By Olivia Cahoon
As mobile technology advances it dips into workspaces for business use—leaving security a concern. Mobile device management (MDM) provides functions like application (app)-based containerization and integrated mobile security solutions.
Gartner’s definition of MDM states that its functions generally include software distribution and smartphone and tablet management features for inventory, policy, security, and service. Here, we discuss the drivers and challenges of modern MDM software.
Mobile device usage increases in work and personal spaces lead to a demand for MDM software. Employees seek the convenience and flexibility of accessing work information on-the-go, leaving mobile devices vulnerable. Securing corporate information is a top concern for enterprises.
“IT is challenged with ensuring the safety and confidentiality of that information, especially since it sits outside of the traditional corporate network perimeter,” says Renu Upadhyay, product marketing director, end user computing, VMware. MDM software helps IT enforce device and data security. Upadhyay says it also offers IT solutions to easily implement corporate apps and deliver an enterprise-class experience on mobile devices like traditional desktops.
John Herrema, SVP, enterprise products and value-added solutions, BlackBerry, believes mobility software platforms present new opportunities for all enterprises and verticals to develop highly effective business services with partners and increase productivity for modern workforces. “They can also streamline existing business processes and create strategic pathways to new and significant revenue generation,” he says. For example, MDM software users can now manage and extract information from any connected device or endpoint without security concerns.
Mobile devices are becoming a catalyst for business transformation because of its effects on business workflows and productivity. Ojas Rege, CEO, MobileIron, believes mobile transformation is not possible unless business data is effectively secured. He considers enterprise mobility management (EMM) to be the secure foundation for this transformation and the primary driver as the need to provide and secure apps and mobile data.
According to Rege, in 2014 Gartner renamed its MDM Magic Quadrant evaluation to EMM to reflect a broader scope of customer requirements that go beyond device management to focus on mobile data security for apps, content, and devices. “This new model of security separates personal and business data on the device and protects the security of business data while preserving the privacy of personal data,” says Rege. The EMM category is considered the central security solution for business apps and data.
The need for MDM software also brings challenges for the enterprise. As businesses move past mobilizing with end user computing like phones and tablets, they enter the next generation of business productivity with a full Enterprise of Things (EoT).
“With the explosion in volume of enterprise connected devices, businesses taking advantage of this trend transform how they do business and create new market opportunities,” says Herrema. As a result, security market demands shift from computer networks to endpoint networks. Enterprises need a complete security architecture.
Herrema believes that today’s point product solutions don’t address the problem. He says, “to confidently secure the EoT, businesses should transition from MDM to EMM and consider implementing a true unified endpoint management solution that helps them manage and secure their entire connected device fleet as well as securing communications to and from these devices for all messages and file types.”
Because MDM offers data protection at the device level, Upadhyay believes the biggest challenge surrounds user privacy concerns in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) cases where employees want to use the same device for personal and work apps. “There is a perception that since there is a management profile on the device, IT or their employer will have access to and visibility into employees’ personal information.” It’s also challenging to keep pace with different mobile platforms like iOS and Android, which both have individual philosophies surrounding user experience, device management, and security.
Ryan Delany, global solutions marketing manager, Trend Micro Incorporated, warns that even though MDM is good at managing corporate and mobile devices, it does not provide mobile threat protection from malicious apps. He believes MDM vendors should have integrated mobile security solutions with MDM. “The integrated mobile security solutions provide threat protection on mobile devices and provides device security status information to MDM for compliance and police enforcement from MDM,” he says.
Rege agrees and believes one of the most dangerous security gaps for MDM is downloading business data to mobile apps on untrusted devices.
Security challenges are addressed with MDM software, with measures that ensure only trusted devices and apps are allowed access to business’ cloud services. Rege says the software acts as a gate for authentication between the user and cloud data so only trusted users, on trusted devices, using trusted apps can access the data.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) affects MDM strategies for all verticals. It presents new opportunities and develops business services.
Herrema says BlackBerry provides IoT solutions to the freight industry to enable asset tracking and container and inventory remote management. “The freight industry installs asset tracking devices on trucks and containers to improve efficiency and information visibility, enabling real-time decisions and reducing operational costs.” With the data, collected operation managers, load planners, and dispatchers determine the containers’ use and identify opportunities for theft or inefficiency. Herrema says they also monitor temperature, humidity, and cargo presence to check for problems that increase risks and expenses for damaged or lost shipments. “All of this data is easily accessible to transportation managers now through MDM on any smartphone, table, or computer, via an online portal.”
MDM solutions manage and secure devices over the air. Upadhyay says this is a critical requirement regarding IoT endpoints because endpoints are usually in difficult to access locations and part of critical business processes like point-of-sales devices that shouldn’t be disrupted. “The value of MDM for managing IoT endpoints is very clear and should definitely be considered by enterprises,” he says.
Delany says Gartner forecasts seven billion connected things for businesses will be in use worldwide by 2020. “These connected things can potentially create huge security challenges as they connect to corporate and public networks.”
For businesses, managing and protecting IoT devices will be the next challenge. Delany adds that MDM solutions must manage and protect any device, anywhere, and anytime—including IoT devices—to help solve customer pain points.
“Currently, MDM solutions are focused on managing mobile smartphones and tablets, but going forward MDM solutions must support a wide variety of IoT devices that will be used by businesses,” explains Delany.
Rege believes IoT is an important market adjacency to EMM. He says the majority of the IoT market is custom software. Solutions bring certificate-based identity, configuration, building commercial software with built-in lifecycle management, gateway inventory, and network access control. “These technologies are directly applicable to IoT environments,” adds Rege.
Trends like containerization and security attacks affect the adoption and use of MDM.
Containerization is a growing trend affecting MDM use. Enterprises interact with more cases of traditional management techniques that involve corporate device ownership and limiting personal usage. Herrema says these cases simply don’t work. This includes BYOD employee cases and increasing numbers of high-value business to business and business to consumer cases.
“The enterprise simply has no ability to manage the user’s device but the enterprise still has the same needs to ensure that its own apps and data remain secure, in compliance, and that it doesn’t violate the user’s privacy when doing so,” says Herrema.
He believes that app-based containerization allows enterprises to apply security and compliance policy controls that go beyond simple data encryption requirements to apps and data. For BYOD cases, containerization allows employees to use personal devices to work remotely while companies save by not purchasing corporate-owned devices.
An abundance of apps drive the adoption of EMM. “End-users love apps in their personal lives and they want them in their business lives,” says Rege.
Regulation also effects how mobile devices are managed. Rege says the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires organizations that handle personal data to implement privacy by design policies to ensure data isn’t compromised. He explains, “the penalties for non-compliance with GDPR are substantial; the maximum fines are either 20 million Euros or four percent of the company’s worldwide revenue—whichever is higher.”
Enterprises take notice of the value of MDM software as it has increased productivity, better employee efficiency and satisfaction, and business growth. It extends beyond device management to include secure mobile apps for browser, calendar, email, and document collaboration. Upadhyay believes the next trend, especially driven with the availability of Windows 10, is towards consolidating mobile and desktop device management into one solution for IT to have visibility into the entire end user computing landscape.
Delany warns that Trend Micro has seen an increase in ransomware attacks on mobile devices. He says businesses must implement mobile security solutions in addition to MDM to protect against mobile ransomware.
Impacting the Market
MDM technology has impacted the market and matured consumer platforms like iOS and Android to meet enterprise buyer needs. Upadhyay says both these platforms have started to embed security and encryption technologies directly into the OS for standard solutions for mobile application management and device-based security controls.
“Enterprises across industries have been able to meet the demands of their employees for mobile productivity solutions while radically transforming their business workflows with the rollout of mobile apps,” explains Upadhyay. For example, bank tellers can now leverage tablets to interact with customers and doctors access patient information and communicate on the go.
Secure EoT with IoT and containerization allows businesses to trust partners and customers to use mobile devices for work. “In a B2B environment, all contractors, partners, and extended enterprise workers have the same tools I do, and that allows me to engage with them better,” says Herrema.
Here, we highlight various MDM solutions from vendors quoted in the article.
The BlackBerry UEM is part of the BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Suite. It allows businesses to securely manage devices operating on platforms and supports all device ownership models.
MobileIron’s platform is built to secure and manage corporate data in a world where devices are used for personal and professional activities. MobileIron Access prevents untrusted access to enterprise cloud services and provides a link between the mobile app and the cloud service.
Trend Micro offers Trend Micro Mobile Security (TMMS) with MDM and MAM solutions for enterprises. TMMS is a mobile threat protection software powered by cloud based Mobile App Reputation Services.
VMware offers EMM/MDM software solutions with VMware AirWatch. AirWatch enables true user-centric management for all endpoints in a single solution. AirWatch is part of a broader VMware Workspace ONE platform which enables IT to choose technology at the pace and cost of the business.
Mobile Device Management
With new apps released and trends like BYOD taking hold, MDM is crucial for companies to consider. It helps IT enforce device and data security while streamlining existing business processes. Today’s MDM providers offer solutions for all industries to manage mobile devices efficiently and safely.
August2017, Software Magazine