Today's fast-paced and interconnected world requires businesses to consistently optimize their operations and stay ahead of the competition. With devices sprawled across organizations, from mobile devices to virtual machines to IoT devices, and more — especially since COVID-19 skyrocketed work-from-anywhere (WFA) business models — there's never been a time when IT device management was as crucial as it is today.
That's evident in a report by Fortune Business Insight, which last year projected that the global mobile device management market will grow from $4.75 billion in 2022 to $21.30 billion by 2029, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.9%. The industry grew 14.9% in the 2020 pandemic year over 2019, according to the report, portending an increasing interest in device management across both small and large businesses. While the industry is increasingly seeing a greater need for IT device management, many businesses have yet to see the results of their investments for a number of reasons.
Traditionally, businesses relied on manual processes to manage their devices, which often proved to be time-consuming, inefficient, and prone to errors. As technology advanced, device management solutions emerged, enabling organizations to streamline their operations and enhance productivity. However, these solutions were often complex, requiring dedicated on-premises infrastructure and skilled IT personnel.
The burden on enterprise IT teams for effective device management is far-reaching, and there are a number of problems that IT teams continue to battle. A recent study by IDG found that 74% of global enterprise IT leaders report having experienced a data breach due to mobile security issues — showing security challenges are still thriving, even with all the mobile device management solutions on the market today. In the same study, "95% say a rise in data on or accessed by mobile devices increases the risk of a security breach."
Enter Device Management as a Service (DMaaS)
In the age of bring your own device (BYOD) and remote work flexibility, enterprises are increasingly looking to consolidate their security efforts and efficiently protect all devices their employees use for business operations. This is where device management as a service (DMaaS) comes in. DMaaS is a relatively new cloud-based approach that helps businesses effectively manage their devices by leveraging the power of the cloud. This approach allows businesses to focus on their core competencies while leaving the complexities of device management to experts in the field.
"Today, smart devices, also known as digital assets, are considered the backbone of every organization used by employees helping to streamline operations, and as such they require to be healthy, patched, and tuned to their mission," said Nadav Avni, CMO at Israel-based DMaaS company Radix. Avni added that the IT department is usually the one responsible for device management and configuration, ongoing maintenance, and remote support: "Hence it's crucial for the IT department and organization to have a management platform supporting all devices, related work processes, and stakeholders."
The Case for DMaaS
An analysis by IBM places DMaaS as the technology that unifies all the endpoints of mobile devices, allowing enterprises to secure and control the entire IT environment alongside the capabilities of securing users' personal data, apps, content, and enterprise data. Adrian De Luca, director of solution architecture and global partner of strategic development at cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS), notes that with DMaaS, "customers are able to utilize the scalability, security, and accessibility of next-gen data management that can help protect their data from ransomware and other cybersecurity threats."
There is also the issue of integration. Instead of depending on users to perform checks or manual updates to critical firmware or software, automating these tasks encourages better compliance. It also ensures that all devices remain compatible in terms of software version or data content.
"The world is moving to the cloud, meaning device management platforms should be cloud-based as well, but without compromising on security and complying with international privacy standards like the GDPR, CCPA, ISO, and SOC," Avni said. "This means running on robust cloud services."
Some popular use cases for DMaaS, according to Avni, include TV operators leasing set-top boxes to customers, virtual reality (VR) service providers leasing VR devices to clinics and medical centers, and managed service providers leasing computers to schools for use by teachers and students. He advises companies in search of a DMaaS provider not to compromise on quality, functionality, and security.
"You should be on the lookout for a provider that is cloud-based with redundancy, intentional standards of privacy and security, OSS and device-agnostic, tools for all stakeholders, powerful enterprise mobility management [EMM], and mobile device management [MDM] layers," Avni said. He added that you need to be prepared on all fronts: human resources ("have the right people"), patience ("this takes time"), and cost ("allocate the budget, it's worth every penny").
About the authorKolawole Sam Adebayo is a Harvard-trained tech entrepreneur, tech enthusiast, tech writer/journalist, and an executive ghostwriter. He has 10+ years of experience covering various tech news stories, writing thought leadership blogs, reports, datasheets, and case studies. His areas of expertise include cybersecurity, AI, ML, DevOps, blockchain, metaverse, and big data for C-level executive audiences. He has written for several publications, including VentureBeat, Dark Reading, RSI Security, NWTechs, WATI Security, Draft.dev, and many more.