After years of debate, IT professionals are still arguing about the fate of Mobile Device Management (MDM). Some say MDM is outdated and controlling technology, while others dispute this and believe that MDM still has value. The question is: is MDM dead, or not?
Israel Lifshitz, CEO of software company, Nubo, believes that MDM’s time has passed. Lifshitz states, “technological development is imitation punctuated with imagination…After a groundbreaking invention like the Internet, the first wave of supporting innovation tends to rely on imitation. The second wave of innovation realizes everything that the first wave had wrong, so they become more imaginative.”
According to Lifshitz, MDM is a part of the first wave of supporting innovation, coming in response to the invention of PCs. The way MDM operated with mobile devices mirrored the way IT teams managed PCs. This kind of management involves constant monitoring for updates, troubleshooting, and other issues. A strategy like this works for PCs because the boundaries between corporate and personal use are more obvious.
However, when an employer uses this management strategy on a mobile device, it becomes more difficult because the line between corporate and personal use is blurrier. This leads to overcomplicated micromanagement, which is a lot of work for the IT team, and akin to babysitting for employees. Because the technology of PCs and mobile devices are so different, using a similar approach for the management of both doesn’t work out well. Therefore, there is an argument to be made that IT needs to move on from this style of MDM to something more imaginative and innovative.
On the other side of the debate is Tim Williams, the Director of Product Management at Absolute Software. He believes that MDM is closer to the beginning of its existence than the end, meaning that it still has room to grow. Williams states that “while MDM is still very much in its infancy, its boundaries continue to expand…The struggle to define best practices for MDM and client management continues to this day…All we need to worry about is how these devices will be managed.” To Williams, IT professionals need to reframe how they view MDM, as it is not dying, but evolving instead. MDM is being modified to be a more user-friendly, policy-driven form of endpoint management as a result of the direction the mobile landscape is heading.
Regardless of whether you see MDM as being dead or not, the traditional form of MDM is gone. As of now, MDM is user-centric and accounts for security across operating systems, applications, and data. Some IT professionals see this change as something separate from traditional MDM, as they found it unable to keep pace with technological developments. Others, however, view this as an evolution or offshoot of MDM, as it is continuing to develop with the corresponding technology. MDM does not operate as it once did, but operational change is not equivalent to dying. MDM’s change is not a death, but an evolution as a response to the technological changes happening around it.
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