Mobile Device Management (MDM) software secures, monitors, manages and supports mobile devices deployed across mobile operators, service providers and enterprises. MDM functionality typically includes over-the-air distribution of applications, data and configuration settings for all types of mobile devices, including mobile phones, smartphones, tablet computers, ruggedized mobile computers, mobile printers, mobile POS devices, etc. This applies to both company-owned and employee-owned (BYOD) devices across the enterprise or mobile devices owned by consumers.
By controlling and protecting the data and configuration settings for all mobile devices in the network, MDM can reduce support costs and business risks. The intent of MDM is to optimize the functionality and security of a mobile communications network while minimizing cost and downtime.
With mobile devices becoming ubiquitous and applications flooding the market, mobile monitoring is growing in importance. Numerous vendors help mobile device manufacturers, content portals and developers, test and monitor the delivery of their mobile content, applications and services. This testing of content is done real time by simulating the action of thousands of customers and detecting and correcting bugs in the applications.
Companies are alarmed at the rate of employee adoption of mobile devices to access corporate data. MDM is now touted as a solution for managing these devices in the workplace.
Typically, solutions include a server component, which sends out the management commands to the mobile devices, and a client component, which runs on the handset and receives and implements the management commands. In some cases, a single vendor may provide both the client and the server, in others client and server will come from different sources. Below is a screenshot of what MDM looks like when installed as an individual profile that manages all aspects of the company MDM solution. If you aren’t sure whether you have MDM installed or not, you can look by going to Settings – General – Profiles. If you don’t see Profiles, there is not an MDM solution installed.
The management of mobile devices has evolved over time. At first it was necessary to either connect to the handset or install a SIM in order to make changes and updates; scalability was a problem. One of the next steps was to allow a client-initiated update, similar to when a user requests a Windows Update.
Central remote management, using commands sent over the air, is the next step. An administrator at the mobile operator, an enterprise IT data center or a handset OEM can use an administrative console to update or configure any one handset, group or groups of handsets. This provides scalability benefits particularly useful when the fleet of managed devices is large in size.
Device management software platforms ensure that end-users benefit from plug and play data services for whatever device they are using. Such a platform automatically detects devices in the network and sends them settings for immediate and continued usability. The process is fully automated, keeps history of used devices and sends settings only to subscriber devices which were not previously set, sometimes at speeds reaching 50 over-the-air settings update files per second.