7 Common Mistakes When Managing Mobile Devices and How to Avoid Them

These common mobile device management mistakes can mean the difference between success and failure.

mobile device management mistakes

Mobile device management (MDM) solutions can save hours manually updating, maintaining, securing and tracking handheld computers, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. But there are some common mistakes to avoid when you implement these solutions — otherwise, you can significantly reduce the benefits MDM can provide to your clients.

Here are seven pitfalls you can encounter as you implement MDM and suggestions for how to avoid them:

1Unclear objectives

An MDM solution empowers businesses to manage mobile devices and enforce policies so that they can keep their networks and data secure, keep employees on task, and control device and app use. But has your client clearly defined those policies?

Businesses need a corporate mobility policy that spells out which devices can be used, the mobile applications employees need to do their jobs and exactly what employees can access. Attempting to manage mobile devices without a clear strategy will create confusion and decrease the solution’s effectiveness. You can’t enforce a policy if it doesn’t exist.

2Poor deployment planning

To successfully deploy a solution to manage mobile devices or take advantage of additional features of an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution, you need a solid deployment plan. Without it, your client could experience downtime and a loss of productivity as you roll out devices. A rocky deployment can also lead to slower employee adoption, which can delay the benefits and ROI of equipping staff with mobile devices.

The more efficiently and quickly you implement MDM, the sooner your clients and their employees can learn it, build it into their workflows and see benefits.

3Usability vs. security

More employees using more mobile devices can mean greater productivity, real-time updates, and enhanced customer service. However, it can also mean more vulnerability to hackers and data breaches.

According to Verizon’s 2021 Mobile Security Index, 60 percent of companies consider mobile devices to be their biggest security risks, and 76 percent said they’ve experienced pressure to sacrifice security for expediency.

While leading MDM solutions are designed to enforce passcode use, identity verification, and data loss prevention, your client may be tempted to forego some steps to simplify employee workflows. Work with your clients to strike a balance between usability and security.

4Unanticipated employee behaviors

Mobile users may try to get around corporate policies for mobile device use. For example, they may jailbreak or root a smartphone or find other means to use devices in unauthorized ways.

A fatal mistake when managing mobile devices is not educating users about the “why” behind corporate policies or stressing that following them can protect data and preserve their ability to work most effectively. Businesses also need to establish and communicate consequences for noncompliance with their policies and enforce them.

5Device updates

Over the lifetime of a mobile device, there will be multiple firmware updates that enable new features and continued security. But those updates can mean incompatibility with software applications installed on them.

You need to evaluate updates, make sure critical security patches are completed, but, in other cases, properly test devices before updating a mobile fleet to make sure that it won’t interfere with use.

6Making managing mobile devices harder than it has to be

Your client may potentially have multiple mobile application management (MAM) solutions, depending on the business applications they use.

The best scenario is to build a system of integrated solutions so administrators can manage mobile devices and applications using all tools from a single screen rather than moving back and forth between platforms.

7A set-it-and-forget-it approach to managing mobile devices

Managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) know that perfectly executed mobile device management today won’t be sufficient in a few years. There will always be new devices, new applications, updates, new security threats, new business processes and more to address.

Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to review your clients’ MDM solution configuration and the policies that govern how they manage mobile devices. Ensure they’re optimized and keep their networks and data secure.

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of XaaS Journal and DevPro Journal.