How to build affordable and robust frameworks to effectively manage the shift to mobile working.

IT professionals could be forgiven for feeling fatigued with the endless talk about mobility and communication in the workplace.

Yes, you’re perfectly aware staff want to bring their own devices to work. You’ve seen all of them. First hand.

And yes, you know that allowing them inside the company presents big challenges, not the least of which being security.

We all get it.

What we all need to be talking about now is how to create simple, effective and affordable frameworks from which to manage this exodus to mobile working.

Initially developed out of pure necessity, Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems were first designed to help IT managers ‘herd cats’ as the pandemonium brought by personal iPhones and Android devices spread like wild-fire in the corporate world.

But in the 10 years since the first iPhone was sold in Australia, MDM has become synonymous with sophisticated technical solutions that prioritise mobility as a key enabler of creativity, productivity and growth within the enterprise, while preserving their core function of mobile management.

What are the key features of an effective MDM platform?

An effective MDM platform needs to strike the right balance between freedom and control.

An often-cited study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in 2016, found 60 percent of employees felt being more mobile at work boosted their productivity, with 45 percent reporting mobile technologies enhanced their creativity.

It’s incumbent on IT managers therefore to ensure all mobile devices in the workforce are properly configured with the necessary policies and certificates that allow users to quickly access email, Wi-Fi, apps, and other corporate resources, with minimal set-up .

And, of course they must be secured.

Peace of mind on the go

It was always accepted that the flood of mobile devices into the workforce would present unique IT challenges, not the least of which being security. It’s even spawned an entirely new class of cyber security products and solutions: ‘endpoint security’.

But the degree to which mobile devices have increased companies’ exposure to cyber risks is alarming.

It’s now estimated 41 percent of all data breaches in the business world are the result of the loss or theft of a mobile device, compared with 25 percent of breaches stemming from hacking and malware. Such a statistic was unimaginable even five years ago.
With Australians among the most ‘mobile’ oriented people in the world, this should deliver a serious wake-up call to the organisations that employ them.

Meanwhile, the reach of mobile networks and power of mobile devices means it’s especially important the flow of information and data is closely controlled and tracked to understand what happens – for instance after a file is opened. Who was it shared with? Was it printed?

A proper MDM solution should also safeguard apps and data both before and after access, for example restricting the ability to copy/paste and ‘save-as’.

In addition, devices need to be configured so they can be immediately disabled and / or wiped of all corporate data should they be lost or stolen. It’s also possible to extend the reach of your data security by protecting corporate data even on unmanaged devices.

As an IT manager grappling with a complex mobile environment, you need a MDM solution that is flexible too, allowing you to manage device functions and security at the user, device, app, and file levels. And you want the benefits of managing it all via the one central console, or ‘single pane of glass’.

Naturally, having the most up-to-date devices and systems in place usually translates into accessing the best security protections too, not to mention delivering more power and functionality.

Managing anything properly requires structure of some sort. But in the case of mobile technology, the pace of innovation and disruption is so fast and the impacts so unpredictable any piecemeal approach is doomed to fail. Major disruption and change can be just one product announcement away.

Today’s highly mobile and digitised corporate environment has afforded huge improvements in accessibility and efficiency, helping to drive better collaboration, innovation and productivity.

But with this newfound freedom and power comes great responsibility. Cyber-criminals are as prolific and cunning as ever, increasing the risks of disruption, even full-blown sabotage, for those companies unprepared.

Talk to Brennan IT today to start building a mobile device management strategy that ensures your organisation always stays on the front foot.