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What Is Mobile Device Management?

Andreas Rivera
Andreas Rivera

The use of both company-owned and employee-owned mobile devices in the workplace has exploded in the past several years. This trend, along with today's mobile workforce, has enabled companies to deliver faster, more efficient service to customers and greater workforce efficiency and productivity.

But there's a downside, and it's a serious one: How does an organization effectively monitor, manage and secure all employee-owned and company-owned devices and their disparate applications and operating systems, no matter where they're deployed and used?

Mobile device management (MDM) is a type of security software used by company IT departments to monitor, manage and secure any mobile devices that are used in the organization, whether issued by the company or owned by the employee. MDM is also sometimes called EMM, or enterprise mobility management.

Devices that can be managed by MDM and EMM include laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile hardware. This software secures apps, policies and permissions across platforms and multiple mobile service providers. It reduces risk to organizations and safeguards their networks and data assets.

MDM and EMM solutions typically include the following broad functions:

  • Software distribution
  • Policy management
  • Inventory management
  • Security management
  • Service management for smartphones and media tablets

There are many MDM and EMM providers, and multiple options are available in the marketplace. Feature sets of these solutions vary widely from provider to provider, but the following are considered essential:

  • Mandatory passwords
  • Password, blacklist and other security policy enforcement
  • Remote configuring and monitoring
  • Remote wipe, to safeguard data on lost or stolen devices
  • Backup and restore functionality
  • Device and data encryption
  • Malware detection
  • Restricted access to specific data and apps based on location
  • VPN configuration and management
  • Wi-Fi configuration and management
  • Fully managed, 24/7 monitoring of threats
  • Integration with existing security and management

While cloud-based services have been popular, some companies still opt for MDM or EMM systems that run in their own data centers. Many solutions providers offer multiple options – on-site, cloud-based and hybrid. As with any important purchase, business owners should research their options thoughtfully.

Editor's Note: Looking for a mobile device management solution? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.

The Best Mobile Device Management Solutions

These are our recommendations for MDM and EMM solutions you should consider depending on your use cases:

Best for MacOS/iOS – VMware AirWatch

It's a good bet that many of your employees use Apple products, so if you're planning on implementing a BYOD policy, you'll need one that integrates well with the MacOS/iOS ecosystem. VMware's AirWatch accomplishes this with its integration with the Apple Device Enrollment Program. The platform makes it easy to push out apps from Apple's app store to your containerized environment.

Best for Windows – MobileIron

Windows 10 hybrid desktop and mobile API is a great match for MobileIron, which makes it easy to manage PC laptops as if they were any other mobile device. Push out Windows 10 business applications and keep your company's data secure with its many productivity apps as well as integration with Microsoft Office 365.

Best for Android – CodeProof

CodeProof provides multiple features special for Android devices including integration with the Google Play Store for easy enrollment and deployment of business apps. With this platform you can have full control over the devices features and components to keep your business secure and private. Locate lost devices with the console's GPS tracking features.

Best for Security – Sophos

Sophos is known for its advanced endpoint protection, which it extends to its MDM platform, allowing you to protect your company's data with the same amount of cybersecurity. Your organization's content is kept safe and encrypted behind the platform's container, allowing you to wipe it out if you suspect the phone is stolen and can be security risk.

For a complete list of MDM and EMM reviews and recommendations, visit our sister site's buying guide.

Editor's Note: Looking for a mobile device management solution? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.

Image Credit: TATSIANAMA/Shutterstock
Andreas Rivera
Andreas Rivera
Business News Daily Staff
Andreas Rivera graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in Mass Communication and is now a staff writer for and Business News Daily. His background in journalism brings a critical eye to his reviews and features, helping business leaders make the best decisions for their companies.