Mobility, typically viewed as a consumer-driven trend, is a step forward for the enterprise for several reasons. It increases employee productivity, refines customer service and streamlines internal and external communication.
But even with its promised benefits, mobility solutions can be daunting to IT departments. New devices mean new security vulnerabilities, new protocols and new software.
These mobility concerns sprung from the widespread end-user movement, the “consumerisation of IT.” While enterprise IT managers once were concerned with high-level solutions to large-scale problems, some now worry that their day-to-day workloads will revolve around managing mobile devices and data vulnerability. But when these challenges are approached and dealt with appropriately, mobility solutions are powerful tools that can transform the workplace — and the IT department — for the better.
IT department challenge 1: Supporting Different Mobile Devices
Solution: Bring Your Own Device is less a buzzword than standard operating procedure these days. It has taken enterprises by storm, and it can be a headache to accommodate employees running multiple operating systems. The IT department should be sure to set guidelines for the types of devices it can support, whether or not it will provide one-on-one BYOD assistance and if employees will be charged for services.
If the IT department feels that BYOD supervision will detract significantly from the current workload, outsourced mobile device management may be an option to consider. Outsourcing a mobile device management platform leaves software security, application distribution and network monitoring to a third party, thus unloading a large burden off your IT department.
IT department challenge 2: Integrating Applications with Other Enterprise Systems
Solution: Whether employees are bringing their own devices or not, the IT department should clearly outline which apps will be permitted and which ones won’t. There are thousands available through various app stores, some more secure or more functional than others. The IT department should set criteria for green-lighting apps, narrowing the field to apps that include a data reporting or business intelligence function, centralised management and adaptability. Providing training to employees on how to use these applications correctly and being wary of any abnormal app activity will promote successful mobility solutions.
IT department challenge 3: Combating Security Issues
Solution: The overarching concern about mobility solutions permeating IT departments is the potential for data loss and security breaches. While these are legitimate issues, there are clear ways to manage down these risks. Before implementing a BYOD policy, consider conducting a corporate device audit. Gathering important information about each device being used on the corporate network — the operating systems and serial numbers, for example — will make it easier to develop a clear policy employees can follow.
Second, make sure your disaster recovery strategy is up-to-date and dovetails with the new BYOD plan. Once the plan is in effect, continue to promote mobile best practices for IT managers and all employees to follow, such as regular data backups, consistent software updates and processes for wiping former employees’ devices of sensitive business intelligence.
These IT department concerns over mobility solutions are valid, but they don’t need to shut the door on BYOD or other mobility projects. By first establishing some guidelines around what kind of devices you’ll manage, how to provision apps and security configurations, your IT department will rest easier.