Mobile OS Update Management

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Mobile OS update management is a capability available in most mobile device management (MDM) solutions that allows organizations to manage OS updates on mobile devices. MDM solutions regularly scan the devices to check for available mobile OS updates and based on the policies configured manage OS update. OS update management includes delaying, automating and scheduling the mobile OS update. This topic will cover the following information:

Why should organizations manage OS updates?

Managing mobile devices not just includes managing the app, content and users, it also includes managing the operating system (OS) that the device is running on. Many organizatons allow users to handle the mobile OS update on their respective devices, but this approach of allowing users to manage OS updates has many disadvantages. You can overcome these drawbacks by deploying a mobile device management solution that supports OS update management in your organization. OS update management has different requirements based on the type of mobile OS update that is released, the number of devices to be updated, the previous OS versions and a lot more. This topic will cover the following information:

Types of OS updates

A vendor releases a new mobile OS update for a variety of reasons. Some of the common reasons for releasing a mobile OS update are:

  • Security patches Every now and then a few vulnerabilities are detected in device OS. Vendors release a new mobile OS update to patch the detected vulnerability. These updates are critical for the devices and should be installed immediately upon release.
  • New feature releases Every platform, be it Android, iOS, Windows or Chrome OS, is working on delivering better user experience and device performance. To aid this, most vendors regularly release mobile OS updates to provide new features and device functionality.

Why is it necessary to perform mobile OS updates?

Be it a security patch or a new feature release, these OS updates must be installed on the devices. Here are some of the ways in which OS update management can benefit devices:

  • Security Fixes

    The major benefit of mobile devices in organizations, is the ease of corporate data access. But, it also increases the chances of data breaches. Attackers tend to rely on identified vulnerabilities to easily access corporate data from mobile devices. The longer the vulnerability stays unpatched, higher the chances of data breach in organization. New OS updates provide patches for these vulnerabilities and reduces the probability of cyberattacks in organizations.

  • Enhanced Performance

    Most of the feature updates released cater towards improving the performance of the devices and also adds features that help improve data security. Older OSs slow down over time thereby affecting user productivity as well.

  • Reduced support for older versions

    When a new mobile OS update is released, the vendors reduce support for the old versions. Even third-party apps stop providing features compatible with the older versions. This will cause issues in accessing corporate data from these apps and also the device running the older versions would not receive app updates leading to higher risk for data breaches.

  • Enterprise App support

    Many organizations also develop their apps in-house for different platforms like iOS, Android, Windows and Chrome OS. While developing these apps, they would also need to support the older OS versions to avoid app compatibility issues.

How can an MDM solution help in OS update management?

A mobile device management solution, like Mobile Device Manager Plus, provides organizations with OS update management capabilities to manage OS updates. Mobile Device Manager Plus supports OS update management for iOS, Android and Chrome devices. With Mobile Device Manager Plus, organizations can perform the following actions when a new mobile OS update is available on the devices:

  • Update immediately With Mobile Device Manager Plus, organizations can choose to deploy the OS update once the update is available on the devices. This is important when security updates are released.
  • Delay it for a specific duration It is always recommended to test any OS update released to ensure compatibility with the corporate and enterprise apps used in the organization. Mobile Device Manager Plus allows organizations to delay the update for a specific number of days after it's available on the device. The organization can also mandate the update once the testing is completed successfully or allow users to manually manage OS updates.
  • Schedule the update The major OS updates are generally data heavy and downloading these updates simultaneously on multiple devices can lead to bandwidth choking and also loss of productivity since all updates require a reboot. To prevent this, in case of Android OS updates and Chrome OS updates, organizations can specify the duration in which the OS update must be downloaded and installed on devices. In case of Chrome OS you can go one step ahead to manage OS updates by specifying the number of days over which the OS updates must be completed to equally distribute the bandwidth between multiple devices

In addition to the above mentioned capabilities to manage OS updates, Mobile Device Manager Plus provides other granular control over Chrome OS updates

  • Select between Stable, Developer or Beta channels to select the type of OS updates to be installed on devices.
  • Specify the OS version on which devices must run. This prevents the users from manually installing any OS versions release after the specified OS version
  • Auto reboot devices upon installing the OS update

Refer this document for the steps to configure OS update management policies for iOS, Android and Chrome OS devices.

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