Business today relies upon the use of mobile devices. As such, mobile device management, or MDM, is a crucial component of keeping your personnel and stakeholders secure. Whether the company provides these devices to its personnel or utilizes a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, companies are increasingly dependent on the cloud. So, in this article, we’ll walk through the best cloud based MDM solutions your business should consider and why.
Top Cloud-Based Mobile Device Management Solutions
A major utility of the cloud is that it allows mobile devices to connect to the same resources and perform previously restricted functions to only local networks and computers. But, along with that flexibility, connecting mobile devices to the cloud also brings new, mobile dangers to those same local resources that might not have faced them before.
Below, we’ll detail three essential solutions your cloud based MDM needs to include:
- Management for data and software
- Management for endpoints and inventory
- Scheduling for regular synchronization
Then, ultimately, we’ll explain how and why an all-in-one solution to managed security can be the best approach to MDM, on or off the cloud. But first, let’s get into some definitional context.
What is Mobile Device Management?
The umbrella of MDM refers to cybersecurity and the overall approach your company takes concerning mobile devices. Closely related to suites like enterprise mobility management (EMM) and Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), MDM focuses specifically on devices like smartphones and tablets owned or operated by the company or its employees.
Effective MDM typically safeguards the following main business functionalities of devices:
- Secure email and business communications
- Private web browsers for research and advertising
- Confidential documents and other business files
- Close monitoring and protection for all mobile applications
Just as analogous programs and software need to be protected on local computers, it’s even more important to protect them across all mobile devices, which may be larger and more varied. And, increasingly, the best way to secure these areas is by focusing MDM on the cloud.
Why is Cloud-Based MDM Important?
According to Research and Markets data on the forecasted increases in cloud-based services, the cloud computing market already sat at over $371 billion in 2020. And it’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.5 percent over the next five years, topping out at over $832 billion in 2025. The cloud is already omnipresent, and it only stands to grow in stature and importance in the years to come. If you’re not already on the cloud, you will be soon.
Cloud services go hand in hand with mobile devices, and a big reason the cloud has grown is that mobile devices’ usage becomes more widespread every year. Therefore, a cloud-based or cloud-focused MDM strategy is uniquely apt to meet an expanding cloud’s challenges.
Cloud-Based MDM Solutions
As established above, cloud-based MDM is one of the best approaches to MDM and bolstering your organization’s cybersecurity. But that doesn’t mean there’s just one way to do it. There are many different ways to enact effective cloud MDM and the crossover between different solutions. Ultimately, distinctions between such solutions come in the form of their focuses.
And, as such, there are three best focuses for cloud based MDM solutions:
- A focus on apps, software, and data
- A focus on the hardware (devices themselves)
- A focus on regular and robust syncing across the cloud
Let’s take a closer look at what each option entails.
Software and Data Management
The first solution to cloud-based MDM involves prioritizing the management of data stored on the cloud and the apps and software used to create, modify, access, and otherwise use it.
In many cases, this involves creating an “app directory” by which applications are centrally located and managed. Thus, apps can be “pushed” onto (installed or implemented on) devices over the cloud. They can also be managed, and even disconnected, remotely. Likewise, all the data generated by or otherwise accessed through these apps are also managed remotely.
Utilizing this software-focused cloud MDM approach can be especially useful in an EMM-like approach where the institution provides phones to employees or otherwise limits the particular devices employees may purchase and use for work purposes. A software or app focus can be configured for greater flexibility across devices. However, device-specific risks, such as bugs particular to a given phone’s or tablet’s architecture, may be harder to track and mitigate.
Endpoint and Inventory Management
Rather than focusing on the software across various cloud-connected devices, companies may choose to focus their efforts on the devices themselves. In practice, this necessitates thorough inventorying of such devices. For example, you should maintain up-to-date records of:
- All devices that regularly access cloud services and assets
- All hardware and software specifications of these devices
- All software that comes into contact with company cloud(s)
- All cloud-connected user-profiles and accounts on such devices
These are just baseline requirements. To the extent possible, user behavior on such devices should also be monitored. The organization should also maintain an updated list of all known and potential risks for these devices for easy cross-referencing and troubleshooting.
This approach is a great solution in companies with a greater variety of devices being managed, such as with a BYOD system where little control is enacted over what devices employees can use. However, it can lead to more significant risks posed by software rather than hardware.
Scheduled Cloud Synchronization
Finally, the last approach to robust cloud-based MDM involves a focus on the cloud itself—or, particularly, on the frequency with which, and ways in which the mobile devices being managed are connecting to the cloud. A solution-focused on synchronization bases its security monitoring and protection of cloud-connected devices on routine and special-case syncs.
Under such an approach, all devices require regular synchronization to continue being able to access cloud resources. And a baseline requirement for synchronization is a security scan that validates a device is ready for synchronization and isn’t harboring any risks to the cloud. All devices maintain a particular schedule for these syncs (hourly, daily, etc.); they also need to synchronize under special conditions, like downloading new software.
Synchronization applies unilaterally across all devices and apps. However, it can also be more burdensome or costly to implement than the hardware or software focused approaches above.
Managed Security, Robust Cloud MDM
Another approach to cloud-based MDM is to work with a third-party service provider who integrates MDM and cloud services into a broader suite of managed security services.
RSI Security offers just such a package, with robust and flexible solutions for all cybersecurity concerns facing your organization. Beyond MDM, these services include:
- Compliance with regulatory guidelines
- Systematic detection and response
- Patch management and monitoring
- Proactive web filtering and DNS
- Internal and external penetration testing
Our talented team of experts has provided cybersecurity solutions to companies of all sizes, across all industries, for over a decade. Whether you’re looking for cloud-based master data management solutions or any other cyberdefense system, we have you covered. From managed security to virtual CISO to cybersecurity technical writing. We’re your first and best choice. To see how robust your cloud based MDM solutions can be, contact RSI Security today!