Benefits of deploying with a mobile device management (MDM) tool

Posted Apr 30, 2013 12:48:22 PM by DecisionPoint Team & filed under

As mobile devices continue to enter the corporate enterprise, IT professionals are implementing new strategies to manage these highly mobile and varying devices. Smartphones and tablet computers have created a new niche among computing devices. Like the desktop and laptop computers that preceded them, these devices increase user productivity by providing access to corporate resources. However, unique to these devices is the fact that they are highly mobile, often function for both work and personal use and come in many variations with differing operating systems, form factors, connectivity options, application capabilities and if that is not enough they have a relatively short life cycle with most devices being replaced with newer models in less than 2 years.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools were created to manage the unique needs of mobile devices. These tools include the following capabilities:

Device Management Capabilities:

  • Removal of applications and data from lost or stolen devices
  • Remote control capabilities to remote repair software related issues
  • Device lock down to prevent undesired user access to system level functions
  • Configuration control
    • Wi-Fi setup
    • VPN setup
    • Power management and other system setting
    • Asset / inventory management

Application Management Capabilities:

  • Silent application installation
  • Push of application updates
  • Creation of application stores
  • Support for operating system updates
  • Control timing and delivery of new and updated applications
  • Push and control documents

User Management Capabilities:

  • Support for role-based application access and device configuration
  • User authentication
  • Usage reporting

Security Capabilities:

  • Data encryption
  • Application and data wipe
  • User authentication (Active Directory, LDAP)
  • VPN support
  • Advanced device restrictions
  • Certificate management
  • SD card encryption

As you can see, MDM provides a comprehensive set of capabilities to support the deployment of any mobile solution. The next question is how?

MDM Deployment Options

The majority of MDM tools are cloud-based solutions and as such they provide a number of deployment options. Most MDM solutions are comprised of two major application components, the mobile agent that resides on the mobile device and the administration which resides on a server. The administration server provides an administration console which is used to create groups, profiles, and policies as well as control user access, device remote control and application updates.

Administration Server Options:

  • The administration server can be installed in one of two options:
    • On-premise (installed on customer equipment within their enterprise network)
    • Cloud (hosted in a network operation center NOC accessible via the Internet)

Mobile Agent Options:

  • The mobile agent can be installed on the mobile device using one of the following methods.
    • Install AirWatch Agent
      • Preloaded on an SD Card
      • Build a custom device image and side load via cradle
      • Browse to hosted website
      • Download from the Google Play Store
      • Once the agent has been installed, the next step is to execute and enroll the device with the administration server.
        • Execute the Agent and Enroll
          • Enter MDM Host URL
          • Enter Group ID
            • Enter User/Password
  • Device configuration profiles are automatically provisioned to the device
  • User is prompted to install internal (Enterprise) applications
  • Configuration that is not possible within MDM must be performed manually
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