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In-House Mobile Device Management: The Risks

Aug 30, 2021
TOPIC: IT
3 min read

In today’s complex and competitive supply chain, any activities that distract an organization’s employees from their primary roles have the potential to erode both productivity and profitability. In many cases, those activities are avoidable; they could be outsourced to experts in the field, allowing your internal team to get back to the jobs they were hired for (and where they add the most value).

If your organization is using mobile devices to track assets, you have a choice with managing those devices: ask your team to take on the responsibilities in-house, or leverage the skills, services, and expertise of a mobile device management (MDM) partner.

It’s a big decision...but an easy one. You only need to consider the risks in order to understand the wisdom of outsourcing.

Pressure on IT

IT departments are notoriously backlogged, inundated with computer and network issues constantly springing up across the company. When you choose to manage your devices in-house, you’re putting significant pressure on that team.

Enrolling and configuring devices, integrating them with internal systems, managing users, registering and enrolling devices, controlling and disabling them, providing 24/7 support, applying security patches and updates...these and other activities will require ongoing attention from your IT team—do they have the time or skills for that?

When you work with an MDM service provider, you are ensured that your program, your devices, and even the people using them are managed by staff with the experience and resources to address both urgent issues and day-to-day maintenance, accurately and efficiently.

If your company uses just a few devices, the pressure on IT is probably not significant. But if you’re like most organizations using mobile devices to improve operations, it can be overwhelming. Two of the biggest risks you run into when putting mobile device management on the plates of your IT team are devices that aren’t up-to-date and security vulnerability.

Devices Not Updated

Every device in use across your organization must be regularly updated; if not, the performance issues—and mistakes made—compound, leading to losses related to both accuracy and efficiency.

An MDM service provider has the tools needed to do automatic “push” updates, and can do them across hundreds of devices at once to ensure that all users are using the correct versions. This also applies to apps; these can be centrally managed, with apps installed and configured as devices are assigned.

A related consideration is compliance. Every industry has its own set of regulations and guidelines (and, in some cases, laws) related to its business processes, and they must be followed—if they aren’t, the fines are significant. An MDM partner ensures that workers and their devices are always in compliance, which may include updating the devices to align with those guidelines, and making sure that any new device settings take effect immediately.

Vulnerability to Security Threats

Hackers are tenacious, and these cyber criminals work hard to stay one step ahead of the latest security measures. The risks to organizations are huge in terms of potential losses because of lost data and downtime.

But while hackers are looking for ways to invade your system, MDM providers are applying their insights to anticipate their next moves, remotely monitoring the system for malware, jailbroken devices, and other vulnerabilities—and they do it 24/7. State-of-the-art tools allow them to put a robust layer of security between the devices and would-be hackers and, in the unlikely event security is breached, your MDM partner can immediately isolate and lock the compromised devices and protect the system remotely.

Protecting a BYOD Solution

Some organizations take a BYOD (bring your own device) approach, allowing workers to use their own smartphones or other devices to track inventory. Using personal devices is a benefit to workers, who are familiar with the device and its functionality, and to the company, which saves money and potentially experiences greater productivity as a result of workers’ comfort in using their own device.

BYOD represents an additional challenge for the company, however, because corporate data can’t be compromised, nor do workers want the company to have access to their personal data (emails, texts, apps, etc.). The security of data is even more critical in these situations, requiring added monitoring, protocols, and enforcement. An MDM partner can segment and security data on the worker-owned device and allow for the company to manage those portions of the device (workers are protected, too). If the worker leaves, the remote management platform allows you to locate, lock, and “wipe” the device, removing all corporate information remotely.

Mobile devices are extremely valuable assets to organizations throughout the supply chain, but along with the benefits come responsibilities to efficiently manage and vigilantly protect the system—and that takes time, effort, and the insights that come from experience. For more detail about how in-house MDM compares to partnering with experts, download our 3rd Party vs In-house MDM infographic!

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