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5 Ways an MDM can reduce your IT workload

Heather Gray

Jul 28, 2020

12 min read

The increased usage of mobile devices in the business world has brought in plenty of challenges for IT admins, especially in terms of management and security. Fortunately, adept management solutions like MDM evolved alongside this boom of mobile devices to provide businesses with an easier way to manage the devices present within their infrastructure. The benefits an MDM can provide IT admins stretches to more than just control and security. Without a proper MDM solution in place the IT manager’s job can be an incredibly hard one where countless hours would have to be spend in ensuring that the devices within the organization are secure and updated. It also leads to the inconvenient situation of working with a remote staff to resolve any issues that users may encounter. These extra hours and unwanted dependencies can be easily avoided with an MDM solution. 

MDM can help simplify the workload of IT admins by enabling them to view and manage the devices from a centralized console, through this console you can:

  • Ensure easy device onboarding
  • Secure user access to essential content and resources
  • Have an ongoing compliance management
  • Remotely access user end devices and fix various troubleshooting issues

Let’s have a more detailed look on how MDM can help minimize your IT workload:

Ensures a routine maintenance of devices   

One of the major challenges that IT admins face is provisioning the devices and making it ready for users as quickly as possible. By using the right MDM solution, the process of enrolling the devices will not be as stressful as it was before. Based on the business requirements and number of employees, admins can choose their desired enrollment approach and have the mobile devices provisioned for the users right away.  

If your company has a large number of employees, it would be best to go for zero touch enrollment methods such as Apple Business/School Manager, Android Zero-Touch and Samsung Knox. Businesses using devices with specially configured ROM can enroll their company owned custom ROM devices in MDM and have it provisioned with the necessary configurations and restrictions right from the moment they are turned on for the first time. You can also go for quick enrollment options such as QR Code and Open Enrollment. Authenticated enrollment can be done by sending email/SMS invites to the users.  

The benefits of using an MDM solution like Hexnode not only extends to taking out the stress of device provisioning away from IT admins, it also guarantees security as the multi factor authentication prevents unauthorized technicians from logging into the MDM portal. By integrating your on-premises AD or cloud identity provider you can reinforce security on the managed mobile devices even further by letting users use their existing credentials to complete the enrollment process. Another great perk is that admins can efficiently manage and monitor the devices by applying the required restrictions and apps to the existing directory groups.  

It’s always best to have the devices upgraded to its latest version, as it not only keeps the devices secure on the long run but it also enhances its performance by including new features and bug fixes. The older your system gets, the harder it would be to get adequate technical support. Scheduling OS updates over the air is one among the many MDM benefits that IT admins need to be aware of, the updates can be configured on both individual devices and groups of devices.  

The managed mobile devices can be properly monitored by generating reports on its device status, users, location, applications, data management, compliance, and audits. If you want a periodic check on the devices, you can specify the day and time in which the reports can be emailed to the recipients. You can even set the frequency of the scheduled reports by generating it on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Admins can keep the reports more secure by selecting the way in which they can be downloaded.  

By setting it as private, anyone who wishes to view the report must login to the MDM portal, public on the other hand will allow anyone with access to the download link to download the report. The download link validity of the report can be set anywhere from 1 –3 months. You can customize the mobile devices according the business requirements of your company by remotely changing fontswallpaper and home screen layoutLastly, you can create multiple geofences and associate different policies when the mobile device is in or out of the fence. Admins can remotely change the wallpaper on the device and set additional restrictions when the user enters the geofence    

Secure Content Distribution and App Management 

Seamless content distribution and app management are some of the benefits an MDM can provide
Seamless content distribution and app management are some of the benefits an MDM can provide

File management ensures the seamless distribution of necessary documents and media to the user end devices
, if any employees are need of a particular file or document you can securely push those to the designated location in the user phone in no time at all. The contents can be easily updated and opened on the corporate approved applications.  

Corporate email accounts can be configured from the portal thus saving business users from the trouble of manually doing it themselves. In iOS devices, an additional restriction can set up to prevent users from moving their emails to other mail accounts present on their mobile device. This will also prevent the forwarding and replying to emails from different email accounts configured on the same device. Admins can enhance the security of email management even further by enabling SSL. SSL which stands for Secure Sockets Layer provides an encrypted connection between mail server and the device.  

Deploying the right application to the right users at the right time is yet another challenge that IT admins always have to face head on. With MDM this burdensome task not just taken care of but additional restrictions on the app notifications, permissions and network data usage management can be set as well. In iOS devices, admins can choose how each individual app can display its notifications on the mobile devices.  

Adequate permissions and configurations can be set on the work apps present within devices enrolled via the Android Enterprise program. You can allow or deny a specific feature such as full network access from acting on the deployed application. If neither option is chosen, you can let the app follow its default permission. App catalogs takes up App Management in the enterprise to a whole new level as it provides users with a platform where all the applications needed by them can be installed.  

MDM benefits the admin in setting up multiple catalogs to easily deploy applications to different set of targeted users, separate app catalogs can be created for people working in different departments. Both individual apps and app groups can be added to the catalog. If your business requires the applications to be updated, you can do it by replacing its old APK file with a new one and pushing the now updated app to the mobile devices of the end user via the mandatory app policy. The productivity of workers can be enhanced by whitelisting a set of applications and blacklisting those that are not deemed necessary by the company. With MDM, enterprise applications and VPP apps can be silently installed on the devices.    

Admins can track the network data usage and identify apps that take up a lot of data. From the MDM portal, you can configure the app wise usage restrictions by setting up data usage notifications and restrictions to notify the user when the data exceeds the daily or monthly limit.  

Easier management of Kiosk devices

With MDM admins can easily lock down the devices to a kiosk mode by restricting its functionalities to just a few preconfigured settings and limited applications. In Android devices, users can be restricted from making any changes to the network settings and device functionalities by configuring the peripheral settings. Apart from locking down the devices to a single app or multi app kiosk mode, applications that need to run in the background can be whitelisted on the mobile device but the user will not be able to access it directly. This comes useful in situation when the company wants to have an app installed but doesn’t want users to interfere with it. Web apps too can be locked down in a similar way. With Hexnode’s secure kiosk browser employees are given a much secure browsing experience by restricting their access to just a few websites that are permitted by the company.  

Hexnode’s native video player and PDF viewer provides IT admins the ease to let users view the video files and PDF documents without going for the need to install any third-party applications. Though there are dedicated digital signage solutions available they can be quite expensive, making it a less viable option for some businesses especially SMBs. With the digital signage capabilities offered by MDM solutions like Hexnode, your company can attract the attention of potential customers by easily converting the Android devices to branding kiosks. By enabling the autonomous single app mode in iOS devices admins can run an application in the foreground, this comes handy in situations where the devices need to be locked down to a single dedicated application. Once its usage is over, the app will automatically exit from the mobile device.   

Enhances the security capabilities 

IT admins can ensure protection on the devices
IT admins can ensure protection on the devices

Though BYOD give users the convenience to use their personal mobile device for work it has brought on more responsibilities to IT admins. With users bringing their personal devices, threat to leakage of sensitive business data is now higher than ever. With MDM admins can have access to plenty of benefits such as creating a dedicated space on the device where all the work-related data can be stored and kept separate from the personal data of the user.  
 
Additional restrictions such as preventing the copying and pasting of contents from managed apps to unmanaged applications and setting up a global HTTP proxy on the devices to ensure that all HTTP network traffic passes through it.  This can help minimize threats caused by data interception. Admins can protect the devices even further by enforcing strong password rules from the MDM portal and then provisioning it on to the devices. Certificates could be added and used for multiple security purposes.  

Locate lost devices and remotely wipe data present inside  

When an employee in your company loses their phone or reports it stolen, it can be quite a bit of a dilemma to track it down and have all of its data erased on time. An MDM can easily pave the way for ensuring security and provide businesses with benefits to locate and safeguard the lost devices of their employees. With the scan device location feature admins can get immediate heads up about the current whereabouts the mobile device. By navigating to the device summary page in the portal, you can get a complete view of its current location and location history. A word of caution though, if the user enables the mock location setting on the mobile device, then the correct location cannot be fetched. You can override this by pushing a policy to restrict users from switching on the mock location.   

By remotely locking the device, IT admins can make sure that the data present inside stays protected. A custom message can be created from the portal and with the provided contact information of the user you can make sure that whoever finds the mobile device can return it right away. Depending on the use case, you can initiate a corporate data wipe or a complete wipe to erase the sensitive corporate information present inside. A complete wipe will erase all the data present within the mobile device whereas a corporate wipe would just wipe out the work-related data. Lost mode provides an extra layer of protection to Android devices and supervised iOS devices, when enabled it will block all the device functionalities and just a message with the contact number will be displayed. Once the mobile device is located admins can exit it from lost mode by entering the exit passcode defined in the MDM portal. Prior to the device being lost, IT admins can ensure that the devices stay protected at all times by applying advanced restrictions to it, MDM with its multitude of  benefits can help you do that.

By enabling Factory Reset Protection on the device you can prevent unauthorized users from having access to the resources present within the device, so even if the person who gets hold of the device initiates a factory reset, they will not be able to use it as the previously configured Google username and password would be required to log in.    

Why should you go for it?

With an MDM solution on board IT admins can tap into the benefits of managing the devices of end users remotely via a string of remote actions, such as scanning the mobile device, its location and locking it in the event a user loses their device. App installation and the association of policies too can be done remotely.   

The future of mobile devices in the workplace is set and they will continue to be an integral part in businesses for a long time to come. By implementing the right MDM solution IT admins can bid adieu to a stress filled work schedule and enjoy the benefits of a streamlined management of mobile devices, reduced workload, happier employees and increased security 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heather Gray

Technical Blogger @ Hexnode. Reading and writing helps me to stay sane.

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