How does mobile device management (MDM) work?

By Adam Stein, marketing director, MobileIron, Network World |  Unified Communications, MDM, Mobile Device Management

Many of the devices being provisioned are personally owned mobile devices that are also used for business apps. This bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is one of the more dramatic results of the consumerization of IT, in which consumer preference, not corporate initiative, drives the adoption of technologies in the enterprise. 

Mobile IT has increasingly allowed BYOD to drive employee satisfaction and productivity through the use of new technologies, while simultaneously reducing mobile expenses. However, many newer smartphones, tablets, and their apps were not built with enterprise requirements in mind, so IT teams often feel uncomfortable about security and supportability. [Also see: "Can employee-owned devoices save companies money?"]

BYOD has many complex and hidden implications, such as the need for privacy policy, separate policies for corporate vs. personal devices, and certificate-based identity, for which a strategy needs to be defined in advance of implementation. For example, MDM software ideally uses an enterprise's existing certificate authority to secure the device, thus leveraging security and network investments IT has already made. In fact, the MDM software can serve as the centralized certificate authority server for corporate resources, including ActiveSync (email access).

Phase 2 involves the mobile IT team actively managing all devices -- phones, tablets, iPod Touches, etc. -- to help ensure the original enterprise persona remains intact. At this point, users are given wide-ranging access to corporate resources, including apps, email, secure directories and even cloud-based file storage. Ideally, the mobile IT team has also published a corresponding "declaration" to its mobile users, outlining what is permissible (e.g., using your device for non-business gaming) and what is not (e.g., downloading a virus-laden open-source game).


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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