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How to Approach Mobile Device Management

Many modern businesses are implementing some form of mobility strategy – whether it is made up of corporate-owned, personal or preapproved mobile devices – to increase capability and improve productivity. However, if these devices are not managed, more capability can lead to more confusion.

Mobile device management systems help businesses employing mobile and handheld technologies answer burning questions: which devices and platforms should we support? How will our resources be secured on the devices? How will we regulate employee use and access?

Implementing any form of mobile solutions requires businesses to establish a long-term plan to manage and maintain the devices. Without a structured, well-thought out plan, businesses can become more susceptible to liability. Consider the following factors when putting together a mobile device plan:

Platform selection: What devices will you allow on your network?

First consider the operating system or platform and vendor, model or version for mobile devices. For example, do the devices you’re considering run on Apple iOS, Google Android, Blackberry OS or Microsoft Windows?

To choose the best one for your business needs, consider their capabilities – such as encryption and remote access. The capabilities you require will depend on you business needs, or what you plan to do with the devices and what features are needed to accommodate.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, what models and versions will you support? Establish a baseline for the ones you will accept for business use. Keep in mind that the more devices you allow your employees to use, the thinner your management plan will be spread – so try to enforce some level of standardization.

Setup: What corporate resources will employees need access to? How much IT involvement will you need?

Once chosen, what will need to be done to each device? At a minimum, they will need to be registered and added to your directory. After that, certain apps and programs may need to be installed, and access may need to be controlled depending on role. Some devices will offer native management options, while others require a visit to the app store or a web portal for downloads or installs.

Another thing to consider is that you may need to override defaults on your mobile devices. This could involve passwords or registry keys.

Data security: How will information be accessed?

Consider how information will be stored on your devices and how your employees will access it. Depending on the sensitivity of your information and the technology available, the answer could be to store information directly on the device or to access it remotely. Be sure to research any compliance requirements or mandates that govern your industry – they could have an effect on the level of security your management plan must include.

Risk protection and crisis management: How will you protect both employee and customer information? How will you wipe corporate information in the event of loss, theft or crisis?

If your mobile devices will have sensitive employee or customer information on them, they could pose a risk to your business if they are not secured properly. Consider who will be able to access what. A role-based access allowance system comes in handy when businesses prefer their more tenured employees to handle sensitive information, or prefer technical employees to facilitate back-end IT needs.

When securing your devices and protecting them from potential attacks, it is best to take as many measures as possible. To protect information, a combination of encryption and virtualization (a.k.a. remote desktop access services) must be considered so that sensitive information is not stored in vulnerable spaces.

For example, make sure that your devices are not connected to the same network as your appliances – recent research has shown that hackers can gain access to corporate data through appliances like vending machines and air conditioners.

Need help establishing a mobile device management plan? Contact a consultant at Lowry Solutions to learn more.

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