How to support a well-defined mobile device management platform

By: Carlos Demetrio


According to Global Workplace Analytics, half of U.S. employees work in companies that are compatible with at least partial telework. And since 2005, the number of employees who aren’t self-employed but work from home has increased by 103 percent. This is a huge shift to a digital space — and with all those workers relying on mobile devices to perform their day-to-day duties, mobile device management (MDM) has become essential.

In an enterprise environment where devices aren’t properly managed, the IT staff becomes swamped by new issues, and employees aren’t be as productive as they could be. To allow mobile work while addressing security and infrastructure concerns, your company needs an MDM solution and a well-defined platform to support it.

Not every mobile device is safe for corporate use

Rooted, jailbroken or obsolete devices present big threats to IT environments, because they’re more prone to viruses and malware. Side-loaded apps are especially risky, as they can open the door to malicious software.

With MDM, you can easily create thresholds to allow or block these devices from connecting to your corporate network. For example, users can only sync their business apps through encrypted connections, and rooted devices will only be able to access guest wireless.

Not every mobile feature and app should be used in a work environment

Some companies have sensitive areas, such as manufacturing plants or research areas where photography isn’t allowed. But every mobile phone has a digital camera. How can only the camera feature be disabled while inside those areas? Well, some MDM solutions make it possible for you to restrict access to certain device features.

Even if your company is providing mobile devices to its workforce, there are many reasons some apps should not be used. They may be unsecured, consume too many resources or simply be distracting. Why not create a blacklist to prevent those apps from being installed on corporate-owned devices? This is also possible with MDM.

In other scenarios, the IT staff can completely replace the existing app store on a device with a custom app corporate store that only contains approved business applications.

Business content shouldn’t be accessible without proper security

Your employees need to be able to remotely access resources inside the corporate network. However, making each legacy system accessible externally can be a daunting task to IT staff. MDM solutions with integrated secure browsers and virtual private network (VPN) modules will allow your mobile workers seamless access to the data they need through secure connections.

Then, corporate data will be stored on a device in an encrypted repository inaccessible by third-party apps. You can even prevent data from a corporate app from copying into a public app.

In case of an employee dismissal, IT staff can remotely remove the business container from a private device. This means all the corporate apps, configurations and data can be removed without touching any personal data.

Lost or stolen devices shouldn’t provide access to corporate data

Mobile devices are frequently misplaced. Often, you can find your device inside your own house, but sometimes, it’s lost at the airport, a restaurant or another public space. With an MDM solution, it’s very simple to help users find their devices by themselves. They can even receive a map showing exactly where the phone is. If the device is lost or stolen irretrievably, the user or IT support can remotely block and wipe sensitive data from the device.

These are the four most common challenges that arise when mobile devices start to infiltrate the workplace. If you’re already facing those challenges or want to stay ahead of them, plan and implement an MDM strategy as soon as possible. It may take some effort at the beginning, but it will surely pay off. Your employees — and especially your IT staff — will be more satisfied and more productive.

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About The Author

Carlos Demetrio

Certified Technical Solution Architect, IBM

Carlos Demetrio is a technical solution architect with IBM Brazil specializing in IT outsourcing of end user support, enterprise mobility and endpoint management. In this role, he helps global clients address business challenges with technology. Prior to designing IBM Workplace Support Services solutions, he spend more than 10 years delivering these services to various IBM... Read more