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Introduction to MDM
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MDM: Introduction to Mobile Device Management

The use of mobile devices in the professional environment is constantly increasing. This creates new challenges for companies in terms of integration, security and data protection. Mobile device management offers a simple way to create transparency and control when using mobile devices.

What does MDM mean?

The abbreviation MDM stands for Mobile Device Management. Mobile Device Management is the centralized management of mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones or tablets. The corresponding MDM software provides a wide range of functions for inventorying, configuring, managing and protecting mobile devices, which can be used on all registered devices.

Excursus: MDM vs. EMM vs. UEM?

When dealing with mobile device management, you often come across the abbreviations EMM and UEM. These are solutions that go beyond MDM. Although the scope of EMM and UEM solutions theoretically goes beyond MDM, the terms are often used interchangeably in practice today.
EMM - Enterprise Mobility Management

MDM originally only referred to the management of mobile devices. In addition, there were other individual solutions such as MAM (Mobile Application Management) for managing the applications on the devices and MCM (Mobile Content Management), which was used to control access to the respective resources. Enterprise Mobility Management aimed to merge these separate solutions.

UEM - Unified Endpoint Management

EMM was only used for mobile devices. However, the need to manage other devices and systems within an organization via a common solution quickly grew. This need led to the development of unified endpoint management solutions that could also be used to manage other devices such as desktop computers, printers or POS systems via a single solution.

Reasons for using an MDM solution

In many companies, hybrid work is the new working norm of the future. The use of mobile devices is increasing. Depending on the chosen mobile device strategy in the company, a large number of different devices with different operating systems need to be integrated and managed.

Mobile device management offers a simple, scalable and easy-to-use option for integrating a large number of devices into the company and managing them centrally. This leads to enormous cost and time savings for the often very scarce IT resources in the company. At the same time, MDM minimizes security risks and makes it easy to implement data protection guidelines.

How does mobile device management work?

The underlying principle is the same for every MDM solution, even if the functionality differs slightly depending on the provider.

  • To be able to manage end devices via the MDM console, they must first be registered in the system. Most device manufacturers already offer solutions for this in order to add new devices automatically.
  • In order for the MDM software to communicate with the mobile devices, special software, a so-called agent, is required on the end device.
    All desired settings are made via the MDM software console.
  • The configuration instructions are then sent from the MDM server to the mobile device via wireless networks and API interfaces.
  • If the agent receives new instructions, these are carried out or executed directly on the device.
MDM - Introduction to Mobile Device Management
How Mobile Device Management works

Most MDM solutions provide end device agents for the respective operating systems such as Windows, Linux, iOS, Android and others. This allows a wide variety of device types to be managed via a single system.

What options does an MDM solution offer me?

Modern MDM solutions offer a wide range of configuration options. These can be conveniently carried out remotely via the console without having to physically touch the device.

The settings can be applied to individual devices or device groups (e.g. by department, management level or similar). Although the functional scope of the individual solutions can vary in detail, most of the following options can be found with most providers.

Device inventory

MDM solutions simplify device inventory significantly. The MDM software continuously collects important information about the registered devices. This includes

  1. General device information
  2. Current location
  3. Installed apps
  4. Guarantee status

Configuration

MDM makes it easy to set up devices remotely to ensure data security and compliance, for example:

  • Control access to networks (VPN, wireless networks, ...)
  • Blocking device functions such as the camera

Software & Content Management

All applications on the devices can be managed. With just a few clicks

  • defined which apps must be installed on each device
  • regulates which software can or cannot be installed (white & blacklisting)
  • Software brought up to date
  • Software removed from the device

Device safety

Numerous security settings can be made to ensure maximum protection of the devices against unauthorized access, including

  • Encryption of data on hard disks
  • Define minimum strength for passwords
  • Create different device containers to separate private and professional data

Management of various end devices

MDM solutions were originally designed to manage smartphones, and later also tablets. Many providers therefore specialized in individual operating systems such as iOS or Android. As mobile device management became more widespread, the need for centralized management of different device types grew. As a result, the functional scope of the solutions on offer increased so that today a wide range of different devices and systems can be managed using a single software package.

Separate from the MDM solutions, the device manufacturers each have their own programs to register the devices in the MDM solution.

Apple

The Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager portals are used for the device enrollment of Apple devices. The web portals can be used to add iOS, iPadOS and macOS devices to the administration and manage apps and licenses.

Android

Android Zero Touch and Samsung Knox Mobile (for Samsung devices) are available for the enrollment of Android devices. Software and licenses are managed via the Managed Google Play Store.

Windows

Companies use Azure Active Directory to organize their employees' access to all important applications. It can also be used to automatically add Windows devices to the respective MDM solution.

Which MDM solution is suitable for my company?

As is so often the case, there is no general answer to this question. Rather, the individual choice depends on a number of factors

  • How many devices must be able to be managed?
  • Is it one type of device or many different ones?
  • How and for what are the devices used?

The following points should therefore be considered before deciding on an MDM solution:

1. supported operating systems

Not every MDM solution supports every operating system. In order to find suitable MDM software, it is important to have a clear picture of the devices used or to be used in the company. This ensures that all devices can be managed via a single system.

2 Supported functions

The range of functions varies between the individual providers. At the same time, more features always mean more complexity. Here too, you should first define your own requirements and then compare them with the individual tools in order to find the right solution.

3. on-premise or cloud

Most MDM solutions today run conveniently in the cloud and can therefore be accessed from anywhere. The resulting ease of scalability is particularly important for rapidly growing companies. Depending on the business sector, such a cloud service may not be desirable, for example for security reasons in highly regulated areas. On-premise, i.e. self-hosted solutions are available for this purpose.

4. available budget

The available budget is a limiting factor in most companies. Various providers now offer a wide range of functions for comparatively low costs. In many cases, there are also various payment plans that enable simple scalability.

Examples of MDM solutions

There are numerous providers on the market for MDM solutions. The best known include:

  • Citrix Endpoint Management
  • IBM MaaS360
  • Jamf
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Sophos Mobile
  • VMWare Workspace ONE

How can Lendis support you?

As part of our Device as a Service offering, companies receive a turnkey solution for equipping employees with mobile devices. In addition to the provision of high-quality technology, the implementation of a suitable mobile device management solution is an essential part of this solution.

Equip employees with technology in an uncomplicated & flexible way?
We take your individual needs into account to find a tailor-made concept for you and your company. In a free workshop, we first clarify your current IT setup and get to know your future requirements. Based on this, we will provide you with a personalized test environment. There you will familiarize yourself with the solution and make any desired adjustments together with our MDM experts.
We also ensure that all devices rented with Lendis are registered directly in the MDM software in future and then easily managed by you. This also applies to all other smartphones, tablets or laptops rented at a later date.
Conveniently manage & secure mobile devices with the
mobile device management solutions from Lendis