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A Smarter Approach to Mobile Device Management

Mobile device management has become even more important now that more people today use personal mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for business purposes. Such devices, coupled with greater Wi-Fi accessibility and cloud services, have empowered us with the ability to access data and do business from practically anywhere at anytime.

Needless to say, many small-to-medium sized business owners have embraced the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) revolution. The benefits are obvious; increased employee productivity, enhanced services to customers/clients, and better overall customer and employee satisfaction.

But what about the potential consequences associated with this mobility revolution? Are small business owners doing enough preemptive planning to address potential risks that could arise with the use of BYOD devices? Are they using mobile device management to help secure the devices and their IT infrastructure?

What is BYOD?

BYOD (bring your own device) in IT terms, refers to a policy that allows employees use personal devices to connect to companies network, access business applications, and company data. Personal devices may include smartphones, tablets, or personal computers.

An estimated 59% of businesses have a BYOD policy in place and this number is increasing every year.

What is Mobile Device Management?

Mobile device management refers to a solution or software that is used to provision mobile devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops with security policies, install and manage software, and other business processes. It can be used to monitor hardware, remotely wipe devices that have been lost, and ensuring security standards are met before allowing the device access to sensitive company data to name just a few uses.

Mobile Device Management – Questions Every SMB Should Ask

First, it is important that small business owners honestly assess whether their systems, networks, data, and overall infrastructure are ready for the use of an array of mobile devices.

Once it is firmly established that both internal IT and components in the cloud are prepared for BYOD, solutions should then be put into practice that are concurrent with terms of use policies or any guidelines pertaining to remote and/or telecommute workers or the sharing of sensitive data. The following questions should be answered.

  1. What particular devices or applications are permissible for work use? Assuming security requirements are in place, not every device or application will meet those.
  2. Will anyone in the company be tasked with the daily management of BYOB strategies? What should BYOD policies cover and what kind of management solutions will be needed? Would a mobile device management tool that collects device information, deploys and monitors usage, and offers insight into compliance be helpful?
  3. Which costs will be the responsibility of the employee? This pertains to any fees associated with usage – from network plans to the device itself to software, accessories, and maintenance costs.
  4. What data will be accessible? Will data encryption be necessary for certain information traveling through the personal devices of employees? Which employees will have read, write, update/delete privileges?
  5. What is the process when handling sensitive data stored on lost or stolen devices, or the personal devices of ex-employees? Does the company or organization have the right to wipe out the entire device or just corporate data and apps?

BYOD is here to stay as it affords smaller-sized companies the mobility of a corporate giant without a huge investment. But when it comes to ensuring that devices, applications, and networks are safe from the variety of threats linked to greater mobility, small business owners may find it necessary to enlist the help of a managed service provider to adequately take on and implement mobile device management for their networks and the challenges that arise with it.

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