When new smartphones and tablets hit the market, we are curious to learn what new features they bring to the table. In general, what makes an iPhone different from an Android phone or tablet is what makes each great in its own way. Adjustments to size, speed, and user interface can work in different users' favor depending on their lifestyle habits or more recently, their profession.
So where does device diversity factor in to mobile device management (MDM)?
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs have given employees a new voice, and a choice for which smartphones and tablets they will bring to work. IT needs to be ready for what's next. Gartner recently labeled mobile device management as a "crucial discipline for IT departments." During implementation, the research and consulting firm recommends forward-thinking departments embrace a "managed diversity" approach.
The Origins of Managed DiversityManaged diversity has been spurred by the consumerization trend in the mobile device realm. Nowadays, it is a common practice for workers to bring their own personal smartphones and tablets into the office, or to use them to work remotely. Managed diversity is a MDM approach that enables IT to secure and optimize a wide range of consumer devices beyond just Apple iOS devices (the iPhone and iPad). This includes, but is not limited to Android phones and tablets, Windows Phones, and BlackBerries. In turn, these devices are securely enabled for practical business use, whether through email, applications, or the exchange of documents.
A Stepping Stone for Mobile Device SecurityWithout managed diversity, IT departments are forced to limit end-users to a small selection of mobile devices. According to Gartner this reduces productivity, as some employees are forced to settle for sub-optimal devices. Worse, devices they are not accustomed to using.
Another consideration: the absence of managed diversity erodes the authority of the Information Technology department. If workers are under the wrong impression—that IT cannot offer them ideal solutions—they will be more apt to take device management into their own hands. This can lead to a reduction in efficiency and greater costs. Worse, refusal to comply with corporate policy, a red flag when attempting to maximize mobile device security.
Integrating With Mobile Device Management StrategyOver time, managed diversity is likely to become a standard MDM practice. Companies today are already finding vendors who's solutions enable this type of process, according to Gartner. However, even when using a top-notch MDM solution, the need for assigned oversight of enterprise devices cannot be overlooked. Ken Hess made this assertion in a recent ZDNet blog, where he claimed MDM is an issue not for system administrator groups, but rather end-user support groups. So, step one, identify an individual or team at your organization who will take charge of MDM. Then, let the different device types roll in.
Read our complementary White Paper, The Ten Commandments of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and learn the major the tenets of implementing an effective BYOD program in your organization.