While the influx of innovative and highly-personalized mobile devices has been a win for consumers, the evolution of the market has caused many a headache for IT personnel who need to combat the security, cost and usability concerns that often occur when employees use their own gadgets for work purposes. Fortunately, mobile device management solutions have recently become available, enabling IT teams to eliminate the aforementioned concerns by moving smartphone data to the enterprise cloud.
Mobile device management was born from the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, where workers at nearly every level starting employing iPhones, iPads and Android (News - Alert) devices to access business-critical data. The BYOD trend provides many benefits – including increased productivity and happier employees – but it also is associated with many drawbacks, particularly for the ever-shrinking enterprise IT staff.
These concerns were discussed in detail in a recent Computer Technology Review article penned by Shahin Pirooz, CTO and CSO at cloud-based managed service provider CenterBeam.
As Pirooz notes, most personal devices were not designed for the enterprise, making it extremely difficult for IT personnel to manage devices with traditional tools. Couple this with the device lockout on many Apple (News - Alert) and Android products – which often disable companies from segmenting corporate data for encryption – and security can become a real concern.
In addition, workers utilize a near limitless number of mobile devices. Within a large enterprise, employees could own dozens of different devices that each receives operating system upgrades every few months. Needless to say, controlling such an environment can be quite a chore without a capable mobile device management solution in place.
Yet another concern is created when employees move on from the company, Pirooz adds. Enterprises can't simply wipe the device clean because it contains personal, non-business-related data. Somehow, organizations need to find a way to eliminate only corporate data while keeping personal information intact.
A capable, cloud-based mobile device management solution can provide answers to all of these concerns.
"No matter what device an employee is using, the IT staff should be able to see the security posture of a specific user, device or site – a task that cloud solutions can easily and cost-effectively support," Pirooz writes.
The holistic approach taken by cloud solution providers enables organizations to treat each device as a specific end point, giving IT personnel the ability to control and secure corporate data while allowing employees the freedom to choose their own device.
When selecting a mobile device management provider, enterprises need to consider a few important points, says Pirooz. Mobile device management solutions should provide:
- Support for a wide range of OS platforms
- Full wipe, denial of email access, remote lock, and user notification capabilities
- Application management support
- ·Policy and security management tools, including support for password policies, device encryption, jailbreak and root detection
Pirooz also stresses that enterprise should target mobile device management providers with a long history in market, an innovative and evolving platform, industry-leading customer support and the ability to integrate end-point management. Luckily, these are all things MobileIron can offer.
"By finding a cloud provider that offers these capabilities, that has the experience in end-point management and that can offer customer support in a rapidly changing technology environment, an IT staff can easily balance the challenges that BYOD introduces into the enterprise environment with the employees’ desire to use the mobile devices to which they have become accustomed," he concludes.
Edited by Jamie Epstein