Tooling the Mobile Device Management Box
November 12, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
While we often bemoan the callbacks to yesteryear when employees had a desktop computer and a stationary phone, the capabilities afforded on both technology devices enabled the employee to focus on the task at hand. Now workers can take those same capabilities on-the-go, working from any place at any time, thanks to evolving technology.
Those same capabilities bring with them some extra headaches for employers who now need to implement mobile device management. Mobile employees need access to the network, applications and even the server. If a mobile device is compromised, so too could all information protected by the firewall.
Fortunately, there are tools available to minimize the problems that could be encountered with devices that are no longer tethered to a cubicle, according to this ZDNet article. The challenge is to first determine whether the company wants to purchase and support the mobile device or allow employees to bring their own.
In many cases, employees are now bringing their own mobile devices to work driving the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon. They want to be able to access data associated with their job as well as house pictures of their children and access personal e-mail all on the same mobile device. Some may view this as an opportunity to better balance personal life and work responsibilities, while others see it as a way to stay connected to the office at all times, for better or for worse.
It’s critical that employers educate employees on how their devices will be managed. Employees purchasing the latest smartphone technology to use for both personal and work activities may find their personal data completely gone if their device is compromised.
Mobile device management allows IT administrators to remotely clear information from a mobile device used on the network. And, if proprietary information is at risk of falling into the wrong hands, it won’t matter if the only video of Julie’s recital was on the compromised device.
While some solutions allow for a separation of personal and work data, it’s not the employer’s responsibility to protect personal data if a device is compromised. Employees may not readily understand that without clear policies in place that they read and sign. Such agreements ensure employees understand their responsibilities and protections – or lack thereof – when enjoying BYOD freedoms.
With technology now available to help with mobile device management, the importance of protecting the information accessed by mobile devices, the mobile device itself and all applications demand that companies keep their IT toolbox current. In doing so, employees have the flexibility they need in mobile solutions, while the enterprise or small business protects its interests.