Mobile Device Management

How a Mobile Device Management (MDM) Solution Works in the Healthcare Industry

Image credits: RODNAE Productions from Pexels

More Devices Mean More Challenges

The healthcare industry is one of the best examples where a multitude of devices are used daily by a large number of people, ranging from healthcare professionals to patients and visitors. Over the years the sheer number of devices used in the healthcare industry has grown and the Internet of Things (IoT) healthcare market is estimated to grow to USD 260.75 billion by 2027.

Increasingly, mobile computing devices such as phones, tablets, and portable computers  are used to streamline certain administrative operations such as channelling/ appointment scheduling, report storage, set up self-service kiosks, and displaying information on doctors’ availability.

Devices used in this industry broadly fall within two categories – devices that are solely used for medical purposes and hospital operations, and devices used for patient entertainment purposes during their hospital stay (i.e. tablets with a range of apps that patients can use). 

These devices, particularly those used for medical purposes and hospital operations, collect, store, and transmit sensitive personal data about individual health conditions and past medical records. Any data leak, whether accidental or in some cases deliberate, is costly both in monetary terms and reputational damage to the hospital or medical clinic. Moreover, the fact that many hospitals and medical clinics have BYOD policies adds a further level of complexity.

All these developments present a number of challenges to IT teams in this industry. For one, data security is of paramount importance. Secondly, these teams are responsible for device maintenance and oftentimes, this is a manual and time consuming task involving devices placed in many locations where a team member is required to be physically present. Thirdly, devices require frequent security and application updates, and monitoring. Finally, devices have to be replaced when they no longer function properly.

MDM Solutions Have the Capabilities To Empower IT Teams

This is where a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution helps. Recently a large hospital chain that we worked with decided to use a MDM solution to securely manage all of the devices used across multiple hospital locations throughout the country. This hospital chain required the following:

  • Centrally managed system – for tablets, phones, and public signage units used for channeling, bookings, and other operational functions.
  • Automated updates –  presently, security, OS, and app updates are performed manually.
  • Enhanced security – anyone who has access to a device gains access to all the system level settings. Since a majority of these devices are located within public areas, it was impractical to limit physical access.
  • Onboarding and authorization for devices – management software was not used for device onboarding and devices are connected to the hospital network for internal access.
  • Prevention of malpractices – eliminate instances where sensitive data is compromised on purpose by any employees and the separation of access for work-related use from personal use where employees use their personal devices.

After working with several vendors in the past, the hospital chain has identified their pain points and the ways through which data leaks can occur. Through Entgra MDM, we have been able to provide the following capabilities to address the hospital chain’s concerns:

  • Centralized device management

One of the greatest benefits of centralized device management is that IT teams can manage an unlimited number of devices that use varying operating systems (i.e. Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, etc.) using one technology platform.

  • Data security, access controls, and onboarding

A single technology platform also helps with device and data security. IT teams can use the MDM solution to enable authentication (MultiFactor Authentication or Single Sign On). This way, only authorized employees can gain access to devices for work related purposes only. This is particularly helpful when BYOD policies are in place.

  • Device lock-in

Device misuse and loss are common concerns in the healthcare industry. In the event that a device is lost or stolen, or of an attempted unauthorized access, IT teams can remotely lock the devices to prevent any data leaks.

  • Remote maintenance and monitoring

Device maintenance and monitoring are time consuming tasks, requiring many resources from the IT team. Using a MDM solution eliminates this need, as the IT team can now perform these tasks remotely, from any location and need not be physically present at the device locations.

  • Security, OS, and app updates

A MDM solution enables frequent security and app updates are installed in devices in real time.

Image credits: Anna Shvets from Pexels

Benefits for the Long Term

Once the MDM solution is in place, this hospital chain can look forward to several benefits:

  • Fewer resources to maintain devices – as they are now protected. At minimum, only one person is needed per hospital to manage these devices.
  • Improved security – results in minimizing scenarios of data leaks, especially those associated with deliberate intent.
  • Efficient and effective device monitoring – saving time in the process too. It no longer matters if hundreds of devices are in use at any one time.
  • Reduction in costs associated with device maintenance – as large teams are no longer required and resources can be better allocated in the long run.

We are well-placed to help anyone in the healthcare industry who is looking to adopt a MDM solution. Recently, we were even recognized as a Product Leader and an Innovation Leader in the KuppingerCole Leadership Compass: Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), 2021. Get in touch with us here to learn more.

Allow and Block Listed Apps With Entgra MDM

Manage device applications by using our latest feature

Entgra MDM now enables you to allow and block listed apps with the latest feature. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) admins can manage device applications by using the blacklisting and whitelisting technique.

By way of an example, think of a school or an educational institute that provides tablets to their students for online learning. Admins need to restrict several apps from these devices (such as social media apps) in these scenarios. This means that these apps will be blacklisted whilst other apps, such as educational ones, would be installed in the devices sans interaction with the students.

The app blacklisting and whitelisting feature help you to meet these requirements. App whitelisting means that all applications, except the ones explicitly defined, are blocked. End users can only use apps that have been explicitly defined. App blacklisting occurs when defined applications cannot be installed on target devices. If the given black listed apps are already installed, they will be removed from devices.

The Entgra IoT Platform has an Application Restriction Settings policy with the capability to manage device applications for appropriate users. You can access this policy in the Android policy section on the Entgra IoT Platform. In this feature, you have the ability to select the appropriate app list type. Depending on the type selected, the functionality is as follows:

Allow List

After selecting the allow list you need to add these apps’ names and their package names. When the policy is applied to the device, only the listed app will be available and other apps will disappear.

Block List

Provide the names of the apps and package names that you want to add to the block list. When the policy is applied to the device, only the listed app will be removed and other apps will remain in the device.

In this way, you can change the number of apps on devices according to your preferences.

Let us return to the example. The head of the school or institution can add apps and their package names that he/she wants to block from the devices to the Block list. These listed apps will be removed from the devices while the required apps will remain. On the other hand, if he/she wants to add some educational or learning aid apps to the students’ devices, these can be installed through this policy.

Entgra MDM has extensive enterprise wide MDM features that you can customize for your business needs. Learn more about the product and how we can help here.

You can also get in touch with us via contact@entgra.io

Understanding Entgra’s Enterprise Mobility Management Capabilities (Part 2)

An introduction to our file transfer feature

This blog is the second part of a series that deep dives into Entgra’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) capabilities. Through this blog series, we aim to provide a better understanding of how Entgra’s technology can help you manage and secure your devices, improve the performance of your employees, and increase business profits through seamless device management.

Transfer Your Files and Perform Operations in Local Device Files

Imagine that you are managing a sales team. Your day to day activities involve sending sales reports or any other kind of find to your team members’ mobile phones or tablets. Or perhaps you need to edit files that you have already sent by renaming it or delete unnecessary files stored in a device. These actions can be performed easily when you are in the office.

Now imagine that your sales team is in the field and you want to transfer files to them, transfer files from their device to your server or perform an operation on the file in their device without disturbing them.

Fortunately, there’s a way to perform these actions.

Entgra IoT Server, with its EMM features, provides file transfer features to tackle similar kinds of scenarios. Admins can transfer files from an FTP server to a folder in the user’s device and vice versa using the file transfer feature. It is also possible to remotely access a device’s file system and perform file management tasks such as copy, rename, and delete files. 

Here’s a short video that illustrates how simple remote and access is:

Using Devices in the Field

Click on the “connect to device” option on each device to start a remote session when using your devices in the field. This will display the device’s files on the screen. Select the option that allows you to select a server, where you can view all preconfigured FTP servers. Then simply click one of the servers, the server files will be fetched and shown on the screen. You can select any file and perform file transfer from local device to the FTP server or vice versa. This also comes with an option to rename and delete the local files in the device also.

The first blog of this series gives you a quick introduction to our remote screen sharing and control features. You can read the blog here. You can learn more about our IoT, EMM, and Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology here. We’re always happy to hear from you, so drop us an email on contact@entgra.io to start a conversation with us.

Digitalizing Day-to-Day Tasks of Public Field Officers

How Sri Lanka’s government administrators can digitalize vital citizen data collection functions

Sri Lanka has a multitude of government agencies with varying levels of processes involved. At present, numerous public field officers employed by these agencies perform many tasks – such as citizen data collection – manually using paper forms. They include village officers (or Grama Sevakas), public health inspectors (PHIs), community midwives, environmental police officers, municipal council employees, and field officers from the Department of Agrarian Development and the Department of Census and Statistics to name a few. They then visit the relevant area government offices to sync their work – again performed manually.

In a bid to digitalize key government functions, some agencies have begun distributing public field officers with mobile devices that contain a set of apps to eliminate these manual tasks and ensure that data is available in a centralized system in a timely manner. 

While this is a welcome move, this endeavor does not address key functionalities. These include:

  • A centralized strategy to monitor and manage devices deployed in the field.
  • An ecosystem to provide remote app updates or new apps. Public field officers are required to manually download and install apps. 
  • Strategy to provide operating system (OS)/ security updates and mandatory app updates such as virus guards.
  • Remote troubleshooting of device, app, and OS related issues that would eliminate time consuming and costly field visits by IT support teams.
  • Tools to enforce data usage restrictions, misuse of devices or data/ device theft.
  • System level architecture to provide centralized identity, device management, integration or APIs.

The lack of these functionalities would pose several challenges that will impede the long term success of a large scale project such as this. This blog provides a step-by-step guide on how government agencies can implement a device strategy that addresses these functionalities and simplifies data collection whilst saving costs in the long term.

Device Strategy and Ecosystem: A Step-by-Step Guide

The device strategy and ecosystem must address each of the following considerations before devices are used in the field.

Device functionality

Takes into account issues such as device robustness, how they would work in the field seamlessly, battery life of each device, and device weight.

Device specifications

Operating system used by devices (i.e. OS or Android), scanning requirements, whether or not devices are able to connect to printers, and the warranty period of devices.

Device ownership and user policies

Privacy and user guidelines are central to a project such as this. The device strategy must address who exactly will be given access to use devices in the field, guidelines for doing so, and the policy adopted for usage outside of official duties.

Identity and access management and storage

Security and identity management (IAM) are often the cornerstones of a sound device management strategy. A successful IAM system consists of single sign-on (SSO), self sign up, password set ups, and password resets. This system must decide on whether OTPs for sign up will be sent via SMS or email for secure signing in and the official verification/approval process.

Device configuration

Test devices, check runtime usage, and ensure that onboarding configurations are functioning as intended and device apps work in offline mode.

App development

Apps must incorporate user behavior, use the mobile device management (MDM) app store, sandbox environment in place, and kick start beta testing.

Device distribution and education

Once all of the above are in place, the relevant government agencies must prepare lists of device recipients, map serial number ID with employee IDs, decide on a complete support structure (i.e. who will provide 1st and 2nd level support), prepare instruction manuals to educate users, and organize device delivery to the field force. This is also the ideal time to formulate the device roll out plan and scale the device system with the expected support load.

Run a pilot and deploy devices to the field

This is the ideal moment to define the defect reporting process and the warranty claim process.

Pre-work device check and monitoring

Finally, before devices are in full use, assess the level of support needed, how alerts/escalations are reported, and app functionality.

Data Analysis and Visualization to Aid Policy Makers

A project such as this will require particular attention paid to methods of data storage and visualization to facilitate analysis by policy makers. The device strategy requires a central data storage mechanism – by ‘data’ we refer to both citizen data and device functionality data. Data visualization will be enabled in the form of dashboards to aid government employees and policy makers.

By implementing a device strategy with these considerations in mind, government agencies are better able to lower costs through greater control over device usage, plan for the long term, and start digitalizing services for the benefit of citizens, policy makers, and public field officers alike.

Entgra provides has worked with many public agencies and private sector organizations to implement robust device strategies. Learn more here.

Entgra MDM Now Includes LiveFeed, Enabling Admins to Remotely Track Device Details With Ease

We’re pleased to introduce LiveFeed, our latest addition to Entgra MDM. Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) admins can now use LiveFeed to troubleshoot issues on devices in real-time and monitor the device performance in a live session.

Photo by Marek Levák on Unsplash

LiveFeed has numerous uses in businesses. For example, imagine that you’re a sales manager and you want to promote an enterprise application or any other application to the sales representatives who are working in different locations. You then install the application, inform your sales representatives, push that particular app to the devices, and check that it’s functioning properly. Some of your colleagues could inform you that they have been unable to install the particular application or you observe an installation failure on some devices by checking the operation log of the server. Imagine trying to install this application repeatedly and it fails.

To provide other examples, sometimes you receive complaints about devices that function at a slow speed with users experiencing performance issues and even random freezing. At times, devices do not synchronize with the server even when they are switched on. In such scenarios, sales managers will not be able to apply any device operation, policy or app installation to any device. Devices that fail to charge properly and the need for devices that charge faster is another issue.

At this point, if you can view the current details of relevant devices, you can easily discover the reasons behind the above failures. In such a scenario, LiveFeed will be of great help to you.

LiveFeed Functionalities

LiveFeed is available under the Remote Session. After connecting to the device, select the tab called “LiveFeed”. It will show the device details fetched from the device. The extracted device details will include:

  • Battery details – The health of the battery, temperature, and charging percentage.
  • Device memory – Internal memory usage and external memory usage of the device are shown separately.
  • RAM usage – RAM usage of the device.
  • WiFi connectivity – WiFi connectivity strength of the device plus daily and hourly WiFi data consumption.
  • Mobile connectivity – Mobile connectivity strength of the device plus daily and hourly mobile data consumption.

All of the above mentioned details are derived from the live data of the device. As such, when a user makes a query about the above scenario we can initialize a remote session of that particular device and open the LiveFeed feature. Following that, we can examine the details derived from the device and perform troubleshooting.

Let’s return to the application installation failure example that we discussed earlier. In this particular example, the reason behind the installation failure is due to the poor WiFi or mobile signal strength of the connected device. Moreover, if the device has limited internal or/and external memory space, this could be another contributing factor. Another factor could even include an error with the device.

When we look at the other examples, the reason behind slow functioning devices is less RAM. A synchronization failure can happen when relevant devices are located in areas with poor mobile or WiFi signal strength. Devices with poor battery health experience charging issues.

There are several underlying causes behind application installation failures. By using LiveFeed, you can remotely identify these factors with ease without having to examine the device physically, thereby saving time and providing customer satisfaction in the process. LiveFeed also enables you to learn about the causes behind above mentioned synchronizing and device charging issues.

You can watch this video to learn more about LiveFeed.

Entgra MDM has extensive enterprise wide MDM features that you can customize for your business needs. Learn more about the product and how we can help here.

You can also get in touch with us via contact@entgra.io