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How companies can manage BYOD networks and resources
How companies can manage BYOD networks and resources
Mobile technology trends have not only revolutionized how we communicate personally but how we connect professionally. Since technological mobility has such profound effects on everyday life, it's not surprising that private mobile devices have naturally found a purposeful home in the workplace to add.
In 2011, 835 million users relied on smartphones globally, according to Business Insider on current mobile trends. Also, SnapHop.com gathered data from comScore 2012 stating: "In the U.S. alone, there were more than 400 smartphone devices on the market at the end of 2011." Smartphones, however, only account for a small piece of the mobile trend pie. Smartphones, notebooks, tablets and applications all support mobile device-centric lifestyles, from home and personal needs to the office and professional demands. Because of the digital evolution, mobile devices have infiltrated workplaces as essential tools for communication and completing tasks.
Utilizing personal mobile devices for work purposes is so widely accepted that "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) is a business policy that companies provide for employees. This new movement doesn't come without obstacles and challenges. From the insecurities of exposed confidential data to uncontrollable data leakage, extensive BYOD issues require attention. To start, companies embracing a post-PC and IT consumerization working landscape requires superior management tools and systems to control high risks that come with private mobile devices used for work purposes.
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Mobile device management is the process or system of tools that optimize and secure mobile communication. According to SearchMobileComputing.com, "applications, data and configuration settings" are distributed to mobile devices, including smartphones, notebook computers and tablets. If your company adopts an MDM plan, you're supporting and managing a network of mobile devices that are used to foster enhanced business productivity and task efficiency. Mobile resource management ensures that communication devices are secure, functional and compatible with a myriad of platforms, service providers and hardware.
NetworkWorld.com reports that according to analysts from technology research leader Gartner, "65 percent of corporations will adopt MDM to address security concerns from smartphones and tablets." Gartner anticipates that within the next five years, 90 percent of enterprises will have to support multiple mobile operating systems. To further emphasize the demand for MDM, more companies are moving toward using the Apple and Windows 8 platforms for business operations. Gartner adds that "in 2016, more than 1.6 billion smart devices will be purchased globally" and "40 percent of the workforce will be mobile." In response to the acceleration in mobile devices for all types of business operations, MDM solutions are paramount.
Mobile Technology & SMB Businesses
Small/medium sized businesses are starting to rely more on mobile technology as solutions for advancing products and services in the marketplace, increasing productivity and communicating with customers. Gaebler.com reports 94 percent of device users are more efficient in the workplace because of mobile technology. According to CDW's 2012 Small Business Report, business apps, for example, help increase productivity and keep businesses competitive in the marketplace. The CDW report also discusses how mobile technology improves the relationship between business and customers. Using mobile communication devices, companies are more available to customers and can access potential leads. Businesses can also maximize mobile campaigns and digital marketing strategies with a focus on mobile technologies.
Companies that introduce mobile communications into their business plan may experience the following improvements:
- Tasks are performed sufficiently
- Organizations stay competitive
- Communication, connection and data accessibility are enhanced
- Customer service is maximized
- Employees have flexibility
- Businesses can save on expenditures
- Work-related apps increase production
For example, applications for email, calendars, GPS and navigation, social media and file-storage are widely used features that enhance business operations and efficiency, EWeek.com reports.
MDM Speculation & Challenges
Since BYOD is the latest small business trend for maximizing workplace productivity and operations, companies need to implement a premium mobile device management strategy that also effectively complements service providers. The caveat is that MDM solutions are still growing. At the forefront of MDM issues is the concern over privacy. Progressive MDM trends don't come without risks. MSPMentor.net explains how service providers are concerned over threats to security and employee privacy. Personal mobile devices used for work-related activities need to be secured to not only protect the employee's privacy but to shield business information, safeguard data movement and prevent leakages. Furthermore, using different mobile operating systems and platforms, such as different versions of Apple iOS and Android, create more issues with data confidentiality and recovery.
MDM Suite Options
As work and personal behaviors overlap through the use of mobile technologies, educating employees, clients and customers about a BYOD policy is the first step for creating awareness about privacy and security issues. Start by understanding the needs of your clients and the digital demands of your employees before you deploy a MDM platform.
ZDNet.com's Ken Hess for Consumerization: BYOD recommends ten MDM suite vendors that he's had first-hand experience with or extensively evaluated. Hess suggests that while you're looking for a superior MDM vendor, ensure it can support more than one platform, including the Apple iOS, Android and Windows.
Among Hess's top 10 choices, the following platforms are excellent recommendations:
- AirWatch: AirWatch provides extensive support for iOS and various devices. It specializes in mobile security, device, application, content and email management. It's an integrated platform that securely manages a network of mobile devices either on site or via the cloud.
- FancyFon: FancyFon provides state-of-the-art enterprise features and supports all mobile device types, including the Apple iOS 5.x. It serves as a comprehensive solution for multiple devices, platforms, services and applications.
- AmTel MDM: AmTel specializes in premier solutions for mobile insecurity, malicious apps, expensive roaming charges and other mobile communication complexities. A modular platform, AmTel offers secure and rapid deployment, management for security, content and BYOD, and mobile email gateway.
- Zenprise: Zenprise offers a wide range of features, including "business-ready" mobile apps, content security, superior user experiences and cutting-edge solutions for IT needs. Under this MDM leadership, you can expect dependable deployment, application control and mobile security intelligence.
Evaluate the needs of your clients and working demands of your employees as well as high-level MDM features to determine the best program for your company. Adopt the right MDM suite for your company to optimize your performance and keep it current as this radical trend continues to pervade the workforce.
Reports I have written:
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing
Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing
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