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Early Decision Making Article

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Mobile Device Management and Android Security

What is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile Device Management and Android Security

8/9/2016


Related Products:  KioWare for Android

Mobile device management, or MDM, is an IT industry term for a particular type of software solution. Its device management tools allow for the administrators of a computer network to collectively manage the resources which are made available to any connected mobile devices. This includes devices which are an integral part of the network, but it also allows for the management of any devices which employees might bring from home. Depending upon the nature of a particular business, it may also apply to mobile devices carried by customers while they are on the premises.

Some MDM solutions involve a software package with a typically lightweight installation, which leaves a minimal footprint present on end-user devices themselves. This is substantially responsible for the MDM solution's ability to engage and disengage with previously unfamiliar devices smoothly. Whether such a device is an employee's new tablet computer, or the smartphone carried by a new customer, it will be quickly located by the network. Its access to the network will be restricted according to an established set of instructions, without otherwise impacting the device's ability to function.  The type of usage needed will ultimately determine what kind of MDM Software is best for the use case.  If more restriction is needed, MDM Software like KioWare (kiosk software) is appropriate, while BYOD (bring your own device) and less restricted mobile device use cases will require a lighter solution.

Why is Mobile Device Management Used?

The primary and most popular function of an MDM installation is twofold. Its essential purpose is to provide network security, which it does by controlling a device's access to critical information and resources. The other half of its function, implicitly, is the assurance of employee efficiency through the enforcement of time management. Security concerns aside, the software's suite of device management tools can prevent employees from using company resources to engage in unrelated and unauthorized activities. As mobile connectivity becomes more common, (having already surpassed desktop connectivity in 2015,) security solutions which function efficiently within a mobile infrastructure become that much more important to maintaining network integrity.

Many enterprises have long since adopted a "bring your own device" approach to employee management. The use of MDM software allows for employees to perform their requisite functions on a device of their choice, rather than needing to be issued with a company device. MDM's Windows device management and Android device management tools allow it to centralize the management of all connected devices for monitoring, reporting, content updating, and overal management. 

Which Devices are Covered by MDM?

Recent innovations have resulted in additions to the list of devices which are affected by most MDM software. The following list covers the most common types of devices whose network access may be restricted through a mobile device management software package. Please note that individual installations may be customized to apply to a slightly varied list.

As the Internet of Things slowly expands, the list of devices covered by MDM's mobile device management tools will most certainly increase, thanks to a focus on underlying operating systems which allows new devices to be brought on board automatically. At the same time, MDM is a flexible and highly modifiable software solution. Individual Windows device management, Android device management, and other customized mobile device management tools exist to cover the particular concerns of a variety of operating systems.

What Are the Typical Mobile Device Management Tools?

MDM makes use of the latest models of cloud-compatible encryption, including end-to-end data encryption. This provides unrivaled security to an enterprise network. In addition, there are a number of device management features available on an MDM.

What Are the Risks of MDM Software?

The primary down side of MDM software is its lack of popularity with employees. MDM may be used to install a company-wide instant messenger service on employees' devices, while disabling any native messengers (or other apps) which said employees otherwise prefer to use. It may be used to lock out specific devices from the corporate network, which offers the potential for abusive punitive action. This takes effect only while connected to the corporate network, but this level of functionality is considered by some to be highly intrusive. Of particular concern to many employees is the ability of an MDM installation to remotely wipe any device which is currently connected to the network.

One way to potentially deal with employee resentment of MDM's functionality is to emphasize the security aspect of MDM. Thanks to its next generation end-to-end data encryption, an MDM software installation will keep connected devices very secure while they are connected to the network. Wi-fi access and hotspots may be set up within the network; this may allow employees normal access to their apps within a specific location, while maintaining the MDM software's protection. Given the level of control that MDM enables with regard to employees' personal devices, individual enterprises are encouraged to keep corporate devices available for employee use. This will at least permit the option of leaving one's personal devices at home.

What are the benefits of MDM Software?

Security, security, security.  The upside of MDM software such as KioWare for Android or KioWare for Windows is security and control.  By locking down the device to only the allowed activities, actions, and applications, KioWare is able to protect the device, the user, the data, and thus is able to keep the device in use for only purposed and approved activities.  The device manager can control the device both while in use and also when lost or in non compliant hands.  Manage, monitor and report on user activity, time spent, and update the device capabilities remotely using MDM Software such as KioWare.

Related Articles:

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Selecting a Tablet for your Managed Kiosk or Purposed Device Project

Purposed Device and Purposed Device Protection

Top 5 Reasons to Use an Android Tablet Kiosk

KioWare for Android, MDM
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