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What is device management? Best practices and benefits

What is device management?

Device management refers to the process of overseeing and controlling devices within an organization. It involves the administration, monitoring, and maintenance of devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and servers. The goal of device management is to ensure the efficient operation and security of devices throughout their lifecycle.


What are the main functions of device management?

Device management entails various elements to maintain a secure and compliant environment.


Setting up devices for initial use, including installing necessary software and establishing settings.


Keeping track of all devices within an organization with detailed reporting, including information on device type, operating system capabilities, and ownership.


Maintaining the configurations of devices to ensure consistency with security policies.


Implementing security measures to protect devices from data breaches. This may involve access controls, containerization and continuous monitoring of devices from a central console.


Updating devices with the latest software to address vulnerabilities and improve performance.

Device Mgmt functions

What are the benefits of device management?

One of the biggest advantages of device management is lowering the risk of cyberthreats.

Devices are no longer bound to the corporate office. They can be anywhere, and organizations can’t rely on the network perimeter to protect their endpoints. To ensure device security for remote devices, organizations can utilize solutions with features like:

  • Industry-standard encryption in transit and at rest
  • Remote device wipe, lock or reset functionality
  • Restriction enforcement and Zero Trust controls

With the right management strategy, you can gain more security and more control over endpoint devices, while also enabling end users to work at any time from any location. Using a central dashboard, you get up-to-date insight into device and software inventories and more consistent processes for managing updates, licenses, and service desk requests.


What are device management best practices?

Successful device management is crucial for maintaining a secure and well-functioning IT environment. Whether boosting data security, streamlining operations, or enhancing user experiences, adopting proven strategies forms the foundation for successful device management in a dynamic IT landscape.

Keep a current inventory

Maintain an up-to-date inventory of all devices, including corporate devices and bring your own device (BYOD) programs. This helps you understand the types of devices that are in use and gives you greater visibility of your IT environment.

Employ unified endpoint management (UEM)

Implement a UEM solution to track and manage devices with different operating systems through a single, unified dashboard.

Automate updates

Use automated tools to regularly apply security patches and updates to devices. Consistent patching helps address vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malware.

Create security policies

Define and enforce security policies for device management based on industry standards and the needs of your organization. These security standards should outline procedures for handling and transmitting information on devices, as well as prevent unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data.

Manage and secure mobile devices

Apply security measures to mobile devices, like passcode requirements, encryption, and remote wipe capabilities. Mobile devices are built differently and used differently than traditional servers or computers and require specific controls to remain protected.

Leverage backup and recovery

Routinely back up data as a preventive measure against data loss. A comprehensive backup and recovery solution will safeguard against cyberattacks and facilitate quick recovery, reducing the impact of an attack.


What is mobile device management (MDM), and how does it work?

MDM allows you to enroll, inventory, configure and secure multiple devices from one console quickly and consistently. The first step toward a sound MDM strategy is to establish protocols and educate users on acceptable mobile device use, helping them understand the risks of downloading unknown applications and connecting to unsecure Wi-Fi networks. Given the wide range of device types, usage scenarios, operating system capabilities and other variables, device management for mobile devices can get very complex, very quickly.

Employing an effective MDM solution helps alleviate complexity by providing a centralized platform for keeping track of all the mobile endpoints connecting to your network resources, regardless of operating system, service provider, or device owner.


Patch, secure & automate!

A successful device management strategy goes beyond inventory. Keep your environment safe.

What are the differences between Windows, Linux and Mac device management solutions?

Windows Diagram

Windows focuses on centralized management to monitor and secure devices across an organization. It uses a large group of Microsoft technologies for endpoint management and security that is compatible with most hardware and software devices. The suite includes a cloud-based solution for mobile devices, an on-premises solution for Windows-based computers, and a collection of other technologies that provide basic threat protection, support deployment, and offer reporting details.

Though Windows device management offers a range of built-in features that contribute to its popularity and widespread use, its native functions are not sufficient to operate and secure diverse environments. Windows tools may be adequate for simple tasks, but if an environment requires advanced security, comprehensive device inventory, or cross-platform management, additional solutions are needed.

Linux Diagram

Linux often makes use of command-line tools and scripts to make changes to system files or adjust settings. It also commonly uses package managers for software installation and updates, reducing complexity for the end user. Its open-source nature gives administrators the flexibility to modify the source code according to their needs, as well as provides a high degree of transparency for security vulnerabilities to be identified and addressed more promptly.

While Linux device management is versatile, it has a steeper learning curve for beginners and is not as intuitive as other solutions. Users may encounter software and hardware compatibility issues and challenges with standardization across different environments.

MAC Diagram

Mac uses both centralized management and command-line tools and scripts. Its user-friendly platform makes it easy to interact with different devices and its command-line interface (CLI) allows for more granular tasks. It is compatible with industry-leading creative software and offers a unified ecosystem with other Apple products. Additionally, macOS includes built-in security measures, such as malware detection and encryption.

Mac devices are known for their premium build quality and design, but they often come with a higher upfront cost. Apple also has a closed ecosystem, limiting the freedom that users have for customization and creating a dependency on Apple services. Although the Mac ecosystem has grown, some applications are primarily designed for Windows, and certain fields may have issues finding macOS-compatible software that meets their requirements.


Traditional vs. mobile vs. modern device management

As the workplace evolves, so do device management strategies. Traditional device management, mobile device management (MDM), and modern device management represent distinct approaches tailored to differing workplace needs.

Traditional device management

Traditional device management has long been associated with on-premises servers and computers that connect directly to the data center. There is a high amount of control over devices, with insight into hardware and software and the ability to install applications, updates, and security patches.

Because traditional management relies on physical connections, it is resource-intensive and less adaptable to the demands of modern environments.

Mobile device management

Mobile device management emerged with the rise of mobile devices, introducing centralized control for smartphones, tablets, and laptops. With MDM, devices go through an enrollment process, wherein a configuration profile is installed that sets up policies and restrictions. Since software on mobile devices is typically acquired through app stores, MDM integrates with these stores for greater control over the apps used in your organization.

Mobile devices often have GPS chips for location tracking, and MDM provides a security advantage with the ability to remotely manage lost or stolen mobile devices by wiping, locking, or resetting them.

Modern device management

Modern management combines both traditional and mobile capabilities. It embraces a cloud-based, user-centric model that accommodates the increasing diversity of devices while also offering tight control. Modern device management delivers complete authority over all devices, streamlines IT tasks, and mitigates security risks, giving organizations the best of traditional management and mobile management.


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