Device Management in Enterprise Mobility Projects
Enterprise mobility presents a number of challenges to IT managers; new security concerns, deployment of a high number of applications, integration, and easy ways to monitor and manage all of the devices.
I met Phil Davis a few years ago when he just joined ClickSoftware. I was impressed by his knowledge and experience with large scale mobile deployments and device management tools.
Why Device Management?
Device management is a key component of any Enterprise Mobility project. In my experience projects without device management require at least 1 dedicated member of support staff for every 100 field users and many more than this in the early phases of deployment.
Increased device capabilities including improved connectivity speeds, computing power and screen resolution require increased responsibility to manage devices securely and effectively. However powerful devices become they shouldn’t be considered using the same policies and processes as desktops. Many organisations make the mistake of treating mobile users in the same way as desktop users, but in reality their occasionally connected and low bandwidth situation doesn’t tend to lend itself to complex security logons, application updates or even OS patches and updates.
The increase in popularity of shared ownership with personal devices storing corporate data is becoming an increasing challenge; this is being fuelled by the shift from Windows Mobile to iOS and Android for non-rugged Enterprise Mobility Projects.
There are a wide variety of both financial and softer benefits from implementing a device management solution; the key benefits are around support costs and control of the devices in the field but other softer benefits can be equally important:
- Decreased support load including simpler training requirements
- Less time out of the field for users as fewer returns to base for fix or application updates
- Increased control and visibility of what the devices are being used for and how they are being used, for example battery charging behaviour.
- Increased Security – consider the corporate value of information, what value does it have in a competitors hands or what would it do public confidence if personal information was lost. Many organisations consider the security of information as it is sent and received from the device ‘over the air’, but in practice the data is far more at risk from device loss or theft.
- Ability to support a mixed device estate with low overhead
- Cost Management – ability to manage to personal use of high cost services such as SMS, Roaming etc
Evaluating and Implementing Device Management Solutions
There are many options for implementing device management including both hosted or behind the firewall solutions. The key considerations when evaluating solutions are the breadth of device support and depth of functionality. A historic view of how quickly changes to the market have influenced a vendor’s device support is a valuable insight. Any solution need to consider the device management requirements from ‘cradle to grave’ and can encompass:
- OTA client deployment
- Application distribution and maintenance
- Policy and configuration management (including locking the device completely – kiosk mode)
- Application deployment
- Device inventory and Backup
- Remote Control
- Security (on-device data encryption, password management and recovery)
- Disabling lost and stolen devices (as well as tracking for recovery)
ClickSoftware tackles the Device Management challenge by building its mobility solution on technical infrastructure provided by Sybase, including the leading device management solution, Afaria.