The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon — the practice of employees using their own devices for work tasks — has pros and cons. The beauty of BYOD is that organizations can empower hundreds or thousands of employees with the business advantages of mobility without investing huge amounts of money in corporate issued mobile hardware.
“But opening up your organization’s systems to a host of unmonitored mobile devices doesn’t come without risks,” says Stephan J. Cico, managing director of All Covered Pittsburgh. “Security breaches, data loss or corruption and non-compliance with industry regulations are just a few.”
Of course, businesses can provide company-owned mobile devices and prohibit the use of personal devices to access their systems. But even then, how can they enforce such a policy effectively?
“Managing the use of mobile devices in the workplace is one of the toughest IT challenges faced by employers today,” Cico says. “If your company isn’t yet leveraging the advantages of a mobility management solution, you might already be burdened by the security, authorization and compliance concerns that accompany the rapid growth of mobile business and commerce.”
Smart Business spoke with Cico about mastering the mobile workplace. (This is the first of a two-part series on mobility management. Next, Cico will discuss implementation.)
What exactly is mobility management?
Enterprise mobility management encompasses a strategy, platform and system of processes to integrate your enterprise technology with mobile devices, whether laptop computers, tablets or smartphones.
It doesn’t matter if the mobile devices are deployed by your company or are the personal property of employees. Mobility management connects them to your enterprise solutions in a controlled manner, protecting your company, its customers and your staff from security breaches.
Your authorized mobile users’ access is controlled, monitored, managed and secured, using encryption and identity certificates, as well as your own security, malware and antivirus protections. Security is provided at a level that will keep opportunist cyber-criminals at bay and seeking easier pickings elsewhere.
What features do the best mobility management platforms have?
The best platforms are available with multiple deployment options. This allows you to keep total control of your solutions in your own environment or enjoy low-cost implementation with a cloud-hosted service.
Of the two types of deployment model, cloud mobility management is the most straightforward when it comes to scalability, with no hardware capacity concerns. Cloud-based mobility management systems can be easily scaled up as your business grows, and better still, the hard work is taken care of by your service provider.
Mobility management also has the flexibility to let you control any type of device, regardless of operating system, brand or owner. That’s where your management strategy comes into play. Management of all the devices that connect to your network is arguably simpler if you only allow access by company-deployed equipment. With this strategy, you simply deny access to all but your own mobile devices.
If you still want to implement a BYOD policy, how can mobility management help?
BYOD may enhance the working experience of employees, allowing them to do their jobs without being confined to a traditional desktop computer, but it also leaves businesses susceptible to a host of security threats and other risks.
BYOD can expose your systems to malware, viruses and attacks by hackers, unless access is controlled and managed. Moreover, the risks aren’t limited to what might intentionally sneak into your network. In an uncontrolled BYOD environment, the risks of sensitive data being unintentionally leaked into the public domain are amplified.
Implementing a mobility management policy helps to reduce these risks by guiding your employees in their use of personal devices for performing their duties. By adding mobility management software to enforce procedures through automation, you can further protect your business data from compromise and reduce the labor involved in doing so.
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