Mobile Device Management Systems – Part 1

This article (part 1 of 2) describes typical tasks of mobile device management system solutions you may look for.

Implementations of Mobile Device Management Systems

The solutions are provided as software systems running on corporate or provider specific server hardware, specialized appliances, virtualized services, may be offered as public cloud services of mobile operators or solution vendors or may be implemented as private cloud service.

TIP: if you need to manage a smaller number of users and devices check for cloud based services to minimize cost and increase flexibility.

TIP: If cloud services are required, check for ISO 27001 certification.

What is the main objective of Mobile Device Management Systems?

Mobile Device Management Systems are solutions to manage mobile devices like smartphones, tablet computers or other devices during their whole lifecycle.

What are the typical building blocks and tasks?

The solutions often consist of three main function blocks:

  • the software system itself, used for management purposes and to communicate with the mobile devices,
  • the manager interface (or service portal) to access all functions and services and
  • the database, where all device configurations, security profiles and other data may be stored.

Typical tasks performed are (examples): device installation, operation, decommission, handling of stolen or lost devices, definition of security policies, device configurations, software updates (of operating system and apps), distribution of data, blocking of apps, deletion of data, localization and much more.

Supported platforms

Mobile Device Management systems may support various mobile platforms like Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows or others.

TIP: verify your need for an integrated solution to manage not only smartphones and tablets but also systems with specialized functionality like barcode scanners, WLAN devices, notebooks or others.

Typical features

Some solutions offer a specific self-service portal for end users for e.g. device registration, remote block and wipe or decommission.

Localization helps to identify and find lost or stolen devices, generate movement profiles or support location specific security guidelines (“geo-fencing”) for e.g. device blocking (like display, camera, network interfaces, memory, sensors, etc.) or service blocking (e.g. phone calls, data transfers, navigation, deletion of data, blocking of apps).

It offers interesting possibilities for campus or country specific services or security policies (e.g. cameras may be blocked in the campus, Bluetooth may be blocked outside, apps may be allowed in certain areas, etc.).

TIP: check for device assets to be blocked in specific geographic regions.

Authentication of users can be performed by basic or directory-based authentication procedures. Systems support different directory services like LDAP, Microsoft Active Directory, Novell eDirectory or Oracle directory service.

TIP: check for deep integration in enterprise directory services and automated, centralized user and device management.

Following part 2 will cover additional features of Mobile Device Management solutions.

 

Resources:

Book: Ronald Schlager: “Selecting Mobile Device Management Systems”, ISBN-10: 1482003708, ISBN-13: 9781482003703
Seminar handouts “Mobile Device Integration

About the Author:

Ronald Schlager is independent trainer, consultant and book author focusing on communications technologies and their application.

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