Mobile Device Management
People are constantly on the go – and their information is moving with them. There is a high likelihood that right now you are viewing this email on your smart phone or tablet. Approximately 20% of Americans now own tablets and 55% of business owners expect to use a “tablet or other device” in the future, according to CIO.com and marketingland.com.
Some organizations embrace this future while others drag their feet to jump on board. Does your company allow connection of your tablet to the corporate network? Is your company providing iPads to employees?
Mobility is one of the most talked about terms among IT professionals today. “Anytime, anywhere, any device” is something many IT organizations have been discussing and implementing for years. The reality has surpassed the dream. On-call doctors are using iPads and tablets to read non-diagnostic images before or during calls with patients. Executives are using Android phones to get real-time dashboards on company performance, regardless of whether they are in or out of the office.
IT professionals are experts in automation and convenience. I cannot contain my excitement around seeing the physical limits of my trade being removed. With 4G network connectivity, a computer in my pocket will be just as connected as my desktop was 5 years ago and my laptop was 2 years ago. As smartphones and tablets permeate business use cases within every sector, the problems which have always plagued IT organizations with laptops have been amplified with smaller, lighter and more convenient devices. Let’s identify some of the challenges:
- Operating system
- Networking setup
- Wireless keys
- VPN access
A full chapter could be written on each of these topics, and that may just occur over the next few months, we’ll be addressing some of these items, but the key point is that many of these challenges are being overcome by Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors.
Company App Stores
Every company I’ve spoken to this year wants to publish company specific applications on their executives’ iPads without having to publish it in the Apple App Store. MDM software enables IT organizations to manage this limitation as well as control the removal of those applications in the event the employee leaves the company. Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) enables bulk purchases, however there are no discounts or a way to recover a license once it’s been assigned. With an Apple ID, the individual is the owner of the license, not the corporation. This screams Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as a better solution since Apple’s current solution leaves the license in the hands of the employee.
Specifically the VPP FAQ states:
My business made a volume app purchase on behalf of our employees, who then redeemed the codes and downloaded the app to their personally-owned devices. Who owns the licenses to the app?
In this case, the employee owns the license. When a code is redeemed, ownership is transferred to whichever Apple ID was used to initiate the download.
This is by far the most common mobile support call we see at EI, behind password resets which are not new and not necessarily mobile specific. The request is usually to setup either wireless access or VPN access for our client’s new mobile toy, often followed by a call to get mobile e-mail access. MDM solutions can make device configuration a self-service event or if the employee has trouble setting it up via the automated web provisioning portal, the IT support person can remotely configure it for them.
We’re used to walking in and sitting down at a computer which is pre-configured and works with all our companies’ networks and applications. Why shouldn’t we be able to pull our mobile device out of its package and have it configured to work properly on all networks and with all the necessary applications? MDM is the answer and EI can assist you with its implementation.
Your employees, and frankly, your bottom line, will continue to become more and more reliant on mobile devices. What’s your strategy for staying one step ahead?