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Misunderstanding about mobile device management

The Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Alliance recently released a paper outlining the challenges of cybersecurity in today’s environment. It had many good things to say about the current state of policy implementation, but some of the statistics show how far there still is to go.

For instance, in its conclusion, the report states that 69 percent of the government IT decision makers in the study believe that mobile device management (MDM) is about the security of the devices. Now it’s worth noting that this was a security survey and that context may have led respondents to give that answer, but MDM is about so much more than just individual devices.

An MDM policy not only governs how devices are set up and what software and data users can access. It also describes how an enterprise manages, monitors and supports mobile devices on its network. Although good MDM supports security, it’s not the real focus.

As David Lingenfelter, the information security officer at Fiberlink Communications, said at a panel at the recent Mobile Government Conference, mobile security is almost a completely separate function from MDM.

As MDM gains more prominence in network administrators’ minds, I’m sure the distinction will become clearer.

Posted by Greg Crowe on Dec 06, 2012 at 9:39 AM


Reader Comments

Wed, Dec 12, 2012 Gary

I'm hoping more and more folk come to understand Mobile Device Management does not equal Mobile Device Security. Similarly, Mobile Device Management does not equal Mobile Data Security. For a whole host of reasons, these are by common myths I see help by CIO's on a daily basis. I'd even go so fa as to say that while I agree MDM supports security, it actually provides non itself. All an MdM tool can do is help you leverage and control device security controls - IF the device vendor has made the API available for you to access. MDM does not add any security. It's simply a tool that can help you leverage device security controls in an efficient and scalable manner.

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