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A Guide to Mobile Device Support and Management

Mobile technology and contactless experiences are now central to delivering personalised and seamless shopping experiences as part of the customer's omni-channel journey. However, the mobile devices that enable these experiences require correct support and protection. Poor device management can adversely impact staff productivity, or create business continuity and data security issues.

This reference guide explains the need for mobile device support and how to know if you have robust management in place.

MDM Toolset or Mobile Device Managed Service?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) concerns the monitoring, management and protection of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, through the deployment of an MDM toolset or solution. By comparison, a Mobile Device Managed Service offered by a Managed Services Provider delivers an end-to-end management service for mobile devices. Full responsibility for the management of mobile devices is assumed by the Managed Service Provider (MSP).

Refer to Mobile Device Managed Services

A Mobile Device Managed Service is more than the deployment of an MDM toolset or software solution. Mobile Device Managed Services combine the MDM toolset with a service delivery management layer. Mobile Device Managed Services enable organisations to secure, monitor, and manage mobile devices whilst providing ongoing proactive and reactive technical support.

Through a Mobile Device Management central server, the Managed Service Provider can configure and manage all mobile devices remotely. Through tools such as the Sophos Mobile Advanced solution, service providers can push configurations and applications to all devices.

Why opt for a Mobile Device Managed Service?

With access to numerous MDM tools, the real challenge for in-house IT teams lies in selecting the right solution, configuring, managing and keeping it up to date with the required knowledge and expertise. A mobile device managed service from an MSP, with the necessary skills and expertise, provides a cost-effective and robust solution to managing mobile devices in-house.

As early as 2019, 62%* of retailers were planning to increase mobile device usage by the end of that year. The pandemic further accelerated this adoption, with a drive to meet customer expectations for cashless transactions, queue-busting solutions and a safer in-store experience for the customer.

The growing need to support and manage the growing number of mobile devices can be at odds with the size and skillset of the in-house IT team. The dominant business need may also be to reduce costs, whilst also contending with recruitment and retention challenges in relation to specialist skills.

Partnering with a retail specialist Managed Service Provider ensures that the correct management of all devices is delivered as service, underpinned by strong SLAs at predictable and manageable costs.

What should Mobile Device Managed Services cover?

A Mobile Device Managed Services should encompass the core elements of Application Management, OS Management, Policy and Configuration Management, Remote Support, Inventory and Asset Management, Security, Reporting, and Analytics.

Application Management
Users must have accurate access to the applications for their required functions. Applications should be regularly updated to ensure ongoing device efficiency and security. The ability to blacklist and whitelist applications further protects the device.

Operating System Management
Look for proactive management of operating systems. They should be regularly updated to reduce downtime and ensure that devices continue to function efficiently.

Policy and Configuration Management
There should be standard policies and configurations, tailored to device usage. For retailers, this includes specific policies depending on the function of the device.

Remote Support
A key requirement is 24x7 access to the MSP support team, with the ability to remotely connect to a device for faster issue resolution when things do go wrong.

Inventory and Asset Management
The ability to report on device location in case of loss, help locate the device in the event of theft and to ensure overall effective device management.

Reporting and Analytics
Comprehensive reporting with access to a Service Delivery Manager for continuous tracking and ongoing improvement to device performance and service quality.

Robust security provision is an essential element within any mobile device managed service to protect company data and avoid reputational damage.

A Mobile Device Managed Service removes the complexity of in-house management and ensures the ongoing protection and efficiency of mobile devices. It provides a flexible and scalable alternative for retailers as their device estate grows. Retail and hospitality businesses can focus on other vital strategic activities while the burden of device management is moved to a Managed Services Provider. An MSP will take responsibility for excellent service quality, delivered against agreed SLAs, at a predictable ongoing cost.”

Why is Mobile Device Security Important?

Mobile devices are vulnerable to a wide range of threats including, viruses, malware, and ransomwares. The growing number of internet-enabled mobile devices in a retail estate are also increasingly becoming targets of various attacks.

There has been a 54%* increase in mobile malware variants, and an average of 24,000 malicious threats* to mobile apps are blocked each day. An unsecured Wi-Fi, webpage, or application, coupled with growing hacker sophistication, can make mobile devices in the retail estate more susceptible to attacks. Poor admin controls enable hackers to gain unauthorised access and steal crucial information.

Benefits of automation testing

Organisations needs to keep all mobile devices secure and protected. Security requirements are determined by device usage, device capabilities and the threat landscape. A Managed Service Provider can prevent device vulnerabilities and provide a secure mobile environment.

What Types of Device are supported by a Mobile Device Managed Service?

End-user computing devices are generally split into two categories: Desktop and laptop computers fall into one category, mobile devices into the other. The majority of mobile devices are mobile phones and tablets, but they can also include e-readers, smartwatches, HHTs and other smaller personal computing devices.

The device operating system is more important than the actual device itself when it comes to the MDM solution. A standard Mobile Device Management toolset would be expected to support up-to-date versions of Android, IOS, Chrome OS, and even Windows operating systems, but windows laptops may not be supported via an MDM solution. Most Managed Service Providers offer a wider service for desktop and laptop computers. Even though these devices could be supported by the MDM product, it’s usually more effective to use a separate remote monitoring and event management solution.

*(Sources: Boston Retail Partners’ report; Internet Security Threat Report Volume 23 of Symantec)

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