Five ways to create a robust mobile management strategy for the distributed enterprise

Mobile devices are ruling the world. Whether they are being used for consumer or business purposes, we will continue to reach new records over the coming years. According to June 2016 figures from IDC, global shipments are expected to reach 1.84 billion in 2020.

With the dependency and plethora of technology devices available, managing mobility across the enterprise is now critical. Employees are able to access company data wherever they are and while companies benefit from improved customer service delivery and business productivity, the rate of adoption leaves areas in the corporate estate vulnerable if not managed correctly.

Even with large organisations taking action to mitigate the risks associated with staff usage of smartphones or tablets, over half are not implementing any mobile device management. 

> See also: Why organisations need to define a 'mobile-first' strategy to make business sense out of IoT data

With such compelling evidence, implementing a robust mobile strategy across the distributed enterprise must be at the top of the technology agenda. Mobility policies in the workplace enable efficiency and agility gains, but in order for businesses to effectively manage devices across a distributed enterprise, they must consider some important areas from the outset.

Management responsibility

For nearly all organisations, using devices in the field is a fundamental part of business life. Whether the device is issued by the business or employees use their own, the organisation must be responsible for the company data held on the device.

However, this requires far more than just maintenance and monitoring. IT decision makers consider hacking, malware, and security among their top concerns.

Companies must be responsible for managing corporate-liable and BYOD policies; throughout the entire product or policy lifecycle, the management of the estate is vital.

Educating employees

The rise of serious risks such as mobile hacking, remote device hijacking/eavesdropping and evolving DDoS attacks not only increases the threats to individuals, but for the business, it can be disabling. Each employee must have a clear understanding of how to make the most of the mobile device and also how to avoid potential downfalls.

Users must also be given the confidence to initial trouble-shoot any issues, especially if an organisation’s IT department is off-site or outsourced. This not only empowers the user, but increases the efficiency of problem solving across the business. Additional information such as the importance of upgrading the device or an application can also be conveyed.

It is the business’ responsibility to educate and help their employees to understand having company data on their devices is a privilege. It therefore should be treated with caution and respect.

Supporting the hardware

The mobile enterprise doesn’t refer to just a smartphone; it can vary from tablets to laptops and will need to consider new developments such as wearables and IoT which will add complexity to future support.

Using many types of devices can increase employees’ productivity. However, the ability to support the hardware must also be considered. The IT team must be prepared to support multiple devices; deploying new operating systems and delivering essential device settings across smartphones, tablets, smart printers, barcode scanners, wearables and other endpoints.

Security in the mobile enterprise

Security continues to be the biggest barrier to managing mobility in the enterprise; SOTI’s recent research found that 60 per cent of enterprises have actively prevented a data breach, but less than 50% have a mobility strategy.

Businesses must ensure they continuously maintain regulatory compliance with regards to data access and protection. They should have the ability to control which applications can be installed and used in specific locations.

Businesses implementing mobility in the workplace are also under threat from physical device theft or loss. This could not only result in corporate and customer data being stolen, but also the loss of productivity if data isn’t backed up.

> See also: How to build a unified mobile strategy for the wearable age

Businesses with the ability to remotely lock down a stolen or missing device are advantageous in this scenario. Enforcing password policies, maintaining a walled garden of business apps or encrypting corporate data on these devices, can also protect a business against the harmful repercussions of theft, loss and cyber attackers.

Embracing business mobile

While the majority of organisations are already mobile-enabled, they must be cautious of the risks mobility can bring to the workplace. Implementing a strategic approach in the mobile enterprise simplifies and secures the management of each device; not just for today’s environment but future mobile workers, with more makes and models of device, more capable devices, and lots of mobile applications.

Sourced from Nassar Hussain, Managing Director for Europe and Africa, SOTI

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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