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Overview of Microsoft Solutions for Mobile Device Management

It used to just be that your employees had a desktop computer, a landline, and maybe a company mobile if they were lucky. Now we’re all connected, through our laptops, personal smartphones, tablets, wearables, desktops, and company Smart TVs.  As a result, BYOD (bring your own device) policies and mobile device management (MDM) are becoming far more relevant and should be a key focus of IT management.

In fact, a 2019 Global Mobile Survey conducted by Deloitte revealed that 48 percent of smartphone users state that they overuse their phones.

So, how do you manage all that? Today we’ll take you through some of the most important considerations when you’re going about mobile device management in the workplace.

What is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile Device Management, often referred to as MDM, is a multifaceted strategy that enables organisations to secure, manage, and optimise mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even wearables used by employees. It encompasses a spectrum of policies, processes, and technologies aimed at ensuring the seamless operation of these devices while safeguarding sensitive corporate data.

Company-provided or BYOD?

Company-provided phones used to be an essential tool in the workplace. Job advertisements would even list a company-provided mobile as a perk of the job.

This practice was often seen as a valuable employee benefit, and it provided IT departments with a standardised and controlled environment. Company devices were pre-configured with necessary software, security protocols, and productivity tools, ensuring a consistent user experience and reducing compatibility issues.

Company-provided phones also have their drawbacks. Now that everyone has their own personal phone, this is no longer exciting. In fact, having a work mobile and a personal mobile is just plain annoying. People don’t want to have to switch between devices or carry two. Dual SIMs can be as much of a pain, too.

Managing and securing a large inventory of company devices can also be resource-intensive for IT teams.

“According to Deloitte’s 2015 Mobile Consumer Survey Report, a third of Australians use their phone “always or very often” at work, with over 80 per cent of people admitting to having used their phones more than once. Somewhat shockingly, about half of the respondents have even used their phone during a meeting.” Fonality

BYOD is the future. Or even just the option to choose a phone that is company paid for, or subsidised.

However, BYOD introduces its own set of challenges, primarily related to security and management. IT leaders must navigate a landscape where a multitude of device types, operating systems, and versions coexist.

Today, Microsoft offers a range of solutions to facilitate BYOD, such as Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory. These solutions enable organisations to manage and secure employee-owned devices without compromising data integrity.

Note: We will be discussing the further security implications of BYOD in a future post.

The iPhone/Android conundrum

The problem with the BYOD solution is that your employees will probably have around a 50/50 split when it comes to their preferred device. What does this mean for your business? Well, it means that you are going to have to do a little more work with device management for both iOS and Android if you don’t want to impose a particular system on your users.

Side note: Don’t impose a particular mobile system on your employees for their devices, especially if they take them home. People like what they are comfortable with. They like choice. They like whatever they’ve already chosen for a specific set of reasons.

While device management across different mobile operating systems takes a little more work, it isn’t a barrier to working via mobile. Nowadays apps, file systems, and access controls will be available on both iOS and Android unless you’re working with obscure apps that only work on iOS or Android (yes, there are some out there).

Microsoft’s MDM solutions, including Microsoft Intune, excel in managing and securing both iOS and Android devices. With robust app deployment and security controls, businesses can seamlessly accommodate user preferences, promoting a harmonious coexistence of devices within the corporate ecosystem.

Wi-Fi or Corporate Mobile Plans?

Your employee comes into work, sits down at their desk, and their phone auto connects to your Wifi. Wait. Is this the best solution?

Your corporate Wi-Fi network is connected to all your systems. Your employee has been off with their phone on the weekend watching cat videos, receiving pics from their friend’s wedding in Ireland, and god knows what else.

Viruses and malware aren’t just complications of laptops and desktop computers. Exploits can and do happen on mobile devices, too. The effects of an exploit transferred from an employee’s mobile phone to your corporate network could be devastating.

Instead, it’s better to get your workforce on a corporate mobile plan. Sure, there is going to be an expense attached to it, but in terms of layered company digital security, it removes a significant risk to your business.

It’s important to choose a reliable telecommunications provider for your solution. You can chat with Telstra to organise a tailored plan to suit your company (or another provider if you wish).

User Management

Keeping tabs on user access to work apps and systems from mobile devices can be really complex if you’re trying to do it by yourself. That’s why solutions like Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Intune exist.

These solutions offer a comprehensive solution to configure user access and mobile management from simple dashboards with enhanced granularity. Each of these identity management services comes with an associated price and list of features. Often you can bump up configurability and feature-set by choosing a higher plan.

If you’re interested in user management solutions for mobile devices and would like an overview and evaluation of what’s going to work for your business, then make sure to get in touch with us.

App Management

The other question you might be wondering about mobile device management in the workplace is app management. How do you deploy the right apps to the right users across your company? How do ensure they’re always patched and up-to-date, free from vulnerabilities?

Fortunately, there are again plenty of cloud solutions available to help with enterprise app management. Effective app management is pivotal for productivity and security. Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Intune helps with app management, control, and security.

Make sure that the apps you use internally stay just that – internal.

A final note about security and privacy

Security and privacy when it comes to data, especially in business should now be everyone’s number one concern. Solutions that help with device management and security are imperative, but your first line of defence is choosing hardware, apps, and cloud solutions that are considered trusted by the wider community.

With many conversations at the moment about electronics hardware components being suspected of security vulnerabilities, it’s important to look at mobile device management from a holistic security perspective.

The modern workplace is increasingly mobile, and businesses that leverage Microsoft’s MDM solutions can navigate this transformation with agility and security.

For more advice on mobile device management in your workplace, or to help us set up systems that will allow your employees to work across every device, get in touch with us at A1 Technologies.

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