MDM: Agent or Agent-less Management for your Mobile Devices?

29 May 2016 | Mobile

What is mobile device management (MDM)? What are the benefits of agent or agent-less deployment for mobile devices?

The number of mobile devices within organizations continues to grow year-on-year. Such a development means that organizations need to be able to manage these devices, leading to deciding between agent or agent-less deployment.

What is Mobile Device Management (MDM)?

Mobile device management is the industry term used to describe the administrative management of mobile devices which includes smartphones, tablets etc. It involves the process of deploying, securing, monitoring, integrating and managing devices within the workplace. This allows you to protect your corporate network while using the functionality of mobile devices.

Why do you need MDM?

Managing mobile devices within your enterprise can be a difficult and time consuming task without the right tools in place. With accessing your network and sensitive corporate data being a bit of a balancing act you want functionality and easy of use for the user but the need to ensure that the enterprise stays secure. On the one hand you need to protect sensitive corporate data against misuse or theft, but against this must be weighed the desire of employees to keep the personal use of the device private. This is more pronounced when the device is the employee’s own, being utilised under a BYOD (Bring your own device) policy. (Benefits of a BYOD policy). BYOD is when an employee uses their own personal devices within the workplace, however, this can come with its own advantages and disadvantages. 

How do MDM Solutions Work?

Most Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions work by placing an agent or app on the device to monitor and control it (if lost or stolen). Many employees don’t like this and either remove the agent/app or don’t sign up in the first place. Employees dislike this as it gives corporate IT the ability to dictate device policies from enforcing password security to blocking access to certain applications in the app store.

Agent-less MDM Solutions

This has led to the introduction of agent-less MDM solutions to give a level of control back to the user when using their own devices within the workplace. But, these have their problems as well. In particular, without the agent installed on the device it is impossible to detect if a device has been rooted or jailbroken. This can leave you open to hacker attacks or the impact of malware.

Mobile Device Management: The Best of Both Worlds

At Certero we took this user behavior into account when designing our MDM solution Certero for Mobile to keep both the end user and the IT department happy. We recognize that a solution must fit the needs of the industry. Firstly, we understand that if an agent/app impacts on the performance of the device, then a user would be more likely to uninstall it. So, Certero for Mobile has no noticeable impact on device performance (battery, device speed etc) as well as no interference with other apps. All of which helps to prevent instability and freezing of the device. This promotes the use of the EMM (enterprise mobile management) solution by employees.

It recognizes that there might be both corporate owned devices as well as BYOD on your network and by default turns off key features with the latter to ensure user privacy. The solution can be flexible and customizable to suit your organisation. This includes collecting user location information as well as inventorying which apps are installed on the device. Giving you the ability to create separate groups with desperate policies for company owned and BYOD devices.

Importantly, it can still detect jailbroken or rooted devices, enabling such devices to be remotely wiped or disabled. So giving you the best of both worlds – security for the organization and privacy for the employee.

Keen to embrace EMM and start or improve how you manage mobile devices? Get in touch with Certero today.

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