What in the World is Mobile Device Management (MDM)?

Kevin Qiu
April 6, 2021

Have you ever had to wait hours for IT to help you install a printer? Maybe you've lost a company laptop and freaked out about the files on it? What about waiting for IT to approve a new productivity tool with their admin account? Fear not! Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions are here to make that a thing of the past.

With the rise in remote work, mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, have become integral to the success and productivity of organizations - but they also introduce a new level of cyber threats. MDM solutions are quickly revolutionizing IT operations in remote environments and becoming a valuable wayto ensure that company smartphones and laptops remain secure. In fact, the MDM market is expecting to grow to $15.7 billion by 2025.

Based on our past experiences in the tech industry, and from customer stories here at SafeBase, we've crafted a post about some of the common use cases for MDM solutions, some drawbacks, and a curated list of reputable MDM solutions for you to consider adopting at your company.

MDM solution on smartphone - SafeBase
MDM solutions can be used to secure company data on smartphones

What is MDM and How Does it Work?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a strategic framework designed to to manage and safeguard devices in the ever-evolving landscape of remote work. It encompasses a range of technology, policies, and protocols to streamline device management, enhance security, and facilitate efficient user experiences, regardless of location.

There are several major benefits that make MDM solutions a smart investment for companies of all sizes:

Streamlined Onboarding

Mobile device management solutions facilitate a seamless onboarding experiences for new hires. For the most part, new properly configured, MDM-managed computers allow users to set up their equipment within minutes, , eliminating the need for an IT helpdesk technician. Items such as password policies, common applications, and wireless or printer settings can be automatically downloaded once a user turns on the computer for the first time. In an increasingly remote world, the benefits of an easy onboarding can't be overstated.

Centralized IT Management

After onboarding, MDM solutions act as a command center for IT administrators to remotely manage devices across the organization. . They allow all devices to be centrally tracked and inventoried, allowing IT teams to easily trace device locations, schedule upgrades, implement new policies, or even remove applications.  Most platforms also allow admins to push out custom scripts or policies to align with evolving protocols. This ensures devices meet the latest protocols and security measures while providing all employees with a consistent user experience and reducing security vulnerabilities.

Another common use case for MDM solutions is a company approved, internal app store. In many cases large organizations have enterprise licenses for popular software such as Office Suites. MDM self-service app stores allow users to install pre-approved, safe, and licensed applications without needing to submit a support ticket, cutting back on IT hours and giving users the tools they need for peak efficiency.

Improved Security Using MDM Solutions

Better security is perhaps one of the most important features of any MDM solution. In the event of a theft or loss of a company device, administrators can choose to remotely wipe or lock any managed device, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive company data.. In addition, mobile device management solutions allow admins to remotely push the latest security updates to vulnerable devices. Admins can also use MDM policies to enforce operating system level settings such as screens locking after idle periods or password updates every six months. In some cases, IT admins may even require that access to company data on personal devices be done using sandbox.

Considerations When Opting for MDM Solutions

It’s essential to acknowledge that while MDM solutions  offer a multitude of benefits, they aren't always perfect.Before commiting to an MDM investment, companies should take the following considerations in mind:

  • Pricing Structure: Mobile device management solutions are generally priced based on number of users
  • Setup: Requires initial setup, including manually enrolling existing employees
  • Bugs: Can occasionally be prone to bugs that can be difficult to debug without an IT person
  • Access Control: Given that these solutions usually have highly privileged access to devices, proper access control is crucial for cloud hosting.
  • Support: Platform support is dependent on solution
  • User Experience: Some users may balk at having to use separate MDM apps for email

Although some of these may seem concerning, overall the benefits of MDM solutions tend to outweigh the drawbacks. With that being said, you might be wondering how to get started. There are multiple well known vendors that offer MDM solutions, each with their own features and varying levels of operating system support. While their core capability of centralized device management is similar, they all vary slightly in terms of platform support, price, and additional features like bundled anti-malware.

Our Recommendations for MDM Solutions

Several reputable vendors offer MDM solutions, each with unique features and support. Here are some standout options:

Here is a list of some of the most popular solutions:


  • Compatible with iOS and macOS
  • Very fully featured
  • Shifted focuse to cloud hosting
  • Certifications and training available
  • Ideal for large organizations
  • Also offers an anti-malware product called Jamf Protect
  • Is the most tried-and-true solution for Apple products

VMWare Workspace ONE

  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, macOS
  • Formerly known as AirWatch 
  • Favored by big enterprise
  • Has additional security features for zero trust authentication
  • Very fully featured

Microsoft Endpoint Manager

  • Compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, macOS
  • Included as a part of Enterprise Mobility and Security
  • Integrates seamlessly with Azure AD 
  • Particularly suited for existing Azure customers
  • Much easier to configure than traditional, standard on-premise Active Directory
  • Recommended for smaller teams with mostly Windows laptops


  • Compatible with macOS, Windows, iOS, Android
  • Supports biometric authentication for password replacement
  • Offers remote screen share for mobile devices
  • Includes a Threat Defense product

Google Endpoint Management

  • Compatible with iOS and Android 
  • Limited capabilities for other operating systems
  • Creates a sandboxed work profile separate from personal apps 
  • Ability to do remote deletion
  • Can enforce general settings like encryption and screen passwords for phones
  • Limited capabilities compared to other MDM solutions
  • Included with Google Workspace plans

Rippling MDM

  • Compatible with macOS and Windows
  • Enforces basic policies such as a complex password policy and disk encryption
  • Included with Rippling HR service
  • Optional Cylance integration for anti-malware

And there you have it, a handy list of some MDM benefits & solutions for you to consider. We highly recommend deploying one if you haven't already. Your future IT team will thank you, especially if you do this while your team is still small. (This is coming from someone who had to manually send out JAMF install emails to over 1000 users at once!)

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