Whether you’re a small business with a handful of employees or a Fortune 500 enterprise, chances are your staff uses mobile devices for business — company-issued, personal, or both. Either way, managing the devices is important for administrative reasons. So, what is Mobile Device Management (MDM) and is it all that is needed to secure devices?
Typically, a third-party solution that companies’ IT departments use to manage devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) for the purpose of inventory, pushing out updates and policies, and general oversight.
Strengths of MDM
The main strength of MDM solutions is their ability to give companies control over the mobile devices that a large percentage of their employee base utilizes. This is beneficial, especially when organizations implement BYOD policies, but it also comes with notable drawbacks (see below). The implementation and ongoing device management can be done on-premise or remotely. It’s helpful for administering and provisioning mobile devices and reducing the risks of unauthorized transmission of data from within an organization.
Weaknesses of MDM
MDM is often mistaken as being a full mobile security solution, but with only limited capabilities around password enforcement and device wipe authority, it almost universally falls short of the security policies needed to protect company data. MDM solutions are often perceived as overly intrusive and yet only provide basic means of threat detection, like preventing unauthorized usage. But, once a malicious actor bypasses the password, it’s game over. MDM is a very useful tool, especially for organizations still offering corporate issued devices, but those same organizations must not confuse MDM as being a single comprehensive mobile security solution. They need to find appropriate add-on solutions to achieve security standards.
What’s the Best Solution for Management AND Security?
There are no boundaries for where and when work is completed nowadays. Especially since the start of the global pandemic, employees are working away from secure office networks around the clock. Just as technology has advanced to provide greater flexibility, so too have the sophistication of attacks. Therefore, a defense-grade containerized workspace that serves as a complementary layer of security to your MDM solution is best positioned to encrypt and secure corporate data. This allows employees’ phones to function for both work and personal purposes – securely partitioned into “dual-personas”. The ‘work’ persona is isolated within the containerized application where ALL corporate data is fully encrypted and impenetrable by malware and other attacks. Completely separate is the ‘personal’ persona via which employees can download apps and use their device without concern of employer interference or oversight.
The Bottom Line
While MDM is critical to managing mobile devices, a mobile security solution is imperative to truly protect organizations against mobile threats and ensure compliance with data privacy regulations.