MDM Security Means Managing Everything, Not Just Smartphones

If it can connect to your network and store company information, it needs MDM security.

People use a lot of terms when they talk about managing devices within companies. Sometimes you hear enroll your device in an MDM (mobile device management) and other times you hear endpoint management or UEM software (unified endpoint management).

These sound like different terms, but they all mean the same thing—how to manage company data on devices. Using UEM instead of MDM expands our definition from solely mobile devices to “regular computers” too. The bigger question is why. Why are we talking about endpoint management instead of mobile management? A couple reasons: first, how we managed computers in the past and second, how mobile and desktop devices are converging together.

When we only had to manage computers

Soon after computers appeared in offices, IT realized computers needed to be managed. Microsoft and others zeroed in on this and created tools to manage computers within companies. With desktops and later laptops locked down, IT could relax. Desktops, laptops, done. End of device management story…until now. No one needed to manage cell phones back then, the most you could do was call, text, and play a couple simple games. Oh, how times have changed since we can do this with our phones now…

Turn Your Phone Into a Powerful PC

Device convergence changed the device management game

The line between what a “computer” is and what a “mobile device” is got blurry and is getting blurrier. Suddenly IT departments realized mobile devices needed management too—not only desktops and laptops. But MDMs didn’t look at smartphones as part of the larger network—just little islands on their own. IT managed desktops and laptops one way, and mobile devices another way. That was good enough for a while, but device convergence changed all that and MDM security means more now than it ever has before.

Smartphones can do everything laptops can do— use company email, store files, and cause security breaches. Device convergence and needing two systems to manage devices led to unified endpoint management. A natural progression to one system that looked at all devices (now called endpoints) as part of a single network of computing tools.

What about that endpoint name thing?

One of the biggest flaws in IT, technology, and computing is that the people who name things do a bad job of it (it’s why we have an entire IT term gloassry). Calling laptops, desktops, and smartphones “endpoints” makes no sense to people outside of IT. We use “endpoint” instead of “device” because a smartphone, tablet, or laptop is at the end of the network line. A router, switch, or WiFi access point connects devices.

Smartphones and laptops are destinations for information. They are the end of the line, the endpoint of information on a network. No, we know that the explanation doesn’t make the name any better, but maybe it makes a little more sense. Now we can get down to why we need to think in broader terms about MDM security and how we manage them in our offices.

How would you define a computer today?

Smartphones are so much more powerful than even the most powerful computers just ten years ago. Once smartphones became day-to-day work devices, IT had to rethink MDM security with all these new endpoints.

MDM Security Means Managing Everything, Not Just Smartphones 1

Now that you can connect a smartphone to a display, pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard, and start working just like you can on a laptop, it’s not a phone anymore. Our devices have converged to a point where it doesn’t matter what kind of device it is, if it can tap into company data—it has to be managed.

Device convergence is a double-edged sword. As smartphones became more capable, they also became an “attack surface” hackers can use to get access to email, documents, and your network. You can’t manage devices as islands, either. If it connects to your network and saves your company’s data, it needs to be identified and it needs to be managed with proper MDM security policies and tools.

Using SKY WORK for complete MDM security

Until recently enterprise-grade UEM was beyond the budget of small businesses. Today, SMBs can use tools like SKY WORK to manage all their devices in one place so that MDM security is within the reach of this vulnerable group. See that stats on small businesses below:

Managing and securing devices on your network should be easy and cost-effective. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you manage smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, get in touch and we’ll set up a personalized demo for you.

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