Mobile device management (MDM) has gone from a ‘should probably have’ to a ‘must-have’ for IT organizations with Apple® products. With the pending release of macOS® Big Sur, it’s never been more critical to pick the right vendor with the feature set that meets your organization’s needs.
In this blog, we will discuss what the top MDM vendors need to provide to meet the needs of IT departments and managed service providers’ growing demands. MDM solutions started as a management system for iOS® and Android®, but they have become more prevalent in Windows®, Mac®, and even Linux® in recent years. It’s expected that MDM solutions will become the primary way to manage all device types in the coming years. Some MDMs have even expanded their feature set to include user management.
All organizations have different requirements when considering the best MDM solution for their use case, so it’s essential to focus on your organization’s functions and needs first, as each solution puts its unique spin on the MDM APIs.
Some MDM solutions are focused on a single platform, while others work across multiple types of devices. Many employers have a “bring your own device” solution as employees transition to permanent work from home. Many organizations are made up of a healthy mix of Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, so cross-platform support should be at the top of your list. Even if your organization primarily relies on Apple products today, you’ll want a management solution that can expand if your needs change in the future.
Core Security Functionality
Having control over crucial security functionality is a must. With employees often working remotely, it’s critical to be able to manage all aspects of each machine with features such as remote wipe, lock, restart, shut down, mandatory password strength, and more. If your organization determines that a new security policy needs to be in place, how easy is it to deploy and activate on your devices?
What role does your MDM play in configuring and managing security policies for IT? Is the process easy for IT to configure, and is it a seamless experience for the end users? Does it satisfy all compliance needs while still providing a great daily work experience for employees? If IT lacks the tools needed to manage the devices under their control, employees can slow the best device to a snail’s pace.
Software Installation & Patching
Technology never stands still, and neither do the application needs of your company. An MDM solution that works for you will be one that makes software installation something as simple as sending an email. It’s essential to keep in mind that the installation is just one part of the experience. Keeping software patched and up to date is just as important as the initial installation.
Device imaging is largely an outdated approach, and zero-touch deployment is required for modern workforces. IT and managed service providers (MSPs) can directly ship machines to employees, and all the configuration will happen as the employee goes through the setup process after unboxing the device. Zero-touch implementation automates a task that used to take hours or days to accomplish.
Data, Telemetry, & Insights
A modern MDM solution should offer more than just device management. It should proactively gather data and provide insights about the managed fleet. This data could indicate items like a common fail point among a particular type of device, and much more. It should be wide-ranging and actionable.
Bonus: User Management
Identity and user management from an MDM solution are now a trend, which is a bonus feature today. This was historically delivered in an external solution, but it’s more commonly integrated today, and this integration of system and user management can be extremely valuable for IT organizations as they scale up in their employee count. With the likely continued growth of SaaS solutions in the enterprise, identity management will become a crucial part of the strategy for IT and MSPs.