Shared iPads at work: How MDM helps you get the most out of them

By Alice Selvan

Many organisations allow their corporate devices to be shared by different employees, or hand them out to teams or departments on a rotating basis. Healthcare providers, logistics companies, retailers, and schools often deploy mobile devices that are shared to ease the device management process, cut down on inventory costs, solve issues arising from workspace changes, and efficiently manage contract employees and students.

As convenient as using shared devices seems, this practice brings about a unique set of challenges for organisations, with multiple end users having to access a single corporate device that might contain a lot of business-critical data.

Take a healthcare service, for instance. All healthcare providers, receptionists, or clinicians need to store and access patient-related information, medical guidelines, or other data on the device and ensure that no sensitive data is at risk. Once the shift is over, the device needs to be ready for the next employee to access without there being any question of whether the data was tampered with or lost during the shift.

The concern for different industries, like logistics, retail, and education, is the same. How do IT admins deploy a device for multiple end users while protecting important data and securing the device?

Organisations can permit multi-user access to company-owned iPads while managing the iPad; its apps, content, and accounts; and more. As an IT admin, you can harness this capability by deploying mobile device management (MDM) software in your workspace.

Challenges with deploying shared devices

1) User management

Keeping track of all the employees or students who need to work on a specific iPad can be quite the mouse chase, with various users logging in on different devices at different times. In an educational setting, there are multiple students, classes, and teachers on the scene, and the device has to store existing data but also be easily prepped for the next set of students to access it.

2) Data security

Making sure that all the corporate data used or stored on an iPad is secured is a tough task considering that multiple users can access a single device. Corporate iPads need to be safeguarded with the right security policies that prevent unauthorized access and data leaks that can potentially jeopardize the organisation.

3) Storage issues

 All users require a certain amount of storage to carry out their tasks, be it a healthcare worker storing medical records, or a student locally saving an assignment on a device.

End users should be blocked from using up more storage than intended because this can hinder productivity and device usability for the other users.

 4) Privacy problems

An unmanaged shared device lacks a sense of privacy, with each end user’s tasks remaining while another logs in, or user data being retained after a session.

 Here’s how Mobile Device Manager Plus can help you tackle these challenges:

  • With ManageEngine Mobile Device Manager Plus, you can leverage Apple Business Manager to bring your organisation’s iPads into corporate management by enabling the Shared iPad setting. Once the iPads are enrolled as Shared iPads, multiple users can log in to a single iPad while you can take control over the device, its functions, and its user accounts simultaneously. The Shared iPad setting allows you to create local accounts as you would on a PC or laptop, while giving you privileges for full-fledged device management.
  • The enrolled shared iPads will be assigned to one Managed Apple ID, eliminating the need to use personal Apple IDs on the devices. This will also smooth the process of distributing apps and managing app licenses.
  • Usability and security policies can be applied to devices to protect company or school data from being transferred or misused. For instance, you can restrict functionalities on the iPad, like AirDrop, Data Sync, or Mobile Networks. Let’s say an IT admin at a school wants to ensure students only connect to a specific Wi-Fi network. The necessary Wi-Fi configuration can be remotely pushed to the required iPads to restrict access to unapproved networks.
  • Apple automatically allocates equal storage for each user once an iPad is enrolled with Mobile Device Manager Plus, eliminating the possibility of irregular storage consumption by a user. If a device needs to be reused or reset, its data can be remotely erased using security commands from Mobile Device Manager Plus.
  • Since each user has a local account on the device, they can complete their daily tasks without interfering with another user’s data, email, etc. To simplify the process of handling apps, you can distribute applications to a Shared iPad without any user intervention, and all user accounts on the iPad will have the same apps.

To efficiently tackle the challenges of managing Shared iPads in your organisation, you can enrol your iPads in Mobile Device Manager Plus, an enterprise mobility management solution that helps ensure data security while providing the level of user privacy you require. You can automate device onboarding, simplify store and enterprise app management, enforce security policies, remotely troubleshoot devices, and more.

If you have any other requirements to help you better manage shared devices in your workspace, you can add them to ManageEngine’s roadmap.

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