The poor IT department; it always seems that the needs of IT are the last consideration in the ultimate evolution of the company. The question of whether BYOD makes life better or just more stressful for employees is still up in the air, but few people would argue that the addition of mobile devices to a corporate network has been a huge headache for IT managers. Just on the heels of getting corporate networks and remote Wi-Fi connections streamlined, network supervisors have barely had time to breathe before facing a wave of mobile connection dilemmas. Now IT is starting to put its collective foot down, demanding software firms find a way to roll all corporate connections into one management tool.
Schools especially have been onboarding large numbers of devices as more districts adopt Chromebooks, laptops and iPads into their curriculum. That can mean thousands of devices that need to come online quickly and at the same time, and need to be tightly controlled. One Texas school district was halfway through distribution of 53,000 iPads and quickly realized their existing Web filtering software was not enough to restrict kids from social media applications. The Los Angeles Unified school district faced a similar problem when it discovered hundreds of kids had determined how to remove MDM software from their school issued iPads. The district restricted the devices from being removed from campus while they rerouted the devices through the enrollment process.
For corporations the difficulties are magnified by the variety of operating systems that employees want to use. The ability to control or communicate with a device is limited by the devices’ ability to receive and interpret push messages, as well as confirming that the message was received. Apple and Microsoft (News - Alert), more focused on business solutions, have been proactively working to make MDM safer and easier but IT teams have still had to troubleshoot a variety of OS’ and versions. While several MDM systems have developed good device-agnostic systems, only a few (including ClearPass and Airwatch) are partnered with legacy network management systems; these integrated solutions are becoming popular as they come to market.
So while phase 1 of BYOD has given companies and employees more of what they want, phase 2 looks to be the age of the IT pro. The result should be systems that are safer, more reliable and ultimately more functional across the entire company.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson