The beginner’s guide to MDM

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Device Management

How much does MDM or EMM software cost?

Mobile device management (MDM) or enterprise mobility management (EMM) software is an essential tool for IT administrators to ensure the security and appropriate use of employees’ mobile devices.

MDM and EMM solutions are typically licensed as a monthly or annual subscription, on a per-device or per-user basis. While pricing varies significantly depending on the MDM’s features and the number of licenses, a 2018 study by Oxford Economics found organizations are spending between $3.25 and $9 per device each month. Organizations can use Samsung’s Mobile Cost Calculator — which draws on the findings of the Oxford Economics study — to compare their current investment in MDM software with industry averages.

What volume discounting can you expect?

While leading MDM solution providers typically don’t publish volume pricing, larger organizations should expect to see significant discounts when negotiating licenses for hundreds or thousands of mobile devices. The Oxford Economics study estimated, for example, that while a small business may pay $5 per month for a basic MDM tool, a large enterprise may pay just $3.25 per user for the same feature set.

What MDM features do you need?

Not all MDM solutions offer the same feature set. In fact, many MDM solution providers offer several tiers of products with varying capabilities and price points.

Organizations should begin assessing their MDM needs based on a review of mobile device security risks, starting with the sensitive information the devices are accessing. Many MDM solution providers will offer consultations as part of their sales engagement, but organizations should also invest time in this themselves, as it will help them determine the management capabilities they really need.

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Businesses operating in unregulated environments or with lower levels of mobile security risk may choose to deploy a more basic MDM tool. Core features of a basic MDM solution include the ability to enforce the use of PINs, passwords or biometrics; to blocklist apps or websites; and to remotely lock or wipe lost or stolen devices.

On the other hand, organizations operating in regulated environments will likely need additional features to ensure greater device security. Common features of more advanced MDM solutions include per-app VPNs, remote support, event-based management, mobile application management capabilities and secure “containers” to keep enterprise data and apps separated. Many vendors distinguish between MDM and EMM; the latter represents a broader set of features, including those mentioned above.

The Oxford Economics study estimated that regulated industry organizations spend an average 80 percent more on MDM than unregulated businesses, reflecting the different levels of management capabilities required.

Per device or per user?

Many MDM solution providers offer different pricing models for licenses per device or per user. Organizations looking to take a unified approach to endpoint management may benefit from an MDM solution that allows them to manage devices beyond smartphones, including tablets, laptops and even smartwatches. Enterprises whose employees use multiple mobile devices may opt for per-user pricing to achieve significant savings.

BYOD or corporate-issued?

Even organizations that have taken a BYOD approach to mobile enablement will typically still need an MDM solution in place. The Oxford Economics study found that 9 out of 10 organizations with BYOD policies have an MDM client deployed on employee devices.

When considering MDM solutions for a BYOD environment, it’s important to ensure the solution will enable management of all operating systems and versions. Some vendors offer specialized MDM packages for BYOD teams.

MDM or EMM software can represent a significant investment, but it’s critical for organizations to ensure that mobile devices are secure and used effectively. Using MDM solutions to support device deployment will save time for IT administrators, while effective policies will reduce support calls and risk of exposing sensitive data.

Learn best practices for thwarting mobile security breaches and responding when they occur in this free white paper. And discover how you can customize your business’ mobile devices with Knox Configure.

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Reuben Staines

Reuben J Staines is senior manager of content marketing at Samsung Electronics America. A former journalist and corporate communications professional, he’s currently based in New Jersey but calls Wellington, New Zealand home. With a broad knowledge of enterprise technology – particularly mobile, security and emerging tech – he provides strategic oversight for Samsung’s content-driven demand generation programs, including the Samsung Insights hub. He’s passionate about creating compelling content that engages, inspires and informs.

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