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How can IT benefit from the new iOS remote management UI?

Poor communication between IT and users can hinder MDM enrollment. Apple is trying to ease employees' apprehension with its remote management UI feature.

With the launch of iOS 8, Apple introduced the remote management user interface as part of an expansion of native iOS mobile device management. Interestingly, this feature isn’t just for IT; it’s actually user-facing.

The iOS remote management UI is designed to educate users on the specifics of their employer's MDM program in an effort to bridge the communication gap between IT and users. Most MDM and enterprise mobility management products have done a decent job of providing a configuration template to define device settings, but it’s significant that Apple has now opened up that information to users. And IT benefits, too: The UI makes for greater transparency among users, often resulting in higher MDM enrollment of personal devices and less chance of employees resorting to shadow IT.

To access the remote management UI, users can simply tap on the Settings application, select General, scroll to the bottom of the screen and select Device Management. If that device is enrolled in an MDM service, it will be listed under MDM Configuration. Users can select that icon to view a detailed list of MDM configurations and restrictions present on the device.

The remote management UI helps IT pros serve as an advocate for MDM.

This information is especially useful because employees are often on the fence about whether to enroll in the company's MDM service, worrying about the Big Brother specter of IT watching over their personal usage. The iOS remote management UI offers detailed information about what exactly is on the device, and it does so using plain language. Users can educate themselves about which company apps fall under MDM, along with any corresponding restrictions. If the user is interested in more details, the interface lists the MDM server URL with all the rights allowed to the user and all the certificates associated with that device.

When setting up a culture of productivity, it's important for IT and employees to work in collaboration. The more bring your own device users IT can convince to enroll in MDM, the more employees gain access to managed company apps. If any users ask what IT has put on their device, the remote management UI makes it easier to walk them through their MDM configuration profile. Admins can even show users how to take action in the case of a lost or stolen device, and how to remove MDM from the device entirely.

Instead of employees viewing IT and security teams as operating behind a curtain, the remote management UI helps IT pros serve as an advocate for MDM.

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