The development of technology in recent years has led to mobile devices, like smartphones, becoming an essential part of our working lives. On top of this, homeworking continues to be an area of growth within small businesses and SME’s. Increased reliance on such devices comes with risks; lost/stolen data, breaches to company policy and compliance to name a few. This dependence has seen the development of MDM software to help minimize these risks.
What is MDM?
MDM (Mobile Device Management) is a software that can be implemented on any mobile device, whilst this is most commonly used for smartphones it can also be used for tablet devices and laptops. This software can restrict usage, file sharing and wipe associated devices according to business needs in order to prevent the loss of any confidential company data and ensure compliance with company policy.
There are many different MDM offerings available, with a variety of features, so deciding which best suits your needs is critical. The type of software needed will vary depending on what company devices are used for within the business as well as what level of protection you want over your assets.
A common feature of MDM software is containerisation, to maintain a virtual wall between personal data and company data. This is especially important when BYOD is in practice within a business, both for security and work/life balance for employees. This can ensure company data does not leave its designated container, limiting the potential for loss or theft of confidential data. Containers can also impose copy/screenshot restrictions to reduce risk further. This data can also be remote wiped if the device is missing or an employee leaves the company.
GPS location data can also be monitored for employee security and for device location in the event of loss. The phones can also use this data for ring fencing to ensure phones do not leave a designated area and in the event they do breach this, action can be taken.
Some MDM software can also interact with billing to ensure that there is no overspend on minutes or data by initiating a cap once the allowance is reached. Alternatively alerts can be sent to the administrator to review when usage reaches the threshold.
Many also offer the option of secure chat and email services to ensure encryption and secure delivery as well as browsers allowing access to intranet facilities. Administrators are given the ability to ban or allow adult content and whitelist/blacklist certain websites.
Benefits of MDM
- Keep company data secure to prevent data leaks or loss
- Conform to GDPR by having control over sensitive information even outside of the workplace
- Easily embrace the BYOD (bring your own device) movement
- Maintain work/life balance for employees even when homeworking
- Remotely wipe devices in the event of loss
- Control spending with usage monitoring
- Enforce compliance with updates and company policies
Drawbacks of MDM
- Staff may feel restricted with what they can do on the devices, especially in the case of BYOD
- Can create additional pressures on IT departments to monitor and adjust for staff
- Employees may need permission to use or download certain applications used in their personal life
- May not be possible to contain 100% of data leaks
- New OS releases may not be fully supported on launch
- VPN may still be required to heighten security
MDM software offers some great features to help keep business information safe but it is essential that behind the mobiles there is a secure and robust security system in place to help plug the gaps that mobile working can bring. However the benefits for both businesses and employees greatly outweigh the drawbacks by providing mobile and flexible working, whilst keeping data secure. With the imminent implementation of GDPR many more businesses may find themselves looking to MDM software to help them comply with the new regulations as well.
For more information on MDM offered by NT Voice and Data Solutions please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form at the bottom of the screen