and Windows 7, so it really will manage all of your devices. Once it's installed there's no need to push out updates or patches as it's all managed in the cloud with an easy-to-navigate dashboard for your IT Manager or our skilled engineers to set up.
Get in touch today
If you're thinking of setting up or reviewing your company's Mobile Device Management system or policies, our team is on hand to talk through any specific questions you have to determine your business' requirements. Just contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0114 399 0995 to speak to us.