Now that remote work is on the rise, many organizations are looking for mobility management solutions to address the associated increased cybersecurity concerns. Mobile Device Management (MDM) is a traditional form of mobility management designed to securely and efficiently connect workers to the office by controlling device-level attributes. However, it has its drawbacks.

MDM directly manages the hardware that employees use, with variations for company-issued devices and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs. Upfront costs are higher with company-issued devices, while adoption resistance, which could lead to other expenses, affects the BYOD programs using MDM solutions.

While MDM is popular, it isn’t the only mobility management software out there. Before choosing an MDM solution, it’s important to understand the associated costs.

Hardware and Network Costs

MDM for company-issued devices comes with inherent hardware costs. The company must purchase and replace employee devices as needed. Meeting minimum hardware specs and industry requirements may limit product options. While a quick search for “bulk smartphones” or “wholesale smartphones” yields plenty of suppliers, quality is a concern. Cheap, no-name brands may cost as little as $80 per device, but they don’t compare to well-established brands regarding durability, credibility, and features. The issue with name brands, of course, is cost. Consider the exorbitant expense of providing thousands of employees with devices costing several hundreds of dollars apiece and replacing them regularly. Network connection costs are another consideration. Employees will not likely pay the phone bill for a company-issued device.

With BYOD programs, MDM costs less because the employee supplies the device. Many network providers offer two-year upgrades, so lifecycles are more cost-effective and manageable. Since employees personally use the devices, they typically cover network connection costs. However, BYOD programs have drawbacks as well.

By far, the most significant hurdle in the BYOD scenario is the adoption of MDM controls. MDM commands direct device control, which employees reject. Such resistance effectively neutralizes any potential savings the company could make with a BYOD MDM policy.

Personnel Costs

Regardless of the type of MDM solution, the organization must hire at least one administrator for ongoing MDM management. According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for an MDM Administrator is $100,000. Depending on the MDM solutions and devices involved, these administrators may need extensive technical expertise. As knowledge and skill diversities rise, so does the salary.

Other Costs – Rejection and Circumvention

Adoption initiatives must consider two further, employee-dependent risks: adoption rejection and circumvention.

Employees may reject either MDM type, company-issued devices, or BYOD. Some prefer to consolidate work and personal life on the same device, and company-issued programs upset this preference. For BYOD, employees could reject their devices’ corporate control due to privacy concerns making BYOD with MDM a non-starter.

Circumvention arises if MDM meets resistance, and the company proceeds with implementation anyway. To maintain productivity, employees and managers may quickly normalize using a personal device just to check email, for example. At that point, personal use negates the security benefits of MDM’s full-device control and invites data breaches.

According to a recent IBM Data Breach Report, in 2020, the average data breach worldwide cost $3.86 million, while the United States’ average came in at $8.64 million. Based on the same IBM report, SecurityIntelligence reports that 70% of respondents expect remote work to raise data breach costs. Misconfigured cloud setups were noted as a leading attack vector, implying a trade-off between hiring more IT security workers and paying data breach penalties.

Any organization serious about implementing mobility management should consider the risks and costs of MDM solution circumvention and rejection.

Virtual Mobility Solutions

Virtual Mobility Solutions (VMSs) like Hypori® serve as an MDM alternative and are an example of the best mobile security solutions. The solution’s virtual nature means it runs inside a single app, reducing the need for complete device control.

Employees use their personal devices for work functions, accessing a virtual server that maintains 100% separation of personal and enterprise data. Because personal devices are used, there is no solution resistance or circumvention since users can work and play from their device while simultaneously retaining their control.

Organizations recognize cost-savings, simpler IT management, and increased employee productivity with VMS because all data is stored locally, no company-issued devices are required, and employees not only use their personal devices but tend to work more hours than they would on a corporate device.

Hypori delivers cost-effective, centralized security and oversight in a single, simplified management dashboard, and is the first step in mobilizing the workforce for the modern, remote era. Learn more about how Hypori can deliver secure, user-friendly virtual mobility to your organization.

VMI vs MDM

Free whitepaper compares MDM to Hypori, the virtual mobile infrastructure that makes truly secure BYOD a reality.

Enterprise Mobile Device Management Comparison

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