Safeguard your BYOD environment with MDM software

One tool many companies are turning to keep BYOD devices secure is mobile device management (MDM) software. In this guest post, Hank Whitman offers some guidelines on choosing an MDM application. 

CRN reported on Forrester Research’s prediction that the MDM market will rise to be worth $6.6 billion by 2015. Explore this exciting new floating workplace possibility by consulting with your IT team to discuss possible issues and potential risks. Then look at the large variety of MDM solutions that are available to help your business make a smooth transition. Here’s what to address:

1. Security

Most companies and IT departments have security management for their company’s internal and customer files. Each employee’s device, when used for business purposes, then becomes a concern. Security management will oversee personal device security, including passwords, encryption and authentication when introducing the device to the company’s network. MDM additionally serves to protect your company’s confidential data in the event that one of your employees leaves the company or loses their device. Blackberry offers its Secure Workplace for Enterprise Service 10. It separates work and personal files on Android and iOS units as well as on Blackberry tablets and smartphones.

2. Policy

A company that welcomes a BYOD policy needs to devise strategies that make sure the business and employees protect the organization’s internal resources. Companies with lax BYOD policies are prone to liability issues. You’re essentially letting sensitive data and customer information outside of immediate control. TaylorWessing reports that many companies drag their heels when it comes to implementing a BYOD policy. Specialists at the international Data Protection and Information Law group recommends working with HR and IT departments to create a workable policy. Identify the types of personal data that employees should and should not store on their devices. Employees should understand the specific types of corporate files they can use, and when and how. Establish an Acceptable Use policy that each employee signs and submits to HR as a contract.

3. Device support

It’s generally too expensive, particularly for small businesses, to support every platform and operating system on the market with a BYOD program and MDM resources. In the beginning stages of a BYOD program, IT should assess the requirements and investigate your company’s cross-platform capabilities.

4. Access

Determine who has access to BYOD authorization. Do you want only project managers, section managers, sales persons and supervisors to have access? Would you like to give varying degrees of access to different management levels?

5. Financial management

NASCIO notes three possible ways to handle the financials of electronic device. The accounting option is when the company buys the device and pays for the data plan through direct billing. An alternative is that employees registers their personal device with the company and receive a stipend for their data plan. It’s attached to their paychecks so they can make payments on their own. The last option is that companies have each manager require expense reports. Managers accept or deny the charges through reviews.

About the author: Hank Whitman is a poet at heart and a business analyst during the day. He lives in sunny Arizona with his beautiful wife and newborn.

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