Mobile device management (MDM) is an industry term for the administration of mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers and laptops. MDM is usually implemented with the use of a third party product that has management features for particular vendors of mobile devices.
MDM is typically a deployment of a combination of on-device applications and configurations, corporate policies and certificates, and backend infrastructure, for the purpose of simplifying and enhancing the IT management of end user devices. In modern corporate IT environments, the sheer number and diversity of managed devices (and user behavior) has motivated MDM solutions that allow the management of devices and users in a consistent and scalable way. The overall role of MDM is to increase device supportability, security, and corporate functionality while maintaining some user flexibility.
Many organizations administer devices and applications using MDM products/services. MDM primarily deals with corporate data segregation, securing emails, securing corporate documents on devices, enforcing corporate policies, integrating and managing mobile devices including laptops and handhelds of various categories. MDM implementations may be either on-premises or cloud-based.
Some of the core functions of MDM include:
- Ensuring that diverse user equipment is configured to a consistent standard / supported set of applications, functions, or corporate policies
- Updating equipment, applications, functions, or policies in a scalable manner
- Ensuring that users use applications in a consistent and supportable manner
- Ensuring that equipment performs consistently
- Monitoring and tracking equipment (e.g. location, status, ownership, activity)
- Being able to efficiently diagnose and troubleshoot equipment remotely
MDM functionality can include 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. Most recently laptops and desktops have been added to the list of systems supported as Mobile Device Management becomes more about basic device management and less about the mobile platform itself.
MDM tools are leveraged for both company-owned and employee-owned (BYOD) devices across the enterprise or mobile devices owned by consumers. Consumer Demand for BYOD is now requiring a greater effort for MDM and increased security for both the devices and the enterprise they connect to, especially since employers and employees have different expectations concerning the types of restrictions that should be applied to mobile devices.
By controlling and protecting the data and configuration settings of all mobile devices in a 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. The use of mobile device management across continues to grow at a steady pace, and is likely to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 23% through 2028.
The US will continue to be the largest market for mobile device management globally. 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 in real time by simulating the actions of thousands of customers and detecting and correcting bugs in the applications.