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The Role of MDM in the Remote Workforce

Posted by Alex Guzman on Aug 16, 2021 8:00:00 AM

As the pandemic prompts a massive shift to remote work and edge computing presents more complex security issues, partners are searching for the best solutions to secure their clients’ data.

Mobile device management (MDM) has become an integral security component of equipping workforces with laptop computers, tablets and smartphones. 

Particularly as bring your own device (BYOD) has replaced company-issued mobile devices, MDM’s ability to secure, monitor and manage data according to set policies is now more important than ever. Service providers with a mandate to protect corporate networks and data know that MDM is a must-have part of their stack.

In fact, the global MDM market is expected to reach $15.7B by 2025 as businesses shift increasingly to mobile workforces and BYOD policies. The attractive flexibility that remote work provides and the need to secure mobile access to corporate data means MDM is an offering on the rise.

Cybersecurity in the Time of the Pandemic

Particularly over the last year, as a massive segment of the workforce abruptly transitioned to remote work setups, employers have been forced (oftentimes with great frustration) to equip employees to work outside of the corporate infrastructure. Despite IT policies, many remote employees are using their work devices for personal use and vice-versa; HP Wolf Security’s Blurred Lines & Blindspots Report finds that 70% of office workers surveyed admit to using their work devices for personal tasks, while 69% are using personal laptops or printers for work activities. 

This leads to a sharp rise in cyberattacks on vulnerable home networks and users with shoddy security behaviors. KuppingerCole, which contributed to the report, notes there has been a staggering 238% increase in global cyberattack volume during the pandemic. Partners have needed to implement increased security protocols as devices left the enterprise network and on-prem security measures. MDM has become a vital piece of endpoint security and its remote administration.

Where Partners Add Value with MDM

MDM requires customization per each organization’s policies and can be too complex for many businesses to manage; enter the service provider. Particularly for SMBs with little to no in-house IT expertise, channel partners can provide real value for organizations needing to secure their mobile workforce. It eases customers’ minds to know they can protect and lock down data in the event a device is stolen or an employee leaves the company.

BYOD policies are especially in need of MDM, which can restrict certain apps or functionalities, mandate the use of passcodes and separate work data from personal data to ensure security for the company and privacy for the employee.

But there are benefits to MDM solutions even beyond the significant security upsides it offers:

  • Being able to remotely push updates and software is a real timesaver, and MDM makes it far easier to manage device inventory and know exactly what devices are accessing networks at any given time.

  • It allows for IT policies to be deployed and managed across any type of device, too, ensuring a unified policy enforcement across the workforce.

  • Finally, it can be a rich source of advanced analytics into data, app and network usage.

The Future of MDM and Edge

MDM also has a big role to play in the growing opportunity of edge computing. The global edge computing market was valued at $4.68B last year, and analysts predict a CAGR of 38.4% over the next seven years. Edge encompasses a vast range of IT solution areas, including infrastructure, application development and connectivity. Because edge is all about endpoints, and MDM helps to secure those endpoints, mobile data management is a significant part of partners’ edge offerings.

As the world transitions to 5G networks in the coming years, the edge compute landscape will require ever increasing levels of security, and resellers and MSPs will be forced to elevate their security offerings to keep clients’ workforces safe from DDoS, malware and ransomware attacks. Developing a unified endpoint management (UEM) strategy is critical to securing customer data and corporate networks.

MDM is provided throughout several divisions within Tech Data, from Advanced Solutions to Security to Mobile Edge Solutions. That means that no matter which providers or vendors you leverage, or what Tech Data team you work with, there’s an MDM solution ready for you. Your Tech Data account manager will work with you to determine what the best fit is according to your existing tech stack and the client needs you want to address.

5G, edge and equipping the mobile workforce will all continue to drive a need for MDM over the next several years as partners look to increase their customers’ security posture in the new age of remote work. To learn more, reach out to your account manager or visit https://www.techdata.com/security.

About the Author

Alex Guzman has more than 13 years of experience in content development and strategic marketing. Prior to joining Tech Data, she worked in marketing for a variety of organizations, including global manufacturing and software development.

Tags: BYoD, Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Device Security, Device Protection