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Why Mobile Device Management (MDM) is Vital to BYOD Deployment

June 13, 2017

BYOD is big in the enterprise thanks to the way it can cut costs and improve productivity. A secure, successful BYOD deployment involves much more than simply setting some policies and turning employees loose to buy and bring their own devices, however. There are several key backend pieces that organizations need to have. One of the most important is Mobile Device Management (MDM). The MDM market is experiencing strong growth thanks to its importance in BYOD deployments. You'll need to understand why in order to sell MDM to BYOD customers most effectively.

First, let's look at what MDM solutions do. Typically initially installed in a server on the backend, MDM solutions detect mobile devices attempting to access the network and push out client software to the devices to manage and control the devices' data, applications, and configurations.

MDM solutions are key to alleviating privacy and security concerns in BYOD deployments. They do so by addressing many of the concerns that IT departments have around BYOD:

1. They provide an enhanced level of control over even employee-owned devices. One of the biggest problems IT departments have with BYOD is a loss of control. Different device settings and configurations will have different impacts on security and availability. By enforcing setting and configuration standards across all connected devices, enterprises with serious concerns about BYOD can proceed with BYOD deployments with more peace of mind.

2. They mitigate the risks inherent to lost or stolen devices. In a BYOD deployment, employees often have access to corporate data or even store corporate data on their personal devices, which can prove dangerous to data security and confidentiality should the devices be lost or stolen. MDM solutions often feature a "remote wipe" capability. Once an employee reports the loss or theft of his device, administrators can act quickly to wipe all corporate data from the device. This way, thieves and other third parties will not have access to sensitive or proprietary corporate information.

3. MDM solutions that segregate corporate data and applications from personal data and applications go a long way towards alleviating concerns around unauthorized access or use of corporate data. Many mobile apps demand access to more data and settings than corporations are comfortable with allowing. Keeping corporate and personal areas separate on devices can help address this problem while giving the employee freedom to use his device as he sees fit and allowing the corporation to have control over applications and data used for business purposes.

MDM solutions are, of course, not the only technologies organizations will need to ensure a safe and successful BYOD deployment. You and your customers will also need to look into Network Access Control (NAC), data security and device authentication solutions, and perhaps updates to their wired and wireless network infrastructures. For most enterprises, however, MDM is the most logical place to start as they begin their journey to a BYOD deployment.

What do you think about MDM's place in BYOD environments? Tell us your opinions in the comments.