By: Krish Kupathil
Over the past decade, the world has witnessed quantum leaps in the advances of workplace technology. Extending far beyond the ease and flexibility of the laptop or instant access to information provided by the Internet, devices like tablets and smartphones have become permanent fixtures in everyday life and vital tools for directing productivity and efficiency within the workplace. As a result, the lines drawn to distinguish between personal and business use of this rapidly evolving array of technologies have all but disappeared.
This consumerization of technology, coupled with the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon, is on an upward trajectory—driven primarily by the proliferation of smart devices and the increasing demand from employees to use their own devices to conduct business and access corporate networks. With no signs of slowing anytime soon, IT administrators and CIOs struggle to find solutions for managing the increasing number of both corporate- and personally-owned devices.
Security is Key
When it comes to choosing the appropriate tools for managing mobile devices, there’s no shortage of mobile device management (MDM) vendors offering to help businesses achieve their objectives of provisioning, registering, configuring, and inventorying mobile devices, as well as setting security policies for protecting sensitive data. Analysys Mason recently forecasted cloud-based mobile device management revenue worldwide to increase at a 27.3 percent compound annual growth rate, climbing from $574.8 million in 2013 to $1.5 billion in 2018.
At the core of this exploding MDM market is the issue of corporate security. IT administrators and CIOs, particularly within small- and medium-sized enterprises, face the daunting challenge of providing employees with freedom of choice in devices and network accessibility, while also guaranteeing compliance with an emphasis on corporate security policies. However, nothing is obvious or easy about meeting these challenges as every enterprise has its own set of goals, policies, and team needs to consider when choosing the appropriate tools.
Even the most basic MDM tools should add value to an enterprise rather than unnecessarily increase costs and burden employees with complex technology that requires intense training and a steep learning curve. After all, MDM tools are intended to give enterprises confidence when deploying mobile devices and provide a defined and securely monitored data protection policy that includes an understanding of which applications are used on particular devices. Following this process not only helps IT comprehend the MDM proposition but also gradually allows for adjustment to a third-party service provider as it enters the corporate mix.
Data Sovereign Solutions
As governments around the world have become increasingly alert to the importance of sovereign data hosted locally with servers inside their territory, adhering to the individual legal policies within each country is crucial in order to conduct business in these geographies. Advanced MDM solutions should be fluid enough to adhere to regional policies and have the capability to be hosted on private servers, as well as be multi-tenant and multi-hierarchical in order to implement specific geographical policies.
This level of customization is invaluable for government agencies and departments implementing solutions to manage both corporate- and employee-owned mobile devices, as some enterprise customers insist that their data stay in the region.
European companies in particular have been quite stringent about data sovereignty in the wake of recent privacy issues. Similarly, with an up-and-coming market for MDM technology, the new Indian government is showing early signs of strict data regulation and greater control of cloud data through stringent laws. Knowing these international security environments, all new MDM software should cater to these legal frameworks that differ for each geography.
Enterprise Mobility and IT Administrators
As the MDM market soars, IT administrators and CIOs must also consider which type of MDM tools will achieve the most for their enterprise. Whether employees travel the globe to satellite offices or come from various professional segments, retained primarily under contract, choosing the right MDM is critical to providing the enterprise with a competitive and collaborative edge.
A few essential tools every MDM solution should offer include several components including easy on boarding, remote device management, data security, a multi-platform Web console, location services, advanced security, and device provisioning.
Easy on boarding detects device operating systems and presents specific configuration packages to ease new users into the enterprise environment.
Remote device management enforces enterprise policies with the capability to remotely lock, wipe, or reset devices.
Data security protects sensitive corporate data as the enterprise becomes more mobile.
A multi-platform Web Console provides the ability to control and manage devices in administrator or user modes, apply or remove restrictions, and update security features.
Location services can be used as a safety net feature to control and locate devices.
Advanced security is used for simple security deployment in governmental and restricted environments.
Finally, device provisioning permits administrators to configure and provision devices to distribute applications, files, operating systems, upgrades, and settings for any enterprise device.
Extensible Devices for IoT
The enterprise IT teams of today are responsible for managing any mobile device or tablet within the corporate environment. As the Internet of Things catches up to enterprise, IT teams deploy special-purpose devices, like wearables, mobile point-of-sale, set-top boxes, and ruggedized devices specialized for industry use, in droves. To manage this new technology as it is introduced to the enterprise network, innovative MDM tools need to be extensible in order to manage them in a single-window environment.
Minimizing Risks and Maximizing Profits
Ensuring the security of sensitive company data, enforcing compliance with corporate mobile device management policies, and providing simple access to enterprise applications and services for employees allows enterprise users a comprehensive experience to execute any task. These benefits to productivity, security, and collaboration make it critical for any MDM solution to have adaption capabilities for the ever-changing needs of business customers.
When it comes to proactively adopting MDM solutions, industry studies show that innovative enterprises are ahead of the curve, while traditional organizations take a more reactive approach to supporting emerging mobile technologies with simple deployment. However, even in the most restricted environments, mobile devices and mobile employees are here to stay. Once viewed as a convenience, laptops, tablets, and smartphones are now invaluable and necessary tools for conducting business. While MDM is as much about corporate security as it is about employee satisfaction, it must accomplish the most crucial enterprise goal—to minimize risk and maximize profit. SW
Krish Kupathil is the CEO of Mobiliya, an AgreeYa Mobility company, which delivers leadership mobility solutions from the cloud to devices. Headquartered in Mountain View, CA, Mobiliya delivers targeted and differentiated smartphones and tablets, an enterprise-grade Android platform, flexible and customizable device management, an enterprise mobility platform, and a collaborative e-learning platform.