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How Mobile Device Management Overcomes the Mobile Security Conundrum


In our previous post, we discussed that small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) are turning to the cloud to take advantage of “anytime, anywhere” access to applications, data and infrastructure through mobile devices. These capabilities give employees the flexibility to work remotely while maintaining the highest levels of productivity, collaboration and customer service. As a result, small businesses are investing in mobile-friendly, cloud-ready infrastructure.


Once considered a nice-to-have luxury, mobility has become essential for day-to-day SMB operations. According to Manta’s SMB Wellness Index, four in five small business owners use their mobile phones for business purposes every day. One in four use mobile phones at least every hour, and 78 percent use them while sitting in front of a desktop computer. Some of the most common tasks include scheduling, customer communication, creating to-do lists and banking.


While mobility delivers obvious business benefits and makes employees happy, it also creates a number of risks. Are employees using applications or software that could drag down network performance, increase the risk of compliance violations, or open the door for cyber criminals? Is data being stored securely? Are company data and applications getting mixed up with personal data and applications? How do you keep them separate? What happens if a mobile device is lost or stolen? These and other questions need to be answered before diving headfirst into the mobility pool.


Mobile device management (MDM) software can help SMBs address these concerns by enabling IT to centrally deploy, manage, monitor and secure both company-owned and employee-owned devices. Security and compliance policies, antimalware, access controls, passwords, encryption, and applications are updated and managed remotely. Data can be remotely wiped from a lost or stolen device, and jailbroken devices can be automatically detected and flagged. MDM not only protects company data and applications, but also ensures optimal performance and functionality for employees.


MDM software can be licensed to a single device or to a single user who utilizes multiple devices. One license per device is ideal for small companies in which each employee uses a single mobile device. For companies with employees who use smartphones, tablets and laptops, a per-user license is typically the more cost-effective approach.


This is the model most SMBs use with Microsoft Windows Intune, which provides MDM capabilities for Office 365 products. In addition to Windows, Intune can be used to monitor, secure and optimize Outlook clients on Android and iOS devices. Intune is capable of defining and enforcing policies and access controls at the device level. If a device is lost or stolen, Intune uses selective wipe functionality to remotely delete company data and applications without touching personal data.


Of course, Intune is just one example of an MDM solution for SMBs. There are a number of other products available, as well as free software and apps built into the devices themselves. Some enterprise-class MDM platforms are now available in a cloud model, making them more affordable for small businesses.


Although MDM helps SMBs reduce many of the risks associated with mobility, it is rather complex to implement and manage. Let us help you deploy, configure and remotely manage your MDM software and keep your mobile environment secure.