Over the past few weeks, I've talked with various organizations about the possibility of implementing mobile device management (MDM). To my surprise, many IT managers and CIOs didn't easily grasp the concept of MDM and what it can do for their organizations. I'm not sure if it's the name "mobile device" in MDM -- or that first iterations of MDM were slim on features -- but there seems to be a disconnect about what MDM can do and how it's perceived by IT professionals.
Most people I spoke with thought of MDM simply as a data-loss-mitigation tool for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments that enables them to remotely wipe lost or stolen devices. And while this is true, MDM can do so much more. First of all, it's not strictly for BYOD scenarios. In fact, many MDM implementations I've been a part of did not allow for BYOD. Instead, the companies wanted a way to manage and secure company-owned devices.
Another misconception that I was surprised to hear was that MDM was only for mobile devices -- i.e., smartphones and tablets. This couldn't be further from the truth. While there are some benefits to using a modern operating system, such as iOS and Android, to squeeze a few more features out of an MDM, integration of desktop operating systems has really picked up steam. In fact, every new desktop OS update and revision seems to add more MDM possibilities.
One last misconception is that MDM is strictly a security tool. In fact, most new features deal with easing the entire management of wireless devices. Automation is the name of the game here, and MDM can automatically identify devices that fall outside the bounds of corporate policies and instantly take action to patch, push, and eliminate any issues.
We're looking to eliminate the confusion surrounding what MDM can do for you. In our list, there are probably several features that you already know. We hope you'll learn one or two things you didn't know before, and by doing so gain a better understanding of the state of MDM capabilities and what they might be able to do for you in the future.
Once you've reviewed our list, tell us whether any of these features were a surprise to you. Or, if we missed a specific MDM capability that you think is an absolute game-changer, we want to know. Tell us all about it in the comments section below.