Oct 03 2023
Digital Workspace

Everything Nonprofits Need to Know About Mobile Device Management

As modern work evolves, nonprofits must update their mobile device management protocol.

Employees in the nonprofit world need to stay in touch. Maybe your organization supplies mobile devices to staff and key volunteers in order to keep them connected; maybe you’ve experimented with BYOD options.

But what’s good for connectivity can bring security risks. Given the sensitive personal and financial information that many nonprofits hold —  on donors, for example, or on people in need or at risk — a single data breach can trigger an avalanche of data loss.

Enter specialist solutions such as Jamf and Microsoft Intune, MobileIron and others that support IT teams managing device settings, data and content, allowing nonprofits the agility of mobile devices with a reduced risk.

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4 Ways Mobile Device Management Supports Nonprofits

Here is everything IT leaders need to know about mobile device management and how these solutions can support mission-driven organizations.

1. Location tracking allows IT workers to identify where all organizational devices are in real time. This also means that they may have the ability to set up “safe zone” parameters; if a device leaves that zone, it can be remotely disabled.

Location tracking can also support remote locking in case a device is lost or stolen. This can protect sensitive data and thwart a potential breach. It can also save organizations money: Instead of abandoning lost devices, pricey equipment can be tracked down (including when staff members leave the organization). For nonprofits that engage in personally sensitive missions, such as work in unstable regions of the world, it can also be a protective measure to support staff members and volunteers. This benefit may outweigh concerns about employee privacy, depending on the type of work a nonprofit performs.

2. Remote wiping enables IT personnel to delete data from mobile devices from afar. This can help prevent data from being compromised in case a device is lost or stolen, though if a remote wipe is performed while a threat is in progress, there’s a chance that a bad actor may be able to retrieve some of that data. It can also be used when a mobile device changes owners and neither the old nor the new proprietor can bring in the device for a physical cleanup.

DISCOVER: Learn how to secure remote devices with modern management tools.

IT administrators can choose to do a complete data wipe or delete data selectively. This can be particularly useful for organizations using a BYOD approach; some mobile device solutions can detect and delete only the data related to the organization, giving device owners assurance that their personal devices will still be usable after a remote wipe.

3. Remote troubleshooting can save the day for team members in the field when their device encounters a problem. With mobile device management, IT staff members can troubleshoot remote devices and fix issues without device users having to come in for repair, disrupting operations only minimally. The same technology that supports remote troubleshooting can also support seamless file transfers and synchronization.

4. Updating and configuration within MDM solutions can save IT leaders the headache of trying to get all team members to perform necessary updates, as it lets them push updates and configuration changes through entire fleets of remote devices. This allows the organization to stay up to date with compliance and security without putting the onus on individual users who might struggle to install updates themselves.

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Special Considerations of Mobile Device Management

Effective mobile device management requires more than just a technology solution; thoughtful policies concerning which devices employees may use for work, and how they use them, are also necessary to minimize an organization’s risk, especially for those that allow workers to use their own devices.

 Building trust is an important aspect of mobile device management. Employers need to trust that workers will use employer-owned devices safely, while workers need to know that organizations will respect their personal privacy while enforcing BYOD policies.

But with proper communication and policies, IT teams can manage the risks of mobile device management, striking a balance that allows nonprofits to thrive.

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