Making Sense of Mobile Life Cycle Management

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Mobile Device Management (MDM). Mobile device management (MDM) is not a new concept in the enterprise. Since the BlackBerry first appeared in the enterprise, the BlackBerry Exchange Server has represented the gold standard for managing mobile devices, including remote wipe and lock capabilities and visibility to activity on the device. However, with the ascendance of iOS and Android as well as the potential for Windows Phone 8 to gain market share, companies focused on hardware security must consider a multiplatform solution both to support current mobility deployments and to future-proof their own mobility efforts as new platforms inevitably arise. MDM automation can reduce the support labor associated with devices by more than 75 percent. However, MDM can be complicated by BYOD when there are questions regarding the business’s right to track personal property.

However, there are additional benefits to MDM. As companies track and monitor device activity, they also can see whether end users are using international roaming and source their data and voice plans accordingly, or support Wi-Fi-based usage more easily. By tracking usage and signal strength, companies can better understand whether carriers are able to support service level agreements around signal quality and uptime. This visibility can provide end users with greater negotiation power during the next contract. However, it is important to understand that MDM is not the be-all and end-all of mobile management.

Mobile Application Management (MAM). Enterprise mobility extends beyond the device. In today’s app-centric world, companies must also track application usage. This includes the blacklisting of applications, blacklisting of functionalities that the application may seek to use, antivirus protection associated with applications and identity management to ensure that the correct person is using the application in question. Companies that fail to adequately protect all of these aspects of mobile applications risk noncompliance for governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) measures, which can lead to heavy fines.  Highly regulated industries must be sure that application management is a core mobility management capability for any user that is accessing corporate data, regardless of whether the device is corporate-owned or BYOD.  Most current MDM vendors also handle MAM, including SAP Sybase, AirWatch, MobileIron, Boxtone and Zenprise (which Citrix intends to acquire).

Document & Information Management. Companies must also consider how documents and other information are being managed in a mobile environment. Although consumer-grade technologies such as Dropbox have been adopted by a large percentage of mobile users, these consumer technologies lack the application APIs, security and compliance associated with enterprise needs. Solutions in this space range from mobile solutions for traditional content management solutions, such as Documentum and SharePoint, to standalone cloud-based content management solutions, such as Box, Huddle and Syncplicity, to content management solutions provided by mobile management providers such as Airwatch and SOTI. Because BYOD deployments include all of the consumer-grade applications that employees use on their personal devices, companies must provide a clear path for document management on their mobile devices.

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