The recent launch of BlackBerry 10 has brought to light the growing need for companies to manage corporate and employee-owned mobile devices, protect corporate data, reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), and secure mobile access to corporate documents. Companies making the move to mobility today will require a 360-degree view of all the considerations for, and areas affected by, mobility. (See: BlackBerry 10 Faces Enterprise, BYOD Hurdles.)
Until today, security has remained one of the most critical considerations when transitioning to corporate mobility programs, and, if not effectively managed, it creates the biggest area of corporate risk. In fact, for some companies, security is one of the primary barriers to broad mobile deployments within the enterprise.
More BYOD Options
With the unveiling of new BlackBerry devices, such as this Q10, employees have even more alternatives from which to choose for their home and business smartphone use.
Previously, organizations could manage mobility risks by providing employees with a single supported and secured device that could access the company’s information assets. Now, most workers demand to carry a smartphone and/or tablet for both personal and business use, and they’re not willing to compromise. This proliferation of wireless devices extends the reach of the company’s wired information infrastructure and, by doing so, leaves information vulnerable to breaches and other risks, including the possibility of lost or stolen devices with sensitive corporate data stored on them.
In addition to security concerns, companies deploying mobility programs have to consider the high costs associated with large amounts of data, voice, or text messages being sent unmonitored through employee-owned mobile devices, as well as varying costs of different carrier plans, international roaming costs, etc. Controlling these costs is crucial to ensuring companies and employees gain more value out of mobility programs than simply a larger monthly bill.
In order to ensure that businesses take into account all these issues and more, enterprises are increasingly turning to mobile device management (MDM) services that can help them manage the transition to more complex, user-centric mobile computing.
With the help of MDM services, enterprises can agilely manage the influx of smartphones and tablets, and the implications that come with a mix of corporate-liable and individual-liable devices. Additionally, with the numerous mobile platforms available in the market, enterprises need to have increased functionality and quality of service across all platforms regardless of the different strengths and limitations of each.
Finally, MDM provides enterprises with security in an environment where employees have access to corporate networks on any device from anywhere and any network, at times that suit them.
There are many more advantages to MDM services, including the ability to gain control of mobile inventory with the ability to provision and track devices; enforce governance and compliance to protect the organization from corporate data loss; improve efficiency; and reduce the cost of support for mobile users.
However, while MDM services can facilitate the remote management and security of mobile devices, it’s important to note that policy enforcement via an MDM tool without the development of a properly defined IT and security policy is inadequate. In many cases, a business’s first steps should be to adjust and reconfigure its policies to accommodate enterprise mobility.
Working with a solutions and services provider that has a structured approach to enterprise mobility is key. Usually a provider that has the expertise and experience in enterprise security will be in a position to provide businesses with an end-to-end approach to all their MDM needs and help them understand the considerations and interdependencies involved with mobility networks. Businesses need to first understand where they are, what their true need is, and how to get there (as far as mobility network infrastructure is concerned). Once they understand their current maturity level, they can draft a roadmap and begin the journey to increased “mobility maturity” and support for their employee-base.
— Mark Slaga is chief operating officer for Dimension Data Americas, a multibillion-dollar, international solution provider and integrator.