This article was originally published on Technology.Info.
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Having made the decision to embrace mobile technology within your organisation it is important to understand some of the key challenges with which you are faced.
1. Application licensing and distribution.
2. Network access and security.
3. What happens when we die.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programmes have been around for some time now. These came about, not by design, but out of necessity. Throughout entire organisations; from shop floor to boardroom, not forgetting customers and clients, individuals sought opportunities to import the experience of mobility that they were enjoying in their non-work life into the workplace.
Apps that were so useful at home, on both smartphones and tablets, had clear uses at the office. But more than this, the experience that was granted in using this new technology only added to the frustration in the work place when being asked to use older technology, less intuitive user interfaces, poor user experience design and even manual and paper based systems.
Sensitive data transfer
Consequently users found a way. In order to transfer files to a users mobile device potentially commercially sensitive and even confidential company data was simply emailed to personal accounts or added to personal cloud storage services, such as dropbox or google drive.
Once on the users device documents can be worked on, viewed, and lost anywhere. Unauthorised third party software can be used to work on and share or store this valuable information. The door is wide open to abuse or, more likely, carelessness.
Trusted with network access
One way around the problem of covertly moving data around is to simply allow users devices onto the network. But this too has consequences.
- The extra strain on infrastructure as the number of connected devices per user on your network jumps from one to maybe two, three or four.
- Remote network access now really is remote. Not only can a users now access your network from their laptop in their home office but it now really is convenient for them to connect to the office while they are on a train or waiting at the bus stop. While this *may* increase productivity the opportunity for security issues is greatly increased.
- Unauthorised software now has easy access to your whole network. With millions of apps available to each user how do you protect your infrastructure from potential harm?
So how do you take charge of this situation? Enter the MDM.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) environments are widely seen as the solution to this problem. MDM software secures, manages and monitors mobile devices enrolled in the programme. These devices can be different models, running different operating systems, from different providers and include smartphones, tablets and any other future connected device.
MDM functionality typically includes over-the-air distribution of applications, data and configuration settings for all types of mobile devices, enforcing security profiles as well as a secure content delivery system.
They can also provide tracking of both the apps that are in use and the amount of bandwidth they are consuming as well as the physical location of the device being used.
This all means that walls can effectively be placed around your enterprise network and your data. Mobile devices are only granted access on your terms. Your network and your data can only be accessed by approved apps; even limited to approved locations using geofencing techniques if you so desire. Critically you stay in control.
What happens when you die?
MDM’s provide remote locking and deleting of data and devices. This means that when an employee leaves the company they cannot take your data with them. When a member of your board mislays their iPad in the back of a cab you can lock the device until it is returned or simply set it back to the factory settings with the touch of a button.
It’s important to remember that implementing a successful BYOD programme and using an MDM is as much about balance as it is about control. Members of your organisation want to use their mobile devices, in part, because of the freedom they offer in allowing them to work the way that they want to work. There is benefit in allowing them to bland their personal lives with their work lives. If you get this balance wrong then not only is the benefit lost but you will build resentment and, potentially, be in a worse position then when you started on this journey of mobility.