by Vishal Chawla

Has MDM become an integral part of the BYOD strategy?

Jan 11, 2018
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With the rapid adoption of Bring Your Own Device trend, enterprises are pushed to implement MDM tools to effectively prevent business data from falling into the wrong hands.n

Mobility is vital for the digital transformation journey of an organization as it powers the employees with the ability to collaborate and share information from any location. As devices and applications get more streamlined and integrated with time, the pressure on corporations to let employees bring their own devices is mounting for the fact that these employees don’t prefer carrying around an extra corporate-controlled device.

Productivity vs. Risk

While the trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) helps increase workforce productivity, the variability and the high number of personal devices connecting to the internal network are found to augment the risks associated with loss of sensitive data as well as cyber attacks. It is critical that the BYOD trend does not put corporate interests at risk. The danger of data leakages from internal threats is not taken lightly and it is in this context that Mobile Device Management (MDM) has evolved to become an integral part of the BYOD strategy.

Securing critical data

Security is one of the top concerns of CIOs and the vast majority of IT departments today have adopted MDM, along with other enterprise mobility management tactics to secure their critical data. With help from MDM, a business leader can combine the use of mobility with data security. It serves as an important aspect of managing the mobile infrastructure by making sure employees stay productive and do not breach the corporate policies. MDM tools are enabling IT to enforce authentication policies and access control management that makes keeps cybercriminals at bay from stealing valuable information. “We have both BYOD and non-BYOD policies. For security, what we’ve done is that we have encrypted all the data and the data only resides for one day on the device. Whatever data we keep, we keep encrypted. In those devices, the native app will take care of encrypting data, says GS Ravi Kumar, EVP & Group CIO – ‎Gati.

How is MDM deployed?

MDM gives access to all devices that connect to the corporate network and curtails all the unidentified ones using specific protocols defined by an organization’s IT. In a situation when an employee device is lost or stolen, MDM gives IT the leverage to wipe out the sensitive data. By using MDM, IT can develop a granular visibility over all connected devices. Containerization of personal and corporate data in the device is also widely used to secure mobile devices. “While we are using BYOD, we have faced a lot of challenges there. We are now working on the second stage of MDM, which will be a containerized partition between official and personal data. So, in case we wipe off the data, only the official data will be wiped,” says Vinay Seth, Global Head of Business Processes and Information Services division at Birlasoft.

From MDM to EMM

MDM has been expanding to encompass applications and content to form what is known as Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). The evolution is taking place due to rapidly increasing integration among applications, operating systems, and devices on the cloud platform. “MDM has evolved over the last few years into what is now called enterprise mobility management. EMM is responsible not only for device management but application management and content management as well. Gartner sees the future of EMM as a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution for managing mobile devices, wearables, and PCs using a common interface and common workflow,” says Manjunath Bhat, Research Director at Gartner.

Future Trends

By finding the right balance between productivity and data safety, MDM/EMM makes it viable for employees use their devices, rather than completely restricting them. It incentivizes the staff to keep following internal policies by giving them the freedom to work on their preferred devices, whether at home or at the office. In a scenario when BYOD is rapidly becoming a norm, MDM/EMM compliance tools have a great future. According to Markets & Markets, the BYOD and EMM market will be worth about 73.3 billion USD by 2021. The addition of IoT, wearables and AI-assisted devices in the future workplace will create more challenges. “The foray of AI-assisted devices using conversational user interfaces in the enterprise is yet another frontier for device management. It remains to be seen how organizations can manage data loss prevention when business information gets transferred over voice and other conversational interfaces such as chatbots,” told Bhat.