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What is remote device management: Ultimate guide for 2024

Distributed companies rely heavily on different types of equipment for their IT operations. From smartphones and laptops to IoT-enabled devices, managing the ever-increasing number of interconnected devices is a huge challenge for IT teams. Coordinating, securing, and optimizing devices can be daunting and costly, especially with workers spread out across the globe.

Remote device management or MDM software provides a seamless solution. With intuitive capabilities, businesses can gain control over their devices regardless of their physical location, especially in industries where employees work remotely but handle sensitive corporate data, like the finance industry.

In this ultimate guide, we will explore the key aspects of Remote Device Management (RDM) in 2024, including its definition, key features, top platforms, and the benefits and challenges it brings to distributed teams.

IT Equipment Essential Templates

What is remote device management?

Remote device management refers to the ability to administrate and control devices from a centralized location. This means that you can remotely configure, monitor, and troubleshoot devices like smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops, and IoT devices without needing physical access to them. Let's look at the three main device types that businesses usually manage remotely:

remote device management platform

  1. Mobile devices

    Mobile devices include smartphones, tablets, and touchpads that can be used in check-in kiosks or point-of-sale systems. These devices often run on operating systems like iOS, Android, or Chrome OS. Effective remote device management involves using remote device management platforms to handle policy management, software updates, and device health monitoring.

  2. PCs/Laptops

    PCs and laptops are common in corporate environments and often require remote management. These devices typically run on Windows or MacOS. Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools are used to handle tasks such as software updates, security patches, and remote troubleshooting. By using RMM solutions, IT teams can manage a large number of devices from a centralized location, ensuring they remain secure and up-to-date.

  3. IoT Devices

    IoT (Internet of Things) devices are diverse and include items like security cameras, self-checkout kiosks, digital displays, and building access controls. These devices can run on different operating systems such as Windows, Linux, or Android. Remote device management for IoT involves centralized monitoring, automated resolution steps, and performance analytics.

Why do organizations need remote device management solutions?

Organizations need remote device management solutions to ensure the efficient and secure management of their device fleet. As remote and hybrid working become more prevalent, effective RDM is essential for deploying multiple devices, controlling them remotely, troubleshooting problems, managing applications, restricting data access, and minimizing security risks.

Companies may use different device allocation models when equipping their remote employees. Here's why device management solutions are crucial for each model:

Device allocation models explained

mobile devices

1. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

In this model, employees use their personal devices for work purposes. While it offers flexibility and can increase employee satisfaction, it also poses significant security risks and challenges in managing multiple devices with different operating systems.

  • Management needs: Implementing mobile device management (MDM) software to control and secure data access, enforce policies, and manage applications on personal devices.

  • Advantages: Cost savings on hardware, increased flexibility for employees.

  • Challenges: Ensuring robust security measures, managing a diverse range of devices, and maintaining network security.

2. CYOD (Choose Your Own Device)

This model requires employees to choose from a selection of pre-approved devices provided by the organization. It offers a balance between employee choice and organizational control.

  • Management needs: MDM or RMM tools to manage the selected devices, ensuring they comply with security policies and are regularly updated.

  • Advantages: Enhanced security compared to BYOD, better control over device specifications and security protocols.

  • Challenges: Managing and supporting a variety of devices, ensuring consistent user experience across different device types.

3. COPE (Corporate-Owned, Personally Enabled)

In this case, the organization provides devices to employees that they can use for both work and personal purposes. This model offers the highest level of control and security.

  • Management needs: Comprehensive RDM solutions to handle device configuration, software updates, security protocols, and remote troubleshooting.

  • Advantages: Maximum control over devices, enhanced security, and easier compliance with corporate policies.

  • Challenges: Higher upfront costs for purchasing devices and managing personal use on company-owned devices.

Key features of remote device management

Most RDM solutions provide powerful features that allow users to control company-owned devices remotely. Here's a breakdown of the most common features:

Remote factory reset

This feature allows users to remotely wipe all data and settings from a device, restoring it to its factory default state. It is handy in case of stolen or lost devices to protect sensitive information from being leaked.

Remote access and control

RDM enables IT admins to access and control devices as if they were physically present, allowing them to provide remote support, troubleshoot issues, transfer files, configure settings, and perform necessary actions.

Alerts and monitoring usage

Remote device management tools help admins monitor device usage and performance, receive real-time alerts for any unusual activity, and prevent data breaches or system failures.

Manage device users and access permission

RDM enables users to manage user accounts, control access permissions, and apply security policies to ensure data integrity.

Push notifications 

IT teams can send notifications, messages, or updates to remote devices to keep users informed and up to date.

Lock down devices remotely 

This feature allows administrators to remotely lock down devices, so they can block unauthorized data access to specific applications or functionalities for security purposes.

Automatically update apps 

A remote device management console can automate the process of updating applications on remote devices, ensuring that machines have the latest software and security updates.

remote device management

Track remote devices 

IT admins can track the location of remote devices using built-in GPS or other location-based technologies, aiding in device recovery in case of theft.

Remote ring

This feature helps locate misplaced devices by causing them to emit loud rings or sounds, even if the device is in silent mode.

Data wiping

Managers and IT admins can remotely wipe all data from the device to prevent unauthorized access in case of lost or stolen equipment.

Schedule regular scans

RDM tools can be set up to automatically conduct regular security scans on distributed equipment, identifying and addressing potential vulnerabilities before they become larger issues.

Change the owner and device ownership

IT admins can transfer ownership of devices or change the assigned users as needed without having to go into an office.

Import contacts

MDM platforms often allow bulk importing of contacts onto remote devices, simplifying onboarding processes.

Remote content management

Managers can remotely manage and distribute content such as documents, images, and videos to specific devices or groups of devices.

Challenges and considerations for remote device management tools

As work becomes increasingly cloud-based, solutions need to be easy to use and install so teams can work effectively. Here are some of the challenges that IT admins can face when implementing RDM tools:

  1. Integration complexity: Integrating RDM solutions can be complex. Ensure compatibility with existing systems, like Windows, iOS, and Android devices. Evaluate integration needs to avoid disruptions.

  2. Security and privacy: High access levels raise security concerns. Choose RDM tools with robust security measures such as encryption and secure communication protocols. Verify vendor compliance with industry standards.

  3. Scalability: Ensure the RDM solution can scale with your organization’s growth, efficiently managing remote devices across various locations.

  4. User training: Comprehensive training for IT teams and end-users is essential. Select user-friendly RDM tools to facilitate adoption.

  5. Cost management: Consider total ownership costs, including licensing and maintenance, and balance them with long-term benefits like improved efficiency and reduced security risks.

  6. Customization and flexibility: Choose RDM tools with flexible configurations to meet your organization's unique needs and support various device management policies.

  7. Vendor support: Reliable support is crucial. Select a vendor with a strong track record and excellent customer service. Review testimonials to ensure reliability.

What to look for in a remote device management platform

Remote device management solutions simplify the process of managing numerous devices remotely. A good RDM platform allows quick and effective troubleshooting, device control, and security maintenance.

With RDM platforms, remote training, device setup, collaboration, and easy management can be achieved from a single platform. Most RDM solutions can work with Windows devices, iOS devices, and Android devices. Here are some examples of commonly used platforms and what they offer:

Microsoft Endpoint Manager

MIcrosoft Endpoint Manager Dashboard

Microsoft Endpoint Manager is a cloud-based solution that helps manage, deploy, and secure devices in the enterprise, including servers, PCs, and mobile devices. This solution also allows the IT department to create BYOD policies.

This remote device management platform includes several well-known Microsoft services that manage an organization's physical, virtual, and mobile devices. It has features such as:

  • Microsoft Intune for mobile device management
  • Configuration Manager for deploying applications and managing updates
  • Co-management for tying Intune and Configuration Manager together
  • Desktop Analytics for identifying issues
  • Windows Autopilot for automating device deployment
  • Azure Active Directory for storing device and user information
  • Endpoint Manager Admin Center for managing the various sub-components


JumpCloud Dashboard

JumpCloud is a zero-trust directory platform that enables IT teams to manage and connect their identities to various resources, regardless of the provider or location. It allows administrators to manage users and systems from a single location while providing secure access to resources with access controls and protocols. 

JumpCloud offers the following identity management features:

  • ID-Management Access Control
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Password Management
  • Account Provisioning and De-provisioning
  • ID Management Workflow Automation
  • ID Risk Management

Which type of remote device management tool is right for you?

When choosing an RDM solution, you need to consider support scope, device type, security, scalability, and cost. However, choosing the right remote device management tool depends on your company's needs and the types of devices you manage. These are the three main types of RDM software you can find:

  • Mobile Device Management (MDM): Ideal for mobile devices like iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. MDM offers policy management, software updates, and security enforcement. Popular tools include Hexnode and Esper.
  • Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM): It's similar to MDM, but focuses on Windows-PC devices. RMM handles software updates, security vulnerability monitoring, and equipment lifecycle management. Suitable for IT teams managing Windows devices and macOS. Popular tools include Kaseya and ConnectWise.
  • Remote Device Management (RDM) for IoT Devices: Needed for diverse IoT devices like security cameras and digital displays. These tools offer centralized monitoring and automated troubleshooting. Popular tools include SecuriThings and Soti.

device management solutions

How to implement remote device management

Once you've identified the type of RDM solution that best suits your organization's needs, consider the following aspects before final implementation:


Before implementing a remote device management solution, you first need to evaluate your current infrastructure and identify your organization's unique requirements and pain points. This includes assessing the types and quantity of devices used, operating systems, and configurations.

Collaboration with IT teams and end-users can provide valuable insights into challenges with the current approach. Additionally, it's important to assess current security protocols and identify potential vulnerabilities to improve network security.

Choose the right solution

When selecting a remote device management solution for your organization, consider features and functionality, security measures, user-friendly interface, vendor support, and reputation. 

Look for a solution that offers remote device monitoring, configuration management, and real-time troubleshooting, as well as robust encryption, multi-factor authentication, and granular access controls. 

Prioritize intuitive and user-friendly interfaces and partner with reputable vendors known for reliable support services and a track record in the industry.

Pilot test

Before rolling out your RDM solution, conduct a pilot test with a small subset of devices and users. Monitor the solution's performance and gather feedback from IT staff and end-users to identify any challenges or necessary adjustments.

Rollout and training 

Successful implementation of RDM requires comprehensive training sessions for IT teams and end-users. Collaborate with your provider to organize interactive training workshops, webinars, or user guides tailored to your organization's needs.

Overall, the easiest way to implement a remote IT asset management solution is by using a service like GroWrk that delivers all your equipment with remote device management software preinstalled.


Benefits of using remote device management software for distributed teams

remote management


This software provides a centralized solution for managing devices in a distributed team setup. This way, IT admins can remotely access and configure devices, troubleshoot real-time issues, and update software seamlessly. This eliminates the need for on-site visits and manual interventions, streamlines device management processes, and frees time for other strategic initiatives.

Enhanced productivity

It also enables distributed teams to work efficiently from anywhere at any time. It allows employees to use their preferred devices and operating systems while providing secure remote access to company resources. RDM allows prompt issue resolution, maximizing employee productivity and ensuring a conducive atmosphere for creativity, innovation, and timely project delivery.


RDM software helps maintain consistency in device configurations and security settings for successful organizations. It simplifies implementing standardized device profiles and configurations remotely, decreases security risks, and ensures that team members operate on a level playing field. This fosters a sense of unity within the organization and maintains data integrity.

Cost savings

RDM software offers significant cost savings for distributed teams by automating device management and troubleshooting. It also empowers organizations to make data-driven decisions, optimizing resource allocation and avoiding unnecessary expenditures on underutilized assets. Streamlined device management enhances the return on investment for IT infrastructure, boosting the overall profitability and competitiveness of the organization.


Remote device management makes a huge difference for distributed teams, allowing them to coordinate, secure, and optimize devices efficiently from a centralized platform, even when spread across multiple locations.

Remote management has become critical in managing the many devices needed for hybrid work models. It offers businesses an intuitive solution to improve security and productivity while guaranteeing they stay on track with changing business trends.

GroWrk can help your organization by providing IT asset management on a global scale. Whether you have team members with company-owned hardware in one or more countries, you can seamlessly manage them using our platform. Book a call today to get started.


1. What is remote access?

Remote access refers to the ability to connect and access a device from a distant location using a network or the internet. In many cases, it allows you to monitor a device's screen, allowing you to observe all activity.

It allows users or administrators to control and use the remote device as if physically in front of it. This feature is commonly used for technical support, troubleshooting, file sharing, and collaboration, especially in scenarios where the admin and the device are not in the same physical location.

2. What is remote control?

Remote control is the ability to completely control a device from a distance. This goes beyond just remote access, as it allows administrators to view the device's screen and manipulate it. With remote control, an authorized user can interact with a remote machine as if using it in person. This allows them to perform tasks, run applications, and troubleshoot problems from afar.

3. What is remote monitoring, and how is it different from remote control or access?

Remote monitoring involves observing and tracking devices' real-time status, performance, and activities. Unlike remote control or access, monitoring does not grant direct control over the remote device. Instead, it gives administrators insights into device health, resource usage, security events, and potential issues. Remotely monitoring a device is valuable for proactive maintenance, identifying anomalies, and ensuring optimal functioning.

4. Are remote access and control safe?

Remote access and control can be safe when implemented and used correctly with appropriate security measures. It is crucial to use secure communication protocols, robust authentication mechanisms, and access controls to prevent unauthorized data access. Keeping software and applications up-to-date with security patches is also essential to minimize vulnerabilities. Users should only grant this kind of access to trusted individuals or services and remain vigilant. Overall, remote device management will depend on the security measures of your solution.

5. How does remote device management Work?

Remote Device Management (RDM) typically follows an agent-based approach. Here's a quick description of the workflow:

a. Agent-based approach:

 Devices intended for remote management are equipped with an RDM agent. This agent is a communication interface between the device and the centralized management platform.

b. Communication protocols:

 The RDM agent communicates with the management platform using secure communication protocols over the Internet or a private network.

c. Authentication and authorization:

 To ensure security, users or administrators attempting to access remote devices must undergo authentication processes. Proper authorization levels are assigned to control the access level to the device.

d. Over-the-air deployment: 

RDM solutions can be deployed remotely "over the air" to devices without requiring physical access. This allows for quick and efficient management of devices spread across various locations.

6. What types of devices can be managed remotely?

Remote device management allows for the centralized control and administration of a wide range of devices, including computers, mobile devices, network devices, and IoT devices. Endpoints with networking ability, such as Android-based, iOS, Windows-based, and Linux-based devices, can be managed remotely.

7. How should I implement remote device management in my company?

To implement remote device management in your company, you must research and choose an appropriate MDM platform that aligns with your company's needs and supports the devices used by employees. Ensure the chosen platform provides robust security features to keep your company's information safe.

Consider enlisting a service like GroWrk that provides devices preinstalled with remote device management software, simplifying the deployment process.

8. How much does remote device management cost?

Remote device management typically costs $3 to $9 per device per month. Prices vary based on the number of devices, required features like remote access and monitoring, and the provider. Consider both setup fees and ongoing maintenance. Balancing these costs with the benefits of improved efficiency and security can justify the investment.

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