Location Tracking of Work Devices Using MDM
Dec 09, 2020 | 42Gears Team
Are you thinking about using a mobile device management (MDM) solution to implement MDM GPS tracking? Tracking device location can be a smart move.
With the help of MDM location tracking, admins can track the location of company-owned devices from a central console. This can help you save money and improve productivity.
Why Use MDM GPS Tracking?
MDM GPS tracking is useful for a few reasons.
First, you can make sure employees stay productive. For example, if workers need to drive company vehicles throughout the day, you can see where they go using an MDM console. If they make unexpected detours, you can either discipline them or help accommodate for other issues they are experiencing.
Of course, another major benefit is the ability to find lost devices. If someone loses a device, you can use the MDM console to find and retrieve it. You can also lock it down or even wipe the device if it has fallen into the wrong hands.
A third major benefit is the ability to see employee movement patterns over time. You can detect if employees drive faster than the local speed limit, and require them to drive more safely. In this way, you reduce the chance of liability issues, as well as insurance costs.
Benefits of Knowing Device Location
You will likely see improved productivity once you begin tracking devices, as workers will need to remain accountable for their movements during the day. This will discourage wandering. Still, workers are by no means trapped; improved accountability does not prevent them from taking breaks or dealing with personal emergencies.
Plus, location tracking can help in ensuring lone-worker safety. With the help of an MDM solution, you can identify lone workers who display unusual movement patterns (or lack of movement) and may have experienced an emergency. If isolated workers cannot talk because of an event like a natural disaster, you can still see their location using an MDM solution – invaluable for ensuring everyone is safe.
Additionally, you will likely notice small but consistent cost savings once you can retrieve lost devices instead of giving up on them. By keeping devices safe until you can retrieve them, you also lower the chance of thieves infiltrating those devices.
At a minimum, any MDM tracking tool you use should be able to locate multiple devices on a map. Ideally, this map would integrate with an authoritative map system like Google Maps. This way, you can easily see who is where, and for how long.
Additionally, you should use a tool with a real-time display that refreshes every few seconds or whenever a significant change in location happens. If the refresh rate is much longer than that, real-time tracking is difficult, and may be inaccurate.
Lastly, you should be able to turn tracking for any enrolled device on or off at any time. You do not want to track every device at all times, given this would consume needless bandwidth. Plus, from a security perspective, if workers ever take work devices home, it is essential that you do not record their activity outside of work.
One very useful application of GPS tracking is geo-fencing. This means that admins establish a virtual gate, and apply usage policies to devices within that gate. For example, a geo-fence may surround an office; workers cannot access games while in the office, but once they leave for the day, they have full access once again.
An advanced MDM solution will allow you to adjust tracking beyond simply turning it on or off. Tracking device location is not all-or-nothing. By reducing attributes like how frequently you record device location, you can reduce data consumption.
Of course, you should choose tracking tools that are compatible with the devices your company owns. In practice, this often means tools that support Android phones and tablets, iOS phones and iPadOS tablets, and Windows laptops and tablets.
It is also worth considering location-tracking via smartwatches, given the increasing popularity of wearables in the workplace.
Critics often call location tracking an invasion of privacy, and for good reason; if handled improperly, location tracking can erode goodwill between IT teams and workers.
As a start, admins must take great pains to obtain employee consent for monitoring location. This includes taking the time to make sure everyone knows when their location will be recorded, and what you plan to do with that information. Earning worker consent, rather than demanding it, will lead to better compliance.
Once you record a worker’s location, the location data becomes something valuable to protect. You will need to minimize potential workplace security concerns, ideally by pursuing certifications like the ISO/IEC 27001.
MDM device tracking can be extremely helpful, but you need to choose an MDM solution that fits your needs first.
SureMDM by 42Gears is a great choice for many organizations because it includes all of the basic and advanced features mentioned above. SureMDM is also a great platform to push app updates and security policies to your fleet of devices.