Device Management Issues in Corporate Environments

Source: This article was first published on https://www.networkcomputing.com/network-security/device-management-issues-corporate-environments

Remote work, which will remain the norm for the near term, elevates the importance of device management and IT’s role in securing user devices.

Device management in corporate environments has evolved drastically over the years, thanks to the explosive popularity of smartphones. Many workers found their latest devices could perform as well as (or even better than) their office-issued technology. As companies grow in scale, more and more employees began using their personal mobile devices for work purposes.

Eventually, enterprise companies embraced the Bring-Your-Own-Device strategy. As a result, organizations realized they could limit the issuance of fleet devices to essential workers only. Additionally, allowing a mix of corporate devices and BYODs reduced the need for extensive, corporate-wide budgeting for hardware upgrades, spare devices, and parts. Instead, the IT team simply provided BYOD employees with user credentials for access to the corporate network.

However, while the BYOD approach to device management has many benefits, it also presents a variety of challenges. In addition to network security issues, effectively troubleshooting multiple operating systems can be a real nightmare.

Device management challenges

In the past year, remote work has become a viable alternative to spending the entire day at the office. This made mobile technology even more popular with employees. Even standard smartphones can handle communication tasks like email, voice chat, and videoconferencing. If they need to access files at the office, cloud-based software allows remote employees to log in from home.

While this system has provided extreme convenience to workers, IT teams are working harder than ever. Mobile technology growth requires providing employees with the tools needed to do work outside of the office, ensuring critical files and documents are available night and day. At the same time, IT must maintain the integrity of the corporate network and its servers: each device connecting to the corporate server should be able to do so securely, no matter the brand or operating system being used.

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IT teams face several challenges when performing device management in corporate environments, including:

Enterprise system integration: Adding and removing mobile devices may seem deceivingly easy. However, device management in corporate environments should ensure that the system will accept mobile devices of every type. This involves accepting different operating systems and various product specifications. Despite their differences, each device should seamlessly connect to the system, then connect with other devices as well.

Mobile device management: Instead of depending on users to perform checks or manual updates to critical firmware or software, automating these tasks encourages better compliance. It also ensures that all devices remain compatible in terms of software version or data content. Remote management can solve the problem of diagnosing, troubleshooting, and repairing system or software errors. It can also update select devices to stay on track with previously updated devices.

Device security: Security policies are necessary to maintain the corporate network’s integrity. Some employees may have lax habits when keeping passwords secure or logging out. The IT team should have measures in place to prevent incidents where unauthorized users can slip into the network unnoticed. This may include automatically banning the use of public WIFI networks in the office or automatically logging out users after a set period of time.

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Effective device management using enterprise MDM

Mobile device management (MDM) software can provide remote device management for corporate environments. This provides IT teams the means to manage digital devices that employees use to connect remotely. MDM software can handle both corporate-issued fleet devices and BYOD equipment. Even better, competent MDM software can integrate both device types into the same network so they can interoperate.

With companies expanding while embracing remote work, more devices are entering the business network. Managing corporate fleets and BYOD units has become a formidable task. MDM software removes the need for onsite management of digital devices. Using remote access, IT administrators can connect wirelessly to each connected device to perform registration, maintenance, and monitoring tasks.

The ideal MDM software should include the following features:

  • Tools to efficiently manage devices: A solution should have all the tools needed to provide full remote services to an entire fleet of devices. This includes the ability to centrally manage apps and settings, as well as perform updates, installations, or upgrades. This also entails managing Over-The-Air (OTA) and firmware updates. It should also be able to monitor devices for compliance to set policies and regulations, especially for handling sensitive data.
  • Security and control: MDM software should feature tools that can help secure both the device and the data contained. It can remotely lock or wipe data in case of breach of user agreements. Or it can set virtual perimeters where the device can safely operate. MDM systems can manage the gathering of user information for each device. It can then collect the data such as web, app, and device usage from each unit for analytical purposes. That way, concerned departments can gather insights that will prove useful for future decisions.
  • Compatibility with cloud service providers: To procure the widest reach to even remote devices, the MDM software should work well with popular cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). This will allow for a more efficient operation while managing devices, including reduced latency, redundancy, and end-to-end security and encryption of data sent.
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Final thoughts

Remote work is already institutionalized in many companies and locations. This means that more than ever, mobile devices will begin connecting to corporate networks remotely on a daily basis. For the IT team in charge of device management in corporate environments, remote mobile device management is the obvious choice for maintaining control of the Enterprise IT system. Like the devices it manages, it should operate remotely. In addition, it must be device-agnostic when accepting mobile devices and should offer the latest tools and services that provide effective management of connected devices, whether they’re part of the corporate fleet or BYOD units.