Protection Vs. Privacy: Challenges of Mobile Device Management

Manisha Patnaik | October 27, 2021 | 28 views

mobile device management challenges
Digital liberation has opened up several avenues for businesses. The current scenario is a bright example of how a remote or hybrid work model seamlessly became a norm, establishing digital workspaces, including laptops and PCs.

But this has also led companies to deal with a lot of challenges in managing their enterprise mobility.

Whether it is the security or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to the user experience or migration, Mobile Device Management (MDM) plays a significant role in digital transformation.

PROTECTION VS. PRIVACY: THE PROBLEM WITH (MDM) – INTRODUCTION


Mobile device management pertains to software solutions and reliable practices that enable companies to easily manage and obtain wide-ranging mobile devices in compliance with corporate guidelines.

In addition, the MDM functionality addresses the security of devices and data, management of devices, and configurations.

Essentially, MDM as security is an element of an enterprise mobility management solution that integrates a clustered set of tools to secure and manage mobile apps, BYOD devices, content data and access, configurations, risk management, software updates, and application management.

MDM allows a single-interface control over all connecting devices, enabling each device registered for corporate use through the MDM software to be easily monitored, managed, and controlled as per organizational policies.

“It’s clear that our network is better protected. We have solved our BYOD issues and can rely on great support via e-mail, phone, or Skype.”

- Raymond Bernaert, IT Administrator at ROC Kop van Noord, the Netherlands

However, when it comes to an understanding, this technology is of utmost importance to consider the key challenges that companies face regarding protection vs. privacy of mobile device management.

Key Challenges


MDM solutions are built to improve visibility and secure better control into an end user’s mobile device activity. However, unrestrained tracking of the device’s activities poses a huge threat to the end user’s privacy.

For instance, the mobile device management solution may track real-time location and browsing detail. The information exposes employees’ data and usage habits beyond the employer’s device management and security needs.

Moreover, as the mobile device market expands, employees choose devices from various brands and platforms, which companies extend support and manage; nevertheless, unanticipated security issues with a specific platform and software version could emerge at any point. Thus, executing the entire process without compromising the end-user convenience.

Now, let’s check out some of the most common mobile device management challenges.

Security


Using numerous devices and endpoints could potentially increase the risk of hacking. This is because, for hackers, it would be a lot easier to exploit the endpoints.

And, no wonder mobile device security is one of the fastest-growing concepts in the cybersecurity landscape today.

Incorporating mobile devices under the umbrella of mobile device management would be helpful to bridge the vulnerable gaps and prove to firmly manage the entire digital fleet, including mobile phones and PCs. In addition, this will increase up-time significantly and containerize the personal data from corporate data.

The Privacy Issue


Though MDM solution helps organizations obviate data breaches, they also open up doubt and questions regarding employee privacy. This is because various MDM tools allow employers to monitor the entire device’s activities, including personal phone calls and web activity, at any point.

Subsequently, this empowers the IT team to command control in corporate security, whereby they perform many such remote actions, which harm the employees’ privacy.

Organizations over the years have used mobile device management solutions with the intent to put BYOD in place. When an enterprise enables BYOD, employees use their devices to access data to help achieve the tasks.

With the intent to secure the endpoints, companies choose MDM as their key solution and take control over the entire mobile device, but with that comes the potential for abuse. So, naturally, there is an unwillingness among employees to get MDM installed on their devices.

Network Access Control (NAC)


The sudden surge in digital workspace culture has also brought in additional complications with varied mobile devices.

It is crucial to ensure the team has access to all the apps and corporate data they need. However, it is also important to note that there should be a check on direct access to the data center.

One of the core elements for enterprise mobility is network access control (NAC). NAC scrutinizes devices wanting to access your network and it carefully enables and disables native device capabilities distinctly.

With designated devices getting connected to the network as per resource, role, and location, it is relatively easy for NAC to ascertain their access level based upon the pre-configured concepts.

User Experience


It is essential to consider the end-user experience while managing mobility as it often becomes a big challenge. Therefore, a successful mobile device management structure lies mainly in creating a satisfying user experience.

A company that uses various devices and has extensive BYOD users may find VMware Workspace ONE or MobileIron effective.

However, if the enterprise is all Apple iPhones, the ideal enterprise mobility management would be Jamf Pro, an Apple-only EMM.

A single sign would be a perfect method to get into the virtual desktop to ensure efficiency for the remote workers. Moreover, it won’t ask you to sign into different applications separately.

Sturdy enterprise mobile device management is an absolute necessity to have a hassle-free experience.

Let’s cite the example of this case study, where ‘The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’ (S&T) initiated the Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program to assist tomorrow’s first responder in becoming protected, connected and aware.

DHS S&T held a series of NGFR Integration Demonstrations to incrementally test and assess interoperable technologies presently at the development stage.

These demonstrations have changed from tabletop integration to field exercises with partner public safety agencies incorporating increasingly complex technology.

The NGFR- Harris County OpEx included 23 varied DHS and industry-provided technologies involving six Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, five situational awareness applications and platforms and live-stream video feeds.

Additionally, Opex technologies also integrated body-worn cameras and real-time data aggregation and access across numerous agencies.

In a nutshell, this case study identifies and explains the mobile device management (MDM) solutions that provided an application-level cybersecurity evaluation and remote device management. The Opex addresses how nationwide public safety agencies could utilize MDM to enhance the operational deployment of new devices and applications.

Final Words


There are surely both pros and cons involved in mobile device management.

Over the years, the BYOD program has turned out to become a norm in corporate culture. In addition, the use of personal devices has significantly surged due to the gradual increase in remote and hybrid work models. Thus, many believe that the MDM solution is naturally aligned with BYOD.

However, the fact is, a perfectly planned BYOD policy is the only way to ensure clarity. Having no policy in place will expose a firm to the so-called ‘Shadow IT’ as users will circumvent the IT infrastructure working from their mobile devices.

Though the breach of privacy is likely, the policy can be tailored based on the company’s needs. The IT security is adequately maintained and protected and strikes a balance between protections vs. privacy in mobile device management.

Frequently Asked Questions


What can mobile device management do?


Mobile device management keeps business data safe and protected and secures control over confidential information. MDM also exercises its power to lock and remove all data. This is the capability that sustains the device’s security.


What are different mobile management tools?


With the introduction of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), several enterprise mobility management tools have also been inducted into MDM.

To name a few, some of the prominent MDM tools are Miradore, Citrix Endpoint Management, and SOTI Mobicontrol.

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