What is Mobile Device Management (MDM) – And How To Use It!

Mikael Korsholm Poulsen
By: Mikael Korsholm Poulsen Cyber Security | 19 December

Do you ever use your personal smartphone for work? Or maybe you even have a designated work phone? With the explosion in the capabilities of mobile devices, many work tasks have moved from the desktop to mobile devices – and sometimes to private devices. How can organisations make sure this transition does not make them vulnerable to IT security threats? This is where Mobile Device Management (MDM) can help. In this blog post, we go over the basics of mobile device management, the benefits of mobile device management, and how to choose a provider.

What is Mobile Device Management (MDM)?

Mobile Device Management is a system that allows you to manage, monitor, and thereby secure mobile devices used by your organisation’s employees. These mobile devices include smartphones, laptops and tablets. This system allows the administrator to monitor what the different devices are used for and further helps the admin keep an eye on potentially suspicious programs and applications.  

The administrator can also install security measures on mobile devices. This makes it much easier to ensure that employees’ use of mobile devices is aligned with company policies, like the Acceptable Use Policy. Having a mobile device management system in place can also lower your risk of data breaches, and we recommend you include the MDM system in your risk assessment process. If a device is stolen or lost, MDM also lets the administrator wipe the device remotely, which can save the company’s data from falling into the wrong hands and in that way keep the data secure. This feature is valuable because it helps companies avoid the common GDPR breach of data getting into the wrong hands.  


Why mobile device management is important

Over the years, mobile devices have become so advanced that many employees use them to fulfil tasks that previously were limited to the office cubicle or workspace. This means that employees are accessing the organisation’s system and data on the go, which is enough to make any IT administrator nervous or get sweaty palms. What other applications are on the device? Which networks are the employees using to access the system? What if the device is stolen and someone uses it to access the organisation’s data? These are questions that could keep an IT administrator up at night. 
This is where MDM can give the IT administrator some peace of mind. 


MDM Benefits

There are many benefits of mobile device management– some relate to security while others simply make the job of being an IT administrator a lot easier. Here is a summary of the major benefits of MDM: 

Automate the setup of devices. Things like installing your organisation’s standard application and configuring the Wi-Fi can be automated.

Manage devices remotely. Has a device been stolen? Wipe it before anyone can misuse its access to your organisation’s systems.

Enhance the security of devices. Embed your IT security policy on all devices. This could mean that a passcode is required in order to access organisational data.

Control which applications are installed. Monitor what applications are installed, remove unapproved applications and control which new applications can be installed.

Block private applications during work hours. When people are using their devices for work, it can sometimes be hard to stay away from applications that are irrelevant to work. MDM can be used to tackle this issue – if that fits with your organisational culture.


How to choose an MDM system

There are many different providers for MDM. Some mobile device management systems are free, while others have a monthly cost. Some are good for large organisations and others are lightweight and good for smaller organisations. Therefore, it is important to ask yourself some questions about your organisation’s needs before you choose an MDM service and start implementing it. In the following sections, we’ll go over a couple of questions you should explore to help you choose which MDM system is right for you:

Does the MDM system fit your size?

You need to find a mobile device management system that fits the types of devices you use and the number of devices your organisation has. You should also consider whether the system can support where you see your organisation going in the future. Changing from one service to another can be troublesome and expensive, so consider both your current situation and how scalable the service is.

Does the MDM service integrate with your other systems?

You’re probably already using different systems to secure your network and computers. If you are looking for a mobile device management system, you need to make sure it is compatible with the other services that your organisation uses. If not, you risk having a lot of manual tasks when it comes to daily operations.

How long has the MDM provider offered this service?

Mobile device management services are still new, so a lot of new providers are constantly appearing – but many also disappear. Therefore, it makes sense to choose an MDM system that has a somewhat long history of delivering the product successfully. This way, you can avoid having to find a new system in 6 months if your current provider goes out of business.

What level of support does your organisation need?

Free mobile device management services are awesome because they don’t cost anything (at least financially). But many of the free services come with zero or close to no support. That might be fine if you are up for managing and troubleshooting on your own, but it is certainly something to consider. What kind of resources does your team have and are you up for the task of running the system yourself? Or does it make sense to pay a little extra to secure good support and help in times of need?


The difference between Mobile Device Management and Asset Management

We have also written about IT Asset Management (AM), and we’ve experienced that MDM and AM often get mixed up. So let us start by removing any confusion and explaining the difference. MDM allows the admin to monitor the use of a device, implement changes on the device, and as a last resort, wipe the device remotely. AM simply keeps track of which devices (and other IT equipment) are in use and what is installed on them. AM does not allow the admin to change or wipe the device remotely. In a sense, AM can be seen as simple storage monitoring, while MDM allows for remote interference from the admin. Both functions are important, so having both AM and MDM is a great idea. 

The next level of MDM

Implementing MDM by itself or with Asset Management as a supplement is a great start when it comes to securing your mobile devices. However, if you are working in a large organisation, you will probably find that at some point, these systems cannot control all your digital touchpoints. These challenges can be handled through Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) or its ‘big brother’ Unified Endpoint Management (EUM). These types of systems are quite complex, but if you want to learn more about them, IBM has a great article explaining them


Mobile Device Management (MDM) helps organisations keep tabs on all the mobile devices that their employees use for work. It helps with setting up these devices, monitoring their activity, and wiping them of company data if they are stolen. Choosing a mobile device management system requires some thought and consideration. It also has great benefits both for the efficiency of IT administration and the company’s IT security. MDM differs from Asset Management in that it gives remote access to the devices enrolled on the system, while Asset Management acts more like a storage management system. Implementing both systems is a great help in handling the introduction of mobile devices into your work processes. 

I hope you have learned something new about Mobile Device Management and that I have made it an easier topic for your organisation to approach.


People also asked

What does MDM stand for?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a solution that enables organisations to oversee, regulate and secure mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, used by their employees. It provides monitoring and management capabilities to ensure the security and compliance of these devices.

What is an MDM system?

MDM stands for Mobile Device Management. It is a type of software that allows businesses to manage and control mobile devices used by their employees, including smartphones and tablets. This can include features such as remotely wiping data, enforcing security policies and installing or removing applications.

Why is an MDM system important?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is important for businesses to manage and secure their employees' mobile devices, which can contain sensitive company data. MDM systems allow for remote monitoring, updating, and wiping of devices, as well as enforcing security policies and preventing unauthorised access to data.