Mobile device management (MDM) practices have gained a widespread following as more organizations around the world have embraced enterprise mobility. With the growing deployment of smartphones, tablets and mobile applications, it has become evident to many an IT executive that some process or program needs to be put into place to control and govern their use.
Through these practices, companies can ensure data security is upheld as a top priority, better govern a BYOD (bring your own device) policy and track all investments made for mobile technology. But such efforts are often easier said than done.
MDM needs often change with the company. Measures and practices that are effective for one firm may fall absolutely flat for another organization. It's up to the IT department and the business side to get together and hammer out a mobility strategy.
However, there are some similarities among all MDM programs, many of which were identified in comments made by industry experts to Computerworld at the recent CITE conference in San Francisco. Each expert described how his or her company has felt its way through MDM and mobile data security responsibilities.
"This is the comment I get all the time, 'I can go to Starbucks and just click one thing and I'm on the network. Why do I have to go through all this security to get onto our network? And, by the way, if you keep doing that, I'm not going to use your network," Tony Lalli, infrastructure architect for the Bank of New York Mellon, said, according to Computerworld. "That's the message I get from internal users."
It's these types of headaches that IT professionals and mobile end users alike will have to put up with if data protection is to be upheld and productivity is increased.
Hyatt Hotels CIO Dave Malcom said his company devised a five-page MDM policy stuffed with provisions when it launched its program. The security measures the company implemented included never allowing employees to store enterprise data on unencrypted devices, prohibiting the storage of payment card information on any device and prohibiting employees from conducting business through personal accounts on devices, among others.
In the fall, FierceMobileHealthcare released a list of its own suggestions for MDM. Despite the fact that the tips carried a healthcare slant, they can still be applied to numerous other industries.
For example, the report recommended that companies take compliance into account, similar to Hyatt's provision centered on payment card information. According to FierceMobileHealthcare, encryption and remote lock and wipe capabilities are essential if companies want to meet the requirements of legal and industry regulations.
Computerworld's report noted that other important considerations include deciding to block unauthorized access at either the device or user level, determining if multiple devices per user will be tracked and whether or not a cloud solution is best to protect mobile data.
But it's important to touch on the good aspects of mobility, as well, according to Computerworld.
"A use policy should not only be about what employees are prohibited from doing with mobile devices, but what they can do," the report stated.
According to a recent Forbes report, the deployment of MDM solutions and the practice of overseeing smartphones and tablets is becoming more common as the devices continue to penetrate the enterprise.
But hurdles continue to be presented in the forms of consumer-based devices, numerous platforms and different types of apps that employees are downloading to access the enterprise network and data. Only when these issues are addressed and dealt with will both MDM and mobility find success.
Consumerization News from Trend Micro