Security Encyclopedia

Mobile Device Management

Mobile Device Management (MDM) refers to the initiatives and products that an enterprise uses to oversee, streamline, and secure the company’s often-large supply of devices that workers use.

Whether company-owned or as part of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, the diverse array of laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. enrolled in the company’s MDM are meant to perform uniformly.

MDM is associated with smartphones but it is applied to mission-critical field equipment, laptops, tablets, and other outwardly deployed equipment such as mobile point-of-sale (PoS) terminals. Under MDM all of these endpoints are managed centrally though use of client-side software such as an application, and a central server and terminal where it is orchestrated. Admins push policies, applications, features, and updates from the central server to the endpoints over the air so all of the devices conform to a standard menu of capabilities, limitations, and features.

Examples of MDM goals are overall performance and device health, secure network access, restrictions on how data can be transmitted, employee app updates, geolocation, and monitoring for abnormal or unsanctioned usage. Taken together, an MDM system streamlines the use of many devices including security through the wholesaling of tasks and configurations that were once done on a per-device basis.

Example:

“I’d like to use my new Samsung Galaxy Fold for work, just to avoid using a lame company phone and carrying a second device. That would involve enrolling mine in the firm’s MDM. The last thing I want to do is give Howard and his IT team visibility into all of my smartphone habits. No thanks.”