10 Factors for Choosing an MDM Solution

By  Henning Volkmer, CEO, Cortado, Inc. — November 26, 2012

Mobile device management (MDM) has been a major buzz word of 2012 and will continue to be an enterprise trend in 2013. MDM has companies of all sizes asking what they should think about before choosing the right solution. Here are the top 10 factors to consider when approaching MDM.

1. What devices are being used?

The requirements for an MDM solution vary largely based on the type of devices being used. Smartphones will require different features than tablets or employee owned laptops. In addition, the OS used by each device plays a huge role in determining MDM requirements.

2. How are your users using these devices?

As you consider MDM, analyze how the devices are being used. A device used for occasional email access requires very different features than a device that needs access to corporate apps and services. You should also consider if your company is getting the most out of user devices. A lack of integration with existing IT will usually result in a less than ideal use case.

3. What do you need to secure: devices or information?

Depending on the use cases for devices and users, you have to consider whether the device itself or the information being consumed or created on the device needs to be secured. Ultimately, they go hand in hand, but if information security is of importance, a solution that ties in with your Active Directory is necessary to make user activity traceable.

4. What is the true value of BYOD to your company?

BYOD programs can be implemented for a number of reasons — the exact goals of BYOD in your organization determine what you are looking for in an MDM solution. The ultimate value is created when you not only integrate these devices securely, but also flexibly. This ensures that users have the ability to be creative in finding new ways to use their devices to do their job better.

5. How much control do you need?

Depending on your industry, this question is influenced both by your comfort level and legal requirements. Some businesses may need to have central provisioning for devices. Others prefer to relieve IT and implement solutions with a user self service portal that allows users to provision devices, locate them, download app and, if lost or replaced, wipe all or part of the device. Chose a solution that allows you to be flexible and adjust as you learn your way around the new technology.

6. Is MDM really all you need?

MDM is, as the name indicates, about managing the device by providing device password policies, enabling or disabling cameras or tracking its location. MDM does not always fully cover applications, access to company information or any other productivity enablers. Total security may require wider approach.

7. What is needed to securely bring devices to life?

To truly and securely bring a device to life, it is necessary to take an approach of controlled openness. Instead of prohibiting activities, all user activities are detailed in an auditing log.Employees can act on their terms, while the IT administrator can track all actions and intervene in a timely way if misconduct occurs.

8. What about apps and services?

As you determine the best way to bring your device to life, you will notice that a key piece to maximizing device potential are apps in combination with traditional IT services, such as printing. Find a solution that allows you to have a single, secure, centrally managed location for your devices so you can provide internal apps, access to files and databases, as well as printing and faxing.

9. What about internal/intranet apps?

Applications are not always limited to native applications built for the smartphones, tablets or any other device. They often include intranet and other internal appl that need to be accessible from the device without deploying VPN solutions. Find a solution that supports deploying as many types of apps as possible.

10. What makes or breaks the project?

User acceptance makes or breaks a project. IT is no longer in a position to control every aspect of a user's technology. If the usability and functionality of the solution does not match what your users actually need or even their perception of what they need, they will continue to use personal and free services to get their jobs done. Keep in mind that your users care most about being productive through their devices. While they may recognize the general need for safety, their productivity needs will always trump security. This is why it is necessary to select a solution that offers central, securely managed access to enterprise resources and desktop features.


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