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How MDM Helps Retailers Protect the Bottom Line

It’s a sunny Saturday morning, a perfect day for running some quick errands. First stop — the farmers market to pick up ingredients for a dinner party you are hosting. The farmstand is stocked with great quality produce so you pick up some fresh fruit and veggies and pay via an iPhone with a Square Reader attachment.

Next stop — your favorite department store to pick out an outfit for a work trip later in the week. The store is quite busy, so you flag down a salesperson and they help you check out from a mobile point-of-sale (POS) system.

Lastly, you must drop by your favorite coffee shop to get that caffeine fix that will help you through the rest of your day. You decide to mobile order via your iPhone, so the latte is waiting for you as soon as you arrive.

The world of retail has changed drastically for shoppers, and mobile checkout devices have helped retailers big and small not only provide a better customer experience but also increase sales and revenue. In fact, a recent study found that 83% of retailers anticipate an increased amount of technology to be deployed in stores over the next two years.

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However, the proliferation of mobile devices like cellphones, tablets and laptops also comes with device security and data protection concerns for retailers. This year’s Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report concluded that the retail industry continues to be a target for “financially motivated criminals” who break into these types of systems to cash in on sensitive consumer data.

This alarming research leads to a few questions. How secure are these mobile devices? How vulnerable is the data that is stored on said devices? And how can retailers ensure that employees are using these devices appropriately?

Device management tools have become a necessity when it comes to helping retailers secure and ensure mobile POS systems are managed in an effective and proactive fashion. Unfortunately, without a proper device management solution, IT teams or those in charge of these POS devices are forced to identify and manually update each device. A burdensome task that can impact a retailer’s bottom line if several POS devices are inactive or if software updates are missed, leaving the device vulnerable to a cyberattack.

Shopping for Effective Device Management and Security

To keep retailers and customers safe from security vulnerabilities, retail organizations must look for a device management solution that delivers:

  • Device management to help IT teams automate workflows for installing and updating mobile devices. These solutions also keep track of fleets of devices, enforce organization-wide rules and support applications and integrations that might not be natively available on a device. 
  • Endpoint protection isfunctionality that ensures devices are monitored 24/7 at the endpoint instead of the network. With endpoint protection, devices are also mapped against standard mandates like CIS, NIST, SOC2 and more. This ensures that any mobile retail devices, such as mobile POS systems, are continuously remediating any viruses or other potential attack vectors.   
  • Internet security is a key consideration for retailers, especially for retailers that are constantly traveling to various markets and trade shows — like the farmstand mentioned above. These types of retailers should look for solutions that filter out malicious websites and ensure 100% encryption regardless.  
  • Single sign-on centralizes control of who has access to what systems and helps to reduce the number of times retail employees need to log onto their devices. In addition to making each device more secure, single sign-on helps speed up the login process to ensure that retail workers can quickly sign into a mobile device and help a customer complete a purchase.
  • Application management can help IT teams install supported and custom applications built specifically for that retailer. It also ensures that every application on a retailer’s fleet is up to date and configured without disrupting the user.
  • Automation will help to simplify the day-to-day of IT teams while also giving retailers peace of mind that the devices are up to date with accurate security and management configurations that meet the industry’s regulatory demands, like consumer privacy compliance.

Keep in mind, finding the right solution to manage mobile retail devices does not have to be complicated. Oftentimes legacy approaches to device management mean finding a unique provider that specializes in a single area — like single sign-on or endpoint protection. However, this leads to retailers deploying multiple vendors within an IT environment, which complicates the technology stack and promotes data silos because these tools do not communicate with other related solutions.

To save time and money, retailers should consider a comprehensive device management offering that combines several services. This promotes communication within the device management system to help better protect the entire enterprise.

As an example, a unified approach to device management can help retail organizations and IT teams locate, separate and even wipe a device that has been misplaced or compromised in a data breach before it impacts the rest of the enterprise. Unifying device management can also help guarantee that all mobile devices are running on the latest software and patches. This not only hardens the device but also makes sure that the device is not hindered by downtime or flaws.

Mobile devices and innovative retail applications will continue to be introduced as consumers clamor for unique omnichannel shopping experiences that speed up time to checkout. However, device safety cannot be an afterthought. Retailers that ignore device management and security will not only put their organization at risk but also their bottom line. However, with proper device management in place, retailers will be ready to welcome those customers crossing off items on their Saturday morning errand list.


Alcyr Araujo is the CEO and founder of Mosyle. The company provides mobile device management and security solutions that help organizations provide seamless Apple device experiences at work and school.

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