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Businesses must rethink mobile strategies

Enterprise mobility is a complex issue due to the need for mobile business policies and for technology to manage the devices.

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Businesses must rethink mobile strategies

backup, cloud, mobile device management


The need for business policy and mobile device management (MDM) technology has made enterprise mobility a complex issue. Businesses hoping to respond to trends and leverage the potential of a mobile workforce may need to rethink their strategies with mobile devices in mind, and choose MDM solutions that can support the large range of devices expected to enter the enterprise environment.

Data protection and mobile device management

The traditional approach to data protection has consisted largely of data backups, according to an InformationWeek article. This strategy works well on PCs, but traditional backup solutions for mobile haven't performed as well, and can lead to a number of challenges in a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplace. For example, if businesses backup the whole device, who owns the personal data? Does backing it up give the business complete control? There are also privacy issues for employees concerned over who gets to see their personal devices.

InformationWeek proposes a "less is more" approach. Virtual private networks and cloud computing solutions mean businesses can allow employees to access essential data regardless of the device they're on, and individual device data doesn't need to be backed up because it's already stored elsewhere.

"This is easy for email and calendars, the two most commonly used enterprise apps on mobile devices, but in reality, it shouldn't be any harder for other application categories like business intelligence, CRM or collaboration, given that multitier software architectures already segregate access and display from application logic and data," the article states.

Although virtualization is an efficient solution, it presents several challenges that can be addressed by a comprehensive MDM solution.

The role of mobile device management in the cloud

Automated syncing and remote wiping are two major features the article identified as key to protecting data in workplaces that choose to virtualize assets. Syncing should be streamlined so the virtual data is quickly updated to reflect changes. Remote wiping is an essential feature because employees are likely to save working copies on their own devices. If a device is lost or stolen, businesses need the ability to erase sensitive corporate information.

Due to the number of platforms and different features available on mobile devices, traditional solutions may not be enough to manage a fully mobile workplace. In addition, these solutions may end up costing businesses much more money in the next couple years.

Survey: Majority of businesses plan to implement mobile device management

A recent survey conducted by Osterman Research and sponsored by collaboration software company Azaleos highlighted the importance of implementing MDM solutions. Many businesses are already implementing them, and the trend is likely to continue, with 32 percent of respondents planning to deploy MDM solutions in 2013 and 24 percent planning to deploy in 2014. Thirty-one percent expressed a preference for a cloud-based MDM solution.

Many businesses using traditional MDM solutions are expected to face rapidly increasing MDM costs due to the growing complexity and number of mobile platforms connecting to enterprise networks.

"The increasing complexity associated with mobile device management in the workplace is being driven in large part by the growing number of personally owned devices or BYOD that are being used by employees alongside company supplied devices," said Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research. "The survey showed the growing resource drain that mobile management is imposing on IT departments is driving many organizations to consider either a managed MDM service and/or cloud-based approach for their MDM solutions, or both."

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