Mobile Device Management

10 minutes
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If I as an organization have 10s, hundreds, thousands of mobile devices under my control, I can use something known as mobile device management. Every mobile operating system has built into its core the ability to listen to a single control source to be able to do just about anything you want to a mobile device. So for example, I can define what applications you can install. I can even decide what kind of backgrounds you have and what type of wallpapers you use. And I can even set it up so that you can't take pictures unless I want you to Now, if this sounds a little bit big brother it is. But there's wonderful granularity to mobile device management.

Now, as you could imagine, there are thousands of things we can cover. But for the exam, there's a very specific list and I just want to run through these really quick. First is content management. Now that's certainly our applications, but it goes a lot deeper than that. For example, our applications now databases are nurses are going to need databases that are up to date for the different types of patients on the floor. Our salespeople are going to have to have databases that shows the current sales that are taking place for the customer.

He's right in front of right now. also things like documents. If I've got an engineer out in the field, and he's referencing some type of documentation, I want to make sure that my content management keeps all of this up to date. Next is geolocation, pretty common stuff, letting us know where somebody is, at this very moment. But as a corollary to that is geo fencing. geo fencing is geo location, but with a trigger, the moment that truck comes into the yard, I want the loader guys to know that it's coming and they need to be ready for it.

Also push notification services. It's very convenient for us to have our applications put push notifications up on the screen, but we don't want a casual push notification to come up. When our charge nurse is working on a critical patient. Next are passwords and pins. Not only do we require passwords and pins, but more importantly, if someone forgets one, or if there's an issue, we have the ability from remote management to be able to take care of those types of problems. On top of that are biometrics, fingerprint, facial recognition, even voice are common on most mobile devices these days.

What's interesting is not only can we use this to lock or unlock a device, but we can actually configure applications today, you may be on the device. But if you want to use a particular application, you're going to have to use one of these biometrics just to get to that. Next, our screen locks. We want to make sure that people have their screens locked when they're not used. And these are one things that mobile device management can easily enforce. And last, unfortunately, we do have users who lose devices and the convenience of horrible remote wipe from a central location is a powerful MDM tool.

Now, there's a lot of situations in mobile device management where we're really kind of transcending the device itself. And instead, we're concentrating on the applications on this device. Now, this is particularly true when we get into the BYOD kind of scenario, because what we're talking about now is that we have a person's personal device. But we're going to apply applications to this device. So we have to be sensitive to the fact that it's their device, and they need access to their stuff. Yet, on the same token, we need to provide strong control and security for our stuff.

So let's go through different aspects of mobile application management. First is application management. Now I know just a moment ago, I said that content management was a part of MDM. But when we're talking about Application Management here, we're talking about versioning updates patches Things that are specific to the application that you're managing. Next is context aware authentication. Instead of just counting on things like passwords or fingerprints, we can add context.

Where are they right now? What operating system are they using? what time of day? Are they trying to authenticate these context aware authentication tools can be incredibly powerful. Next is storage segmentation. Now, when I talk about storage segmentation, I'm talking about dedicating a separate piece of the storage of the mobile device just for our application, keeping it totally separate from the user's personal stuff.

Another big one is full device encryption, where we literally encrypt the entire storage of the mobile device to make sure that if it falls in the wrong hands, they're not going to get any information. Last is something interesting and we call this containerization. Let's see Talk about that for a minute. Containers are really, really popular. We see people, for example, who do web apps here, total seminars, we live in the world of Docker for our web app development. However, it's also great when it comes to mobile devices, both iOS, and Android works great with containers.

And it's a super way, if you have a particular application, or more than that an application with all its support DLLs and all the other documents and everything with one container, you can do all kinds of amazing updates. Okay, so, MDM, and mam sound great, and I can throw some pretty words up on the screen, but you really need to see it in action to see how this works. Now there are literally hundreds of different companies that provide MDM type solutions out there. So I chose one in particular that actually comes directly from Google. Google does MDM, through a very, very powerful system. In this particular case, they provide a wonderful little demo.

And it's great for a course like this. So let's take a look what's up on my screen. So what I've got is an MDM solution. This is a demo. So it's not a complete product from Google. So I want to go through and just give you some idea of some of the management stuff we'd want to see.

First of all, we'd have to decide on our users. So here's me and one device. And it's the Android I've actually got sitting right in front of me right here. So it is a managed device. So we can also define things like for example, apps. Now right now, I have three apps that my users are going to use.

Now if you're looking at this, you're gonna go, Well, what if I already have Chrome browser? What if I already have Dropbox? Hang on a second, I'll show you it's really cool. So what we can say is we can auto install. So basically, the moment this person logs in, they're going to get these programs but I I can even add more stuff. For example, if I want to, I can add this painting program, I'm going to go ahead and prove that.

And what I've done is I've added this particular program, I'm going to show you where this comes into play in just a second. Next, we can apply some policies. For example, here, I can disable screen capture. In this case, I've got it turned off, so my individual computers can still go ahead and do screen captures, disable, copy and paste, what an interesting thing to disable. As a policy. You don't want people copying and pasting from some important application and putting it in their Notepad.

I can require a screen lock with a pin if I want. I can have runtime permissions. Basically, when they come up to run a particular app. I can require them to do a username and password if I want. I can even in this one little simple demo, force them to use a particular Wi Fi configuration. Okay, now understand right now folks, this is a demo tool.

So it is extremely Limited, but it's designed to show you I think Google does a good job of giving you an idea of what MDM could really do. Now, the interesting part is over here on my screen. So what I want you to look at, you'll see there I've context and then this is just my personal contacts. And you can see it says Mike at play. Now what I'm going to do right now is I'm going to go this new folder, you'll see it has a little icon on there. This is the work folder that's been put in through this management tool.

You can see I've got contacts here. Now watch what happens when I click on this. Now you'll see it says Mike at work. So really what's happening is I have two completely separate sets of contacts here. One for work and one for play. The other interesting part is right up here.

So you'll see that I have installed programs. I've got Dropbox, Chrome and the Chopin, which were the three that were in there, but I want to install that paint program. So what I can do now is go into Google Store. However, this is not the Google Store that you and I know notice it only has four applications for me to choose from. So I could if I want to go ahead and install that one particular application, the cool part to this little demo tool is that it really makes to have everything. So if you have to have everything in many of these MDM solutions, what you'll see is that they take your system, and they segregate your storage, so that some of the storage is for your stuff.

And some is dedicated to the applications that you need to get your job done. In fact, not only does it segregate it, but it will actually go through an encryption process to really, really lock that stuff down. Mobile Device Management is absolutely amazing. And it is becoming more and more accomplished and powerful as the years progress. I think it'll be interesting to see in the not too distant future. what some of the amazing opportunities coming take place within the world of mobile device management.

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