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How MDM works — or doesn't work — for SMBs

Grant Hatchimonji | April 9, 2014
Not every company is big enough to implement traditional MDM solutions, but the smaller ones are still trying to find ways to manage their corporate data

"So the users don't tend to like them as much and they bog down the system more," says Shields. "They would rather just get security on their devices."

Lingenfelter again touched on the idea of smaller organizations tying their management into an email solution like ActiveSync or Office 365 and using the MDM built into that software. But those solutions are not ideal, he says.

"It can be very complex to manage devices using ActiveSync and locking it down," says Lingenfelter.

Lingenfelter mentioned other imperfect alternative solutions, like free MDM products or only allowing employees to use Apple devices. Freeware comes up short when a company has an issue or needs to add more devices and can't get support since it's all self-service. As such, users end up having to figure things out for themselves, and that ends up being time consuming. Insisting on one type of device across the board, meanwhile, isn't preferable to some SMBs, he says, simply because the company doesn't want to force anything on to its employees.

"Even though they would like to be homogenous and single threaded because Apple has stronger security, they don't feel that they can lock their employees in," he says. "It's an option, but there are costs involved on the management side. If the company wants, they can get an Apple server to manage them, but there's a cost in overhead for that as well."

Whatever their approach may be, however, Lingenfelter insists that all companies, no matter how small, should have some sort of solution in place.

"If you're not doing anything in the MDM space, you're not secure," he says.


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