Mobile device management (MDM) technology has yet to catch on at most small businesses despite the growing reliance on mobile devices.  A recent CDW 2012 Small Business Mobility Survey  indicates that most small businesses are unfamiliar with the software that secures monitors, manages and supports mobile devices deployed across a company.

Among the 376 small business IT managers surveyed by CDW, (IT managers made up half of the 752 survey participants.), 67 percent said they were unfamiliar with MDM software. Furthermore, only 22 percent of those familiar with MDM tools have deployed or plan to deploy them. By contrast

However IT managers who have deployed the technology report that it “gives them a better grip on mobile devices and applications.”  The benefits they realize include:

  • 53% improved security
  • 46% improved workforce productivity
  • 40% improved back up/disaster recovery
  • 34% improved ability to quickly deploy apps
  • 33% reduced management cost

Why MDM matters

With the adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) becoming more pervasive– 89 percent of small business employees use their own devices for work according to the CDW survey – the need to protect your network is becoming increasingly important. In “Mobile Device Management is the Cure to BYOD Dizziness,” Miguel Leiva-Gomez writes:

“Mobile device management opens the doors for you to be able to provision and de-provision material from within your IT infrastructure as you see fit and guard the information from apps that employees could have installed that do not comply with regulations you adhere too. Non-compliant applications will be blocked from interacting with sensitive company data.” He also notes if a device gets into the wrong hands, you easily can remotely remove the data that pertains to your company.

How to choose MDM technology

There are a host of MDM suite vendors to choose from.  Here is a list of suggested questions from TechTricks World  to ask providers you are considering:

1. Is the MDM solution integral with industry standard management platforms?
2. How easy is it to assign policies to employee-owned devices?
3. How is the MDM solution deployed and how does the end-user access it?
4. What authorization measures are included with the solution? Can IT control which users have access to the device?
5. How are conflicts resolved?
6. Is “lock and wipe” confirmation included in MDM solutions?
7. Are compliance reports available?

Are you currently employing an MDM technology solution?  If you are, how has it helped your business simplify security and other mobile device management issues?