Mobile Device Management Features That Matter

Today's enterprise mobility management suites are complex systems filled with a variety of features, integrations and capabilities. We outline the five most important MDM feature categories to consider when evaluating MDM solutions.

The sharp and sudden rise in the number of mobile devices in the enterprise has launched a new segment of business service software known as mobile device management. MDM software helps you manage mobile phones, tablet computers, as well as business staples such as laptops and other portable computers. The bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon has fueled the interest in managing these devices in such as way as to provide security for the company's assets and freedom of choice for employees.

MDM suites, by design, are heavy-handed in that they manage the whole device. Managing at the device level gives companies a high level of control of what can and what cannot reside on devices and which devices may have access to corporate assets including networks, documents, and printers.

Because of the upswing in device management popularity, business owners have an overwhelming number of MDM suite choices. However, as many customers have found, one size does not fit all. Therefore, you must determine which features are essential to your business and its continuity.

There are five major mobile device management features that matter, presented here to help you find the perfect MDM fit for your business. On the following page, you'll find a feature comparison matrix that will compare the MDM solutions from several different vendors.

Supported Operating Systems and Platforms

This feature option will help you greatly narrow your search because MDM suites usually support a subset of all available operating systems (OSs) and platforms. You have to decide which OSs and platforms you want to allow in your network. Operating system refers to the software that the device uses and platform is the type of device, such as mobile phone, tablet computer, and laptop computer.

Major Mobile Device Operating System Options:

- Android
- iOS (Apple)
- Windows Mobile
- Blackberry
- Symbian

Major Computer Operating System Options:

- Windows
- Mac OS X
- Linux
- Chrome OS

Security Features

While all MDM vendors will tout their security features list, there are a few essential ones to recognize and require for your own company’s safety and ongoing security efforts.

- Mandatory password protection
- Jailbreak detection
- Remote wipe
- Remote lock
- Device encryption
- Data encryption
- Malware detection
- VPN configuration and management
- WiFi configuration and management

Enterprise Integration

You don’t want to commit to a tool that doesn’t fit in with what  you already use, so be sure to examine your MDM prospects with a discerning eye when it comes to integration with your existing enterprise applications.

- Active Directory/LDAP
- Microsoft Exchange
- Web-based mail
- Cloud services
- Backup/Restore

End User Support

Unless you have the resources and the desire to provide attended 24 by 7 support for your users, you should find out if your down-selected MDM suites support the following features:

- Self-service portal
- Help Desk
- Multi-language support

Management and Reporting Features

Before purchasing an MDM suite, you should find out what’s offered for management and reporting. Administrators will need a robust management interface with which to monitor, to patch, and to track managed devices. For reporting, you should look for device-level analytics, alerting options, and a real-time dashboard so that you can scan the number and health of your MDM efforts. Optionally check on the type and the extent to which there is any third-party management software integration available for your suite.

The key to purchasing an effective MDM solution is to "try before you buy." Most vendors have limited device demonstration software that you can use for an evaluation period. Include your technical team who will be using the software so that they can fully vet the suite and its features. There are plenty of MDM suite choices that provide you the protection you need, give your employees the freedom they want, and possess the features that matter.,2-745.html