Did you know that according to Cisco, more than half a billion mobile devices and connections were added last year - and in the UK alone the average number of connected devices per person was estimated at 3.1? That’s a lot of mobile devices. And they’re making their way into your business, whether you like it or not.
Concepts like BYOD are nothing new, and most companies accept that their employees are going to require a certain amount of autonomy in selecting whether or not they use their personal devices in the workplace. And why not? After all, it boosts employee satisfaction and saves money.
But mobile device freedom within your business needs to be carefully monitored and managed, especially in light of the deluge of other devices now trying to connect to your network. They might be smartphones, tablets, laptops, phablets, fitbits, and smart watches. In fact, thanks to the burgeoning IoT trend, it might not be too long before even the refrigerator in your office kitchen is trying to connect.
The key here is to implement the right protocols to ensure your network is well-managed and secure when surrounded by a host of mobile devices.
8 Tips for Mobile Device Management in Your Enterprise
1. Put Your Business Requirements First
As convenient it may be for your employees to bring their own devices to work with them, the reality is that it’s not just their devices that’ll be active in your workplace. Contractor’s, office guests and consultants will be adding their devices to the mix as well. And at the end of the day, the guiding principle that should drive your MDM strategy is first and foremost your business’s requirements.
You’ll need to decide whether you want an MDM solution based on-premise or in the Cloud, the level of device control you require and the nature of the granular controls you want in place. You’ll also need to research the devices your employees are planning on using, as your strategy might vary depending on the nature of these devices.
2. Separate Personal and Corporate Data
Many users are loathe to allow access to their personal devices, which presents IT teams with a challenge regarding maintaining appropriate device and data management. It’s a good idea to consider solutions that bridge the gap and allow for the separation of personal and corporate data.
3. Prepare for Any Eventuality
Employees leave. Devices get stolen or hacked. Accidents happen. That said, your corporate data needs to be safeguarded as part of your MDM strategy, and your IT team needs the capabilities to either lock or wipe devices of corporate data, from calendars straight through to documents. It’s important that your information can be secured and access prohibited in the event of a crisis.
4. Define Password Strength Standards
We all know that one person whose password is “1234”, or their birthday. Normally it’s our grandparents. Or at least you’d hope that’s who it is, and not one of your team members who’s carrying around a whole lot of valuable corporate data on their laptop. Rather than take the risk, ensure you specify password criteria such as complexity and length. It’s also important to implement strict timeout and retry parameters.
5. Stipulate Platform Compliance Needs
If employees are going to be using their own devices in your company, make sure they’re using specific versions of platforms, anti-virus software and operating systems. If a device isn’t compliant and attempts to access your network, your MDM solution should be scanning the device and redirecting it to a splash page where the user in questions can access links to potentially update their devices.
It’s also a good place to list the terms and conditions of accessing your network for new users, to ensure they understand they’re liable for their activities on your network, and to safeguard your own liability if they commit criminal acts while on your network.
6. Say No to “Jailbroken” or “Rooted” Devices
This requires almost no further explanation - jailbroken devices are much more susceptible to cyberattacks, and should be prohibited in your workspace all together.
7. Keep an Eye on Usage
Sound mobile device management within a business isn’t all about security (although that’s a pretty big part of it). It’s also about managing network resources so that your bandwidth isn’t guzzled up by employee camping on YouTube or torrenting away merrily, especially since they’re using their personal devices, which adds to the allure of using company resources for a little personal gain. A good MDM solution allows you to see where your resources are being depleted, and ensures the problems are addressed promptly.
8. Put Real-Time Reporting in Place
Tying in with the previous point, it’s invaluable to have a MDM solution with a real-time dashboard that highlights the activities occurring across all the devices on your network, from corporate-owned to personal ones, allowing you the freedom to gain insight into nuances of device usage in your enterprise.
There's no way you can stop the deluge of devices headed your comapny's way - but why would you want to? They bring plenty of advantages, and provided you take care to manage them correctly, they can have a markedly positive effect on your business.