Mobile device management solutions are top of mind this time of year as IT administrators and managed service providers look for ways to simplify their fleet management. Getting an MDM solution in place has become even more critical now that Apple® has made it a requirement to manage macOS® Big Sur.
Modern MDM solutions are more than just ‘mobile’ device management, though. They are complete sets of tools that can manage your entire fleet of Mac®, Windows®, Linux®, iOS®, and Android® devices, including phones and tablets. MDM solutions will eventually replace the current crop of system management tools that are used by enterprise customers.
As IT organizations and MSPs consider the right solution for their needs, the critical MDM functions that may be of interest are essential to keep in mind when researching products.
Many MDM solutions are only compatible with a single platform, while others work across multiple operating systems and devices types. The vast majority of fleets are composed of a mixture of device types, so cross-platform support should be a priority.
For compliance reasons and overall security, IT teams must have control over all aspects of the machine with features such as remote wipe, lock, restart, shut down, minimum password strength and more. With so many employees working remotely, having physical access to a device is no longer a given. If your organization determines that a new security policy needs to be in place, how easy is it to deploy and activate on your fleet of devices that are spread out around your city, the country, or even the world?
An MDM solution is a crucial aspect of managing your fleet when employees are working remotely. Devices must be able to check in to the MDM solution regardless of their location. It’s important to consider how easy it is for IT departments to make changes to security policies and configurations without requiring a VPN or other clunky connectivity methods. As new features for operating systems are released, management systems are likely to see updates to correspond. Being able to roll out these changes quickly is crucial to remain secure.
Application deployment is a vital part of an IT strategy, and keeping apps patched is critical. MDM solutions are built for device management, but application deployment is an essential function that allows IT organizations or MSPs to operate efficiently. Staying in compliance with software vendors for licensing is also made easier by an MDM as reports can be run at any time to determine who has what installed.
With software being connected to the internet at all times, it’s critical to deploy patches quickly. As with software deployment, an MDM allows auditing to show what versions of what software is installed, and then patches can be deployed.
Zero Touch Deployment
Zero-touch deployment is a dramatic change from the previous strategy of device imaging. With imaging, every machine would be opened, set up, and then configured with a monolithic image. With zero-touch deployment, a configuration is built in an MDM. As devices connect to the internet, they will enroll in the MDM, and then begin downloading configuration profiles and company applications. Zero-touch deployment turns a tedious process into a turn-key one.
Once considered a ‘fringe’ feature, user management is becoming a central part of many organizations’ technology strategies. With a continued rise in SaaS applications, it’s becoming critical to security that users don’t have to keep track of dozens of logins. Many MDMs are building in user management into their solution as a ‘one-one-stop for IT departments to manage devices and people.