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Managing the mobile enterprise

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Managing the mobile enterprise

BYOD has become the rule, rather than the exception. A recent MobileIron survey revealed that of the 3 000 respondents, a whopping 80% said they regularly use their personal devices – smartphones and tablets – for work purposes.


There can be no doubt that it is no longer a question of if enterprises will implement mobile device management (MDM) policies, but when. And further to this, once the devices are under MDM, businesses will need to address the information sprawl.

Jayson O’Reilly, director of sales and innovation at DRS, a reseller of MobileIron, says employees are not only using their personal devices for work, they want to access everything from email to app-based cloud services on their smartphones.


“Many employees are using their own tablets and smartphones as their primary devices for work, and expect full mobile collaboration capabilities. They want to be able to share email, and files – externally and internally, as well as make use of the enterprise’s resources and repositories from behind the firewall, on their devices.”


He says as access to business content, and control of a company’s information moves away from the IT department, to the employee, a series of challenges and opportunities present themselves.


“The major value that mobile devices bring is their portability, but we cannot overlook ease of use. Too much security or policy that would lock these devices down would destroy the user experience.  To balance this out, many organisations permit a combination of personal and business apps on mobile devices, and don’t impose too many restrictions, which can be risky.”


Moreover, O’Reilly says vast amounts of corporate data can be stored on mobile devices, greatly improving productivity, but also meaning that sensitive company data can be spread around a little too much.  “In addition, storage services such as Dropbox make moving data from the hardware to the cloud child’s play, which means that sensitive company information is easily shared with third parties and taken out of the organisation’s control.”


Mobile devices are also extremely connected, and constantly hook up to WiFi, in hotspots, at airports, in restaurants – regardless of whether the connection is a trusted one, he adds. “In addition, mobile devices also sync easily with one another, to facilitate the easy sharing and storing of personal information such as pictures and video, presenting additional challenges for the IT department. All these reasons and more, mean it is no longer good enough to merely secure the devices themselves, information sprawl must be addressed.  The first step should be extending the perimeter to corporate information on mobile devices, and adjusting your BYOD strategy and policy to address this.”


He says the MobileIron Advanced Mobile Management solution combines traditional mobile device management capabilities with comprehensive security and app capabilities. “The product allows IT to manage the lifecycle of the device and its apps, from registration to retirement, and quickly get mobile operations under control.”

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