According to survey research published in January, only half of today’s corporate executives feel that their organizations have the budgets necessary to mitigate cybersecurity risks. That means many businesses, both large and small, are seeking new ways to mitigate this threat while still being budget-conscious. As companies look to balance cost efficiency against infrastructure security, mobile device management (MDM) will become an increasingly important part of that equation.
MDM platforms allow companies to remotely manage all company-owned computers and mobile phones while also automating device maintenance and security tasks to maximize performance and efficiency. MDM is not a replacement for IT staff, but it can serve as a tool to help ensure companies are maximizing the impact of their existing IT team by freeing them up to deal with more complex, urgent problems. It’s a solution that’s especially useful for smaller businesses with limited resources, helping them handle the critical issue of cybersecurity in a way they can afford.
Here are three major ways that MDM can benefit small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs):
1) Cutting Costs
MDM can help SMBs lower their operating costs by limiting data usage, increasing the longevity of devices through automation of some maintenance tasks, increasing the efficiency of IT staff, and facilitating the convenient sharing of devices between employees. MDM location tracking also helps to prevent devices from being lost or stolen, which can be a major unexpected cost for smaller organizations. While time savings certainly translate directly to cost savings, especially when considering the salaries for IT managers or fees for IT service providers, the ROI of mobile device management extends to cost savings when factoring in data usage.
MDM can ensure that devices under its management have app usage restrictions (i.e., not allowing the use of entertainment streaming like Netflix), thus saving on data costs. Such control features can also monitor that employees are only using applications that have been approved in advance. The enhanced longevity that MDM platforms provide can make the annual operating cost per 10 devices drop from approximately $425 to $6.25, or even less depending on the lifecycle of the device.
SMBs that employ MDM platforms can also facilitate the convenient, secure sharing of iPads and other devices that can help supplement employee productivity. By having a system that allows multiple employees to easily use the same device, companies maximize the utilization of their existing technology fleet and save on new device purchasing and maintenance costs in the future. This can especially benefit businesses that need to transmit information between shifts but can’t justify the cost of equipping every employee with their own tablet. Shared tablets are an easy, efficient way for employees working in shifts to check inventories, access files, read email, or use specific work-related applications, all while minimizing technology costs for the organization.
2) Maximizing the Impact of IT Staff
The automation features of an MDM platform allow SMBs to maximize the impact of their often limited IT staff and budget. MDM allows IT staff to automate tedious, time-consuming tasks (like device enrollment and software updates) so IT staff are freed up to have more time to deal with more pressing issues. This way an SMB’s limited staff can spend more time being proactive about protecting the company’s network against cyberattacks.
MDM allows administrators to save time and money by deploying business policies, automating installations, and enforcing configurations, applications, and more. One positive side effect of reducing manual tasks is that it also reduces human errors and helps ensure compliance and the secure use of all mobile devices. A company’s chosen applications and configuration profiles, such as passcode and encryption requirements and email configurations, can be automatically installed on a group of devices.
Also, the use of automated patch management software makes it easy to centrally monitor the patching status of your IT environment. It also allows IT managers to automatically upload and install all necessary patches to your devices. This means that your IT manager and/or device user doesn’t have to manually search for new patches and install them one device at a time.
3) Increased cybersecurity
In addition to having a number of cost-saving features, MDM can bolster SMBs cybersecurity giving owners and IT teams increased peace of mind. Whereas PCs and laptops typically have pre-installed malware protection in them, tablets and mobile phones are much more vulnerable to cyberattacks. That means unmanaged mobile devices pose a variety of real security risks. MDM offers an effective way to safeguard these devices, ensuring their security with several configurations and restriction options.
For example, the use of certain device functionalities or apps can be prohibited, and the use of complex passwords can be enforced across all devices. With encrypted containers separating personal data from work data, SMBs can ensure that sensitive data does not leak to third parties, like through instant messaging apps. MDM can also create application blacklists for dangerous or distracting apps/websites, remote device lock and wipe functions, and add strong encryption requirements for sensitive files like employment records and company financial information.
In today’s challenging economic climate, many SMBs face tough decisions about the best way to balance a cost-cutting imperative against cybersecurity needs. MDM stands out as a solution that can address both of these pressing challenges. SMBs can easily adopt an MDM platform as a way to save on technology costs, maximize the impact of existing IT staff, and protect themselves against the financial and operational dangers of cyberattacks.
Simo Salmensuu is the CEO of Miradore, a software company that offers MDM services. You can connect with Miradore on Twitter and learn more about the company on their website.
Mobile device management stock image by NDAB Creativity/Shutterstock