Thursday, October 15, 2015

MDM 101: Top Considerations When Choosing The Right MDM Solution

Choosing the right Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution has become one of the most challenging issues facing IT today. An MDM solution has to meet the needs of the business in critical areas such as productivity, security, reduced complexity, technical capabilities and business agility.

Today’s mobile users want freedom of choice when it comes to the smartphones and tablets they use. They want to use their personal devices for critical business applications that enable them to access corporate files whatever they need, wherever they are, and whenever they need it. And companies want to support this freedom and remain competitive. However, in supporting those personal freedoms, companies must also secure corporate data and networks. With the right MDM solution, companies can address these challenges while increasing worker productivity.

Image by: ICOMM
Choosing the right MDM solution is not an easy task, you need to arm yourself with all the information, research the mobile offerings and market. You need to know your vendors’ strengths and reputation, understand if it really fits your company’s specific mobile policy and requirements. 

The following are top key factors we should consider in choosing the right MDM solution to our business:   
                                                                                                          
Mobile device ownership
Who owns the mobile device? This is probably one of the most important things to consider when choosing an MDM solution. This will drive the solution in every aspect, from written policy to the technical aspects of MDM configuration.

If the mobile devices are company owned, then there is a lot of flexibility, encryption of the device is acceptable since it is company owned. But if the mobile device is employee owned, there is little to no ability to control app and data stored on the device. Full swipe functionality is also not acceptable as personal data is owned by the employee.

Know your Vendor’s reputation and strength
The explosive growth of the mobile market has created a glut of vendors selling MDM solutions. Many of these MDM vendors are new players to the mobile game and relatively unknown to potential customers. These vendors still lack knowledge and experience. In a market like this, where product features and functionality are changing quickly, it is certainly a risk for customers to choose inexperienced vendors that may not be around to support their mobile strategy.

Mode of deployment: hosted or on premise
Most of the MDM solutions today are cloud based, but there are also on premise. Cloud-based or hosted solutions are easy to implement since there are no infrastructure procurement, technical expertise needed, it’s all in the cloud. Companies are provided with access and it’s all ready to go. Upgrades of the MDM software are managed by the cloud service provider. Cloud-based solutions could provide significant savings and benefits to our business, but it also comes with security concerns and worries. 

On-premise solutions, deployment is quick and updates are also managed by IT. On-premise solutions also provide advanced capabilities such as micro VPNs and app isolation. But it's not an ideal solutions if you're looking for cost.

Consider mobile platforms
Currently, there are four leading mobile operating systems in the market, Android, Apple’s iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. Unfortunately, not all MDM solutions support all mobile operating systems. Some just support one or two mobile operating systems. The operating system used in our mobile device plays a huge role in determining MDM requirements and implementing a successful MDM strategy.

Consider security
Security should always be at the top of any list in choosing a potential MDM solution. According to the survey conducted by network security firm Check Point Software Technologies, nearly 50 percent of mobile users said that corporate data is stored on mobile devices, which include sensitive data such as customer information, network login credentials and business-related files. An MDM solution can be a highly effective tool for protecting sensitive corporate data and networks, controlling the mobile apps that can be used and wiping lost or stolen devices remotely.

Consider scalability
Regardless of what you might need and used right now, it’s crucial to take a closer look on the issue of scalability. The right MDM solution must be scalable, so new users and devices can be added and accommodated easily.

Enterprise integration
Extensibility into other enterprise tools, such as existing management controls and workflows, is increasingly becoming crucial in today’s fast-moving business environment. Most companies have already made significant investment in their existing systems, so integration with their existing systems is essential. The right MDM solution will allow an IT to control and monitor IT systems from a single access point.


Conclusion
In choosing the right MDM solution, we must understand not only what is provided today, but where development is headed down the road, so that your top MDM choice will best fit current and future needs. When creating your MDM strategy taking these steps can help you choose the solution that best fits your mobile requirements. But remember an MDM solution is only as useful and effective as their implementation, they will only succeed if they are properly implemented.